The Celestine Propehcy

Okay, I don’t know much about the Celestine Prophecy but I do have a question about the J.R.R. Tolkien analogy. I have heard that he spent his latter years actually believing in Hobbits, Middle Earth, etc. and spent a lot of time mapping out these secret places. Is this just a good story of a creative mind turned to mush or is there any validity to it?

I’ve never heard that, and I’ve spent most of my life around people who have read Tolkien, loved Tolkien, lived Tolkien. :slight_smile:

I know he put a lot of effort into creating a realistic world. The Silmarillion could, if picked up by a space alien, be the Bible of a new religion, it’s so detailed with mythology and the like.

But even so, I’ve never heard he actually believed any of it.

Incidentally, here’s the link to the Mailbag column in question:

I think the notion that Tolkien “believed” his stories is mush.

He was a scholar, and he delved deeply into the mythologies whence he derived his tales. But they were for his enjoyment, and the enjoyment of friends (like C. S. Lewis) and family, they were not things he “believed.”

If you go to a metaphysical level, of course, I think he did very strongly believe in the eventual triumph of good over evil, in the importance of every individual (no matter how seemingly “insignificant”), in the beauty of nature and the ugliness of factories, and so forth. But a belief in the beauty of nature is different from a belief in the existence of talking trees.

I empathize with your upbringing. I was surrounded by people who had similar reactions to Star Trek. Among them, a hardcore group who refer to William Shatner as a “classicly trained actor” in tones more reverential than ironic.

Drooling fandom aside, I still want to know if old J.R.R.T. was a nutbar or not. My wife seems convinced that he was and that she heard about it in a university lit course. However, this is the same woman who convinced me she was on the pill. We have two sons.

Sounds like you have some issues that go beyond literature… :slight_smile:

I think it is generally conceded that J.R.R. was mildly eccentric, in the way that British university professors who specialize in long-dead languages sometimes are. But I have never heard any indications of him being off his rocker.

I think this canard (and it certainly is) may stem from the fact that within the myth Tolkien found a long-lost manuscript of the writings of Bilbo, Frodo and Sam, and the Middle-Earth corpus is his translation of that manuscript.

But this is an ancient storytelling technique (in the middle ages, it would have been thought inexpressibly vulgar to say, “I made it up”) and no more. One might as well think that the authors of the “Roman Hat Mystery” believed in Ellery Queen or that Peter Schikele the composer (as opposed to Professor Peter Schikele of the Department of Musical Pathology at the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople) believes in P.D.Q. Bach.

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams

It occurs to me that the best debunking of this notion is from J.R.R.'s own work. He was constantly revising, editing, changing, rewording, reworking the mythos of the world he was creating. So much so that his son Christopher has published 11 or 12 volumes of his father’s notes, marginal scrawlings, etc. It is clear from those that he was constantly revising his created world.

I put it to you that if you BELIEVE in the existence of a world, then you don’t constantly edit and change it.

I think it’s safe to assume that historians believe in the existence of our own world. Yet, history books are edited and revised in order to get the details “right.”

Belief doesn’t preclude meticulous reworking.

Hey, back to the topic at hand (fiction as fuel for spreading of personal philosophy), wasn’t Dianetics originally a work of fiction? I know old L. Ron was a science fiction writer. And that turned into a movement embraced by many a hollywood star, among others. Maybe this is what The Celestine prophet was shooting for.

Nice point, Hungry Boy, but a different kind of editing and reworking. Historians, when they edit their works, don’t change the name of the general, change the name of the town where the battle was fought, change the name of the President, change whether the battle was fought weeks before or after the king died, etc.

Dianetics is pretty much full of fiction, but it is not “fiction” in the literary sense of the word.

Going back to the point, most people who write fiction “believe” in it in some sense; it seems to be, for many writers, an ineluctable part of the process. I’ve had the experience myself of characters insisting on doing this when I wanted them to do that. It’s as though you somehow make your mind reproduce by budding and then watch where the children go.

But that sort of “belief” is a long way from a pathological delusion. And if you were to suggest to Tolkien, himself, that he delusorily believed in his world, I suspect he would think you the lunatic.

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams

What exactly is the accepted thought on Castaneda at this point? I enjoyed a number of the don Juan books quite a bit & I believe he has some credibility, or at least did at one time-- was he crazy, just in it for the money, or an authentic mystic? I suppose an answer to that question rests somewhat on one s biases as to whether there s such a thing as an authentic mystic…

Obviously there is one set of rules for writers of fiction and another for visionaries. The former must bear in mind that their creations are products of their own imaginations; while the latter must believe that their creations have been passed on by some divine force – presumably for the edification of mankind. Any violation of these rules may result in the author being branded a kook, an opportunist, or both. Unfortunately, there is little to verify what actually transpired in the head of an author at the moment of creation save for the writing itself.

If it works for you, it’s legitimate experience – even if its author was starkers.

Tolkien “believed” in his creation only in the sense that he used it as an extended metaphor for his views on good and evil. (E.g., he refers to “the Secret Flame” in the Silmarillion, and in some of his letters equates it to the Holy Spirit – he was a devout Roman Catholic layman.)

However, one minor cavil: CKDextHavn wrote:

He was a professor of English language and literature. May we inquire in your view how long the English language has been dead? :)(Wondering in what language the answer will be posted)

Andy, look here for some info on Carlos C:

Happy to be corrected if I’ve misremembered, Poly, but I thought he specialized in Old Norse, Middle English, and similar?

The Celestine Prophecy is a bland attempt at spirituality for the ignorant masses. Ask yourself why there are sequels and a study guide! It is complete fiction, although it’s fairy tale style may preach positive morals , it is a flagrant attempt at scamming money from wannabe yuppies, plain and simple.
As far as any coincidence or correlation to J.R.R. Tolkien , maybe even by design, it falls well short. I fail to see why any intelligent reader could even draw that comparison. The C.P. is poorly written and has no creative nor liturative value compared to any of our great works of liturature, especially Tolkien. I must admit I am suprised and ashamed that I must even submit a comment on this moot point.

Sorry to shock and shame you, Sparky. David’s original column supports your belief that a comparison between Tolkien and Redfield is ridiculous – I think that’s why he drew the analogy. As well, I know my point about JRR’s sanity was moot but it was something I had heard and wanted to clear up. Believe me I’ve got nothing against the guy and I agree that he created better “liturature” than the Celestine Prophecy. :slight_smile:

The legitimacy of Redfield’s “vision” is a different subject. Would you consider Buddha a crackpot if his teachings came with a workbook?

Seems to me I have Cliff’s Notes on the Lord of The Rings somewhere…