Exploring Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings 


Lord of Rings: Empire & Money

Rolf A. F. Witzsche


Tolkien's ring saga has at its core humanity's long-lagging commitment to purge the foulest pollution of all the ages from the landscape of the world - the one scourge, the one disease that has never been healed - that has choked humanity to near the braking point far too often and still threatens its very existence. The disease is named, empire. 



Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings saga unfolds as a tale  of many stories intertwined towards the one single end, to heal humanity of what has never been healed on earth to the very day.

Sure, many empires have risen and fallen in the time-span that we tend to regard the age of civilization. Empires typically collapse when their voracious looting collapses the economic strength of their prey that their existence depends on. This cycle has not been broken in spite of the numerous attempts to do so during the last five millennia that should have been devoted to human development, but were squandered by this unhealed disease that tends to become evermore devastating the longer it festers.

The attempts to achieve a healing has been mostly on a narrow focus, focusing on specific aspects rather than on the wide platform of universal principles that support human existence and its civilization. Tolkien was personally touched by the horrifying revival of the scourge of empire that was buried in the USA with the hard-won battle of the American Civil War. But it was dredged up again from the imperial cesspools in Europe that had not been dealt with and cleansed from the landscape. Tolkien saw the horrid results when the spirit of empire was revived that set the stage for World War I that should have been overturned right then, but wasn't, which set the stage for World War II and the Cold War in the shadow of the globalization of empire that has not ended.

The ring saga thus stands at its root as a history lesson, but also as an exploration of the principles of healing, even the process of the healing of humanity of the disease of empire that has not yet been accomplished, but which must be accomplished if humanity is to survive and have a future. In the ring saga this healing is accomplished as a composite of many individual healings of characters and perceptions in numerous arena's and to varying degrees, with each contributing to the whole.

A wide stage is set in the opening pages. Numerous types of perceptions and backgrounds rule society. In the saga numerous rings were forged. We are told that three rings were owned by the Elf-lords, seven by the Dwarf-kings, and nine by Mortal Men, and that there was one more ring forged in secret, a master ring that controls them all, made by the master of empire who employs it control the world.

In the saga the master of empire, named Sauron, is slain in a great battle and his ring is taken from him.  The saga of the ring should have ended at this point. The ring should have been cast into the great fire of Mount Doom were it was made, where its influence could have been undone, to rid the world of its evil effect. But this was not to be. The man who had taken the ring had kept it for himself.  Still, he couldn't avoid the consequence.  The effect of someone possessing the ring draws the forces of evil onto it, whereby the man is promptly killed. In the scuffle the ring falls from his finger and becomes lost.

So it was that the knowledge of the ring drifted out of memory and out of legends until one day it was found again, whereby the cycle of tragedy begins anew. In this the saga reflects the real world where empires have risen and fallen seemingly without end, because the end has not yet been. The names may have changed and become forgotten as relics of history written in books that gathered dust in libraries, but the spirit of empire lingered on.

Tolkin gave empire the name Sauron. In the German language the word "sau" refers to a mother of pigs. A sau typically has a number of litters of pigs.

In the saga the spirit of Sauron awakens and takes on physical form again when the lost ring is found, the One Ring, the master ring. He wants it. He requires it to rule the Earth, the "One Ring to rule them all," as the legends say, "One Ring to find them. One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them."

The darkness is the heart of empire where the shadows gather - shadows of fascism, and of lies, secrecy, killing, and destruction. The term "darkness" here may also refer to the shadows that empire casts across the hearts of humanity by intimidation - shadows of impotence, fear, smallness, hopelessness. The effect of this shadow is so intense that it causes anyone to vanish from sight who dares to wear the secret master ring, but is seen by those who dwell in darkness under the spell of empire. When worn, the ring becomes visible to Sauron, its master who forged it.

Against this background the great battle over the ring begins. Contrary to appearances, the great battle itself is a multifaceted sequence of healing across a wide spectrum of people who become intertwined with the effects of the ring of empire and the critical need to purge it from the world.

In the course of the healing immense military battles are brought against the world of men by the forces of empire. Critics of Tolkien's saga say that there is too much violence involved. Violence certainly isn't an aspect of healing, nor is it necessary for it, but it is an unavoidable element of empire. The horrid violence that is brought against the people in the saga is the violence that ensues when the critical healing has been left undone. In comparative historic terms, Tolkien's great battles are necessarily minuscule skirmishes. In World War II up to 50 million soldiers were drawn into fighting each other for various objectives of empire, for six years in a murdering madness in which 50 million people were killed.

The scope of such madness goes way beyond the power of fiction to convey. No one can ever imagine the scope of this immense horror that has happened in these years. The tragedy should have been avoided. But it happened. It wasn't avoided, because the necessary healing of society of its disease of empire, had not been achieved.

