Another example of aspiring to the Will to Power was Fëanor (an elf in The Silmarillion).
“in the pursuit of all [Fëanor’s] purposes eager and steadfast. Few ever changed his courses by counsel, none by force. He became of all the Noldor, then or after, the most subtle in mind and the most skilled in hand.” “For Fëanor was driven by the fire of his own heart only, working ever swiftly and alone; and he asked the aid and sought the counsel of none that dwelt in Aman, great or small, save only and for a little while of Nerdanel the wise, his wife.” “For Fëanor was made the mightiest in all parts of body and mind, in valour, in endurance, in beauty, in understanding, in skill, in strength and in subtlety alike, of all the Children of Ilúvatar [God], and a bright flame was in him.”
Fëanor was the greatest
mortal (oops) non-divine being that ever lived. Since his personality is part of his original “greatness” including his aspiration to the will to power, this is the main example of acceptance by Tolkien of the concept. The quote above hints there is a “bright flame” within him and his name means “spirit of fire”. Could this be some reflection of Eru’s “Flame Imperishable” actually in the world and in the hands of a mortal non-divine being? That would be very interesting indeed.
Unfortunately Fëanor is corrupted by his nemesis, Melkor. If we can find contrast between Melkor and Fëanor, we might identify Tolkien’s reservations regarding the Will to Power. Concerning their origins and the cause of their corruption, I can only think of one very Nietzschian idea. (Prepare to disagree strongly!) Melkor tried to surpass God (Eru) and God rebuked Melkor. Melkor was humiliated.
Then the Ainur were afraid, and they did not yet comprehend the words that were said to them; and Melkor was filled with shame, of which came secret anger. (AINULINDALË)
It is the fact that Eru claims the higher divine authority over Melkor that corrupts him.
Now in the case of Fëanor, he did live among the Valar without difficulty, because the Valar do not have authority over Fëanor.
“For which reason the Valar are to these kindreds rather their elders and their chieftains than their masters; and if ever in their dealings with Elves and Men the Ainur have endeavoured to force them when they would not be guided, seldom has this turned to good, howsoever good the intent.” (Of the Beginning of Days)
This quote is definitely in line with my argument (“Ainur have endeavoured to force them” .. “seldom has this turned to good”!! Remember any divine law with the threat of hell is “force”!). Melkor does claim authority over the world and his efforts alone corrupt Fëanor. “…in Angband Morgoth forged for himself a great crown of iron, and he called himself King of the World.” (Of the Flight of the Noldor)
So my interpretation, it is the interaction with higher divine authority (regardless if justified or not) that causes corruption of power. Nietzsche would be proud. Your response to this idea should be interesting…
What If We Are Already In The Second Music?!
I just had an original thought. Well, original to me at least. What if we are already in the second music of in Ainur?! Allow me to explain…
The first Music of the Ainur (who where the Valar and their helpers) was made at the command of God (Eru/Ilúvatar).
“In this Music the World was begun; for Ilúvatar [God] made visible the song of the Ainur,” “Therefore Ilúvatar [God] gave to their vision Being, and set it amid the Void, and the Secret Fire was sent to burn at the heart of the World; and it was called Eä [The World].”
In Tolkien’s mythology, we are still in a world that has been foreshadowed in the first Music of the Ainur. Incidentally, Melkor corrupted the first Music of the Ainur and therefore created evil in the world.
But Tolkien also foretells of a future second music. In this music, humans, elves and the Ainur work together to create a new world. Perhaps this is the Tolkien mythology version of heaven.
“a greater still shall be made before Ilúvatar by the choirs of the Ainur and the Children of Ilúvatar after the end of days. Then the themes of Ilúvatar shall be played aright, and take Being in the moment of their utterance, for all shall then understand fully his intent in their part, and each shall know the comprehension of each, and Ilúvatar shall give to their thoughts the secret fire, being well pleased.”
Now for my idea, what if we are in the second music? Perhaps we somehow forgot and assumed we are in the first music. We have been effectively the creative power “the secret fire” to create as we will. We are also on the same footing as the Ainur, who are effectively minor gods. The catch in this interpretation is God (Eru) said of the first music: “no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite”. Can any new theme be played, ever? Or is that the secret fire?
Anti Citizen One