Love, Death, and the Sub-Creative Imagination in J.R.R. Tolkien (revised)

Love, Death, and the Sub-Creative Imagination in J. R. R. Tolkien Written March 3, 2013, Revised September 20, 2014 by Matthew David Segall In the year 1951, as recorded by the calendar of our world, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote to a potential publisher of his Lord of the Rings trilogy to describe the origin of his [...]

Love, Death, and the Sub-Creative Imagination in J. R. R. Tolkien

Yesterday I found myself reading The Silmarillion, an unfinished collection of Tolkien's mythopoeic writings depicting the creation of Ëa and its passage through the first of the three ages of the world (The Lord of the Rings trilogy depicts events at the end of the third age). The stories, posthumously published by his son Christopher in 1977, are prefaced [...]

Petals Rising

I forgot about this short poem I penned back in August on the inside of the back cover of Ramey's book after sitting on a bench intending to read in a rose garden in Golden Gate Park. It seems relevant to some of what I've covered above: I stand here watching rose petals fall. I pick up [...]

The Beginning and the End of Positive Philosophy

In the Theaeteus, Plato has Socrates say that "wonder is the feeling of a philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder." In his Metaphysics, Aristotle echoes this by writing that "it was their wonder, astonishment, that first led men to philosophize and still leads them." In the Phaedo, Plato has Socrates say that "those who really apply [...]

Post-Secular Spirituality

Michael over at Archive Fire recently linked to a published essay by a friend and former colleague at CIIS, Annick Hedlund-de Witt. Annick researches the way changing world-views in America and Europe stand to influence--whether positively, negatively, or not at all--the push for a more sustainable approach to development around the world. She focuses specifically on spiritual imaginaries (my [...]

Ethologies of Death

Adam over at Knowledge Ecology posted some thoughts in response to my last blog on the concept of Life. I suggested that one way of distinguishing the human from other kinds of being is that we can contemplate abstractions like life-in-itself, and therefore also, death-in-itself. Adam writes the following: I think this is worth discussing [...]

De Anima Mundi

Some questions have emerged about what the hell (or heaven) I might be talking about in my last essay about death and the soul. These questions provide me with an opportunity to reflect on my own writing in an attempt to more fully articulate the vision behind it. I don't already have answers to these [...]

Death as Trickster

A reflection after participating in Steven Goodman's "Tibetan Trickster" workshop at CIIS several weekends ago. See my follow up comments to this essay here. --------------------------------------------------------------------- I should begin. I don't know how much time I have... I'd like to tell you a secret, even though I'm not sure if I can repeat it exactly as [...]

I am Time

I am Time Time is unwinding through its eternal hour and life is heading always toward the grave. The sun is being born and dying every day as the earth rolls across the sky. Toward the Origin all creation flows, though once upon a time, the destiny of this world was written with words. History: [...]

Prophecy without profit

The prophet is beside himself, and breathes into history the words that will not be heard but by those with silent hearts, whose longing for a world more real reminds them daily of the night that has befallen us. Illusions are paraded as truth, and the people cheer. But does not everyone know with ever-increasing [...]