"The ring saga gives us an image of ourselves," said Ushi. "If gives us an image in Frodo of how we would act as human beings should we choose to do so, or how we would act if we would not choose so and live like empty shells. Right now mankind is collectively empty, bankrupt, and on the fast train to hell, since almost nobody gives a damn about humanity. Nor is society committed to act like human beings. Isn't that also what Palmerston said in exposing what is giving him his power? He has every right to laugh at us when he said, 'and you want to change that?' His fondi empire didn't build the 65,000 nuclear bombs that now stand arrayed against mankind. Mankind itself built them. His empire merely placed the order. Tolkien demanded the opposite. He demanded absolute sublimity of his key representatives of mankind, but that's easy to do if you write the script. Palmerston would have laughed at Frodo the same way he had laughed at you, Peter."
"Of course he would have to laugh," Ross interjected. "Only a gnawing sense of impotence could have prevented Frodo from succeeding. That's why Palmerston laughed at you, to inspire impotence. Tolkien wisely kept 'Frodo' out of Palmerston's reach. He gave Frodo a task to do that was not of his choosing, but was a necessity for maintaining life. Without the voice of impotence holding him back, Frodo complied. Tolkien plugged Frodo out of his idyllic pastoral world with a task so dangerous that no assurances could be given. Nevertheless he felt certain that Frodo was equal to the task. Frodo was assured that there would be no survival for anyone, if he failed. We are at this stage today. We are building atomic bombs, while we should be building the infrastructure for survival that will be our lifeline in the coming Ice Age. Instead of massive building going on, we see massive looting, pillaging, enslaving, and destroying, tearing one-another down. Society calls those who dare to speak against that, dangerous crackpots, because war, poverty, and destruction is the stuff that empires are built on, and society is trained to protect the empires. Frodo the hobbit doesn't have the power to stand against that deep reaching sophistry, nor is he drawn into battle with it. He only knows his humanity and that it is sufficient to carry the ring to its doom. So he presses on, struggling silently and persistently and wins. Whether the global society can live up to his sublime example remains yet to be seen. The potential exists, but nothing is assured."
"Tolkien demands total sublimity on a universal scale and warns that our survival cannot be assured without it," said Steve. "The only tool that we have to make this survival a reality is our piggy bank," added Steve addressing me, "and nothing must go into it that isn't 'gold' and radiant in brilliance like the 'sun' manifesting the Principle of Universal Love."
"Right now we are miles away from the realization of this goal," I commented quietly, as if in shame. Indeed, that's what Palmerston had promised, a feeling of shame.
"While Palmerston is impotent in real terms," I said moments later, "he has his hands on the pulse of mankind. His empire owns mankind, but his people are insane, and in their insanity they may yet destroy the world. The Nazgul and their derivatives are all insane. Greed is insanity. Fascism is insanity. The Nazgul stand ready to destroy mankind. The physical forces to do this do exist. This means that we cannot stay asleep but must act in a sublime manner as Frodo did act and take the responsibility that we all have, to become human beings."
"In comparison with this great challenge my piggy bank appears to be rather empty," said Steve and laughed. "In fact, I don't even have a piggy bank sitting on my bedroom dresser to remind me every night."
"Don't lie to yourself," Ushi interrupted him. "Your piggy bank is rich with golden coins of universal love. You are the world champion of the piggy banks of love coins. You became the world champion the night when you invited Peter into our home for dinner. We talked about love for hours that night, forging coin after coin, and when it became obvious that a deep love was unfolding between Pete and I, you didn't send Pete packing in a huff as any husband would, but invited him to stay, to stay for the whole night. You gave up your own bed to him and invited him to share the night with me, pending my approval. You were pouring forth that night from your piggy bank in rich streams. But that wasn't all. You told us in the morning that you ended up with twice as many coins by the process of spending them so freely. That's the geometry of universal love that you have discovered. That makes you the world champion."
"Oh, I discovered you two being in love long before I invited Pete," said Steve and grinned. "That's why I invited him. I could see the face of God shining in both of you."
"A sublime act isn't sublime, for reasons that the sublime person often ends up dead as did Jeanne d'Arc," said Ross. He was still poking his head over the back of his seat in front of us. "The sublime is that which creates a richer world out of the riches of a love that is wide and universal," he said. "Jeanne d'Arc did such a thing. She set the stage for the first nation state in history, built on the renaissance principles that stand in total defiance of all imperial impositions. This, all by itself, doubled the prosperity of the entire nation under Louis XI."
"Actually Jeanne d'Arc did much more than that," said Steve. "Sure she rallied the flagging forces of Charles VII against the English occupiers in France, in 1429. Yes she was personally leading the troops to break the siege of Orléans, paving the way to have Charles VII officially crowned king. But that was only the start. She was sold by traitors to the English, who burned her at the stake for heresy and perjury, two years after her victory. But those flames that took her life also fanned the fire of the great humanist unfolding that became the Golden Renaissance. In the wake of Jeanne d'Arc the renowned Christian humanist Cardinal Nicolaus of Cusa came onto the scene who played a major role in the 1439 Council of Florence that unified the Eastern and Western Churches and put the human being and truth above the institutions. That's what essentially opened to door to the new era that became the Renaissance. Cusa's collaborators were all part of the effort to ensure the realization of the renaissance idea. Their work came to fruition in Louis XI's reign. King Louis XI reigned in France for slightly over twenty years from 1461 on and put on record in this short period the modern form of the nation-state principle. I think the new form of kingdom was called the commonwealth, in which the nation's wealth is its productive capacity for the common benefit of the whole of society. This renaissance platform next spread from France to England. All within the same twenty year timeframe. Jeanne d'Arc played a key role in this historic development of a sublime idea."
"In her early years, Jeanne d'Arc got caught up in the simmering resistance movement against the looting of society by the Aristocracy," said Ross. "The reform movement was centered on the Brotherhood of the Common Life, a kind of early general welfare idea. From this rebel background Jeanne d'Arc was able to approach the Dauphin, Charles VII, and convince him to supply her with the needed military forces to regain France's sovereignty and independence."
"Jeanne d'Arc didn't invent the resistance movement," said Steve. "That movement had been slowly gathering strength for almost fifty years. Out of it a quiet political and religious revolution had been unfolding in northern Europe in an effort to rebuild the moral, physical, and spiritual well being of the people of Europe against the memory of the Black Death. The Brotherhood of the Common Life became a teaching order built on this general welfare background and the scientific tradition of Plato. The Brotherhood of the Common Life was committed to educating all people universally, regardless of their wealth or status. The Brotherhood became a cultural resistance movement that spread throughout Europe, opposing the looting of the oligarchs whose survival was dependent on impoverishing the population that they treated no better than the cows in the field. The teaching order was fighting for humanity, rather than fighting an oppressor. It stressed the value of every individual, setting the stage for the Principle of Universal Love as love reflecting the face of God in every human face.
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