The necessary healing has not been achieved to the present day. Too little effort has been made by society to heal itself. As a consequence the disease festered and became a monster so that the world is in a still deeper mess.

In today's terms World War II was a small skirmish. Indeed, one of the masters of empire, Bertrand Russell, had lamented in 1951 in an article for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, that even the big wars are disappointing in that they don't kill enough people. He made it plain that wars are too small to satisfy the imperial goals for world depopulation that is still the agenda in the present and is expanding.

In the saga the beastly armies of empire were sent into battle with the charge to kill all men, to leave none alive, saying that the age of men is ending, and the age of empire is dawning.

They said it mildly. The modern song of empire is that humanity is a pest on the earth, that the pest must be eradicated to very low levels, from the present world population of seven billion people, to less than one. And the tools to do this do exist. They are called are called economic collapse, and thermonuclear war. The bases are loaded. Ninety minutes of war could cause the extinction of humanity.

In Tolkien's tale the people faced a similar threat. It became apparent in the tale that the fate of the world of men hinged on one task being fulfilled without fail, to purge the world of the Ring of Empire. It was a task so immense, dangerous, and seemingly impossible that it was said that it can't be done.

Against this challenge that the task had to be fulfilled in spite of the danger and all, Tolkien set up the tale as a wide-ranging platform for healing. The healing that had been missed in previous times had to be achieved this time, or else there would be time no more. Each one involved had to heal in his own mind the smallness of thinking that stood in the way to a solution. And so, slowly, bit by bit, with each person struggling individually with the inhibiting smallness, driven by the need for stepping above it, the great collective healing of society was achieved that in the saga won the day.

In real terms the process of prayer is not a process of petitioning the Principle of the Universe to change itself to human wishes, or to request improvements, to advise the infinite good of how to become better, or to miraculously release us of our responsibilities to utilize the power we have as human beings to uplift ourselves and our world. Such a prayer, if it was possible, would belittle God, the creative power of the universe. However, one can envision in times of need a process of uplifting oneself to utilize more of what we all have available in terms of a higher-level resource. Thus prayer  unfolds as a call to ourselves to utilize what God has already provided as a high-level resource of great power that we have the ability to draw on to meet the human needs whatever they are. This process, of course, comes with the requirement attached on us that we spare no effort to meet the human needs for one another in one universal fellowship of love that is built into the principle of our humanity, economy, and civilization, for which the higher-level resources, called God, exist. On this type of reflected spiritual platform, empire has no place to stand on. It becomes 'buried' by its lack of relevance. Thereby the Ring of Empire is broken as a lie. It could also be called the Ring of Money. Its nature is the same; and its effect is the same.

In Tolkien's tale the ring, the master ring that binds into one, isn't 'buried' by just a single person. The task is accomplished by the collective achievement of a large fellowship devoted to that one single good. As presented in the tale, the path towards the achievement is technically a path of  a monumental prayer, a quest for healing pursued on many fronts. In this context the Lord of the Rings saga may be regarded one day as the greatest recorded prayer for human healing of all times, especially when it becomes seen as focusing on the unfulfilled needs of our present world, to gain its freedom from empire and money, which are the paths to the human power that fulfills those needs.

It may well be that nothing less than such a monumental prayer as the ring saga will be sufficient in our age too, to achieve the one great healing that has evaded humanity through the ages, namely the healing of its landscape of the disease of empire and money, which has enslaved humanity in countless ways in endless time.

Today the challenge still remains before us. The multifaceted disease has not yet been healed. It hasn't been healed in the entire timeframe since civilization began. Tolkien in his saga of prayer stages the human desire to be free, high above the currently prevailing level, all the way to where humanity lifts itself above false limitations to where it finds that everything that is needed for the task to be fulfilled is already at hand from within, or is available from the highest-level resources for meeting such needs. A prayer in this sense is a struggle with oneself to discover one's inner strengths and humanity's available resources that may be termed God, to develop them.

On the universal plain, the necessary healing prayer unfolds the as it must, as a fellowship in purpose that binds all together as one people, into one invincible force for dealing with the ring-phenomenon decisively, creating on the path a lateral relationship or fellowship among humanity on all levels, built on the common universal soul in which the spiritual nature of our humanity is defined.

Tolkien keeps the concept of God out of the ring saga. He appears to present the inner development of individuals as the sole source for their healing. However, while he does this he describes many of the leading characters in the saga as having outstanding spiritual qualities, such as great love, wisdom, friendship, loyalty, and a devotion to good, and so on, by which they stand out as profoundly with superhuman qualities drawn from this higher-level spiritual resource that one might term God. Their drawing on this type of resource may be termed prayer, a prayer beyond religion, a scientific prayer, in which the strongest roots of their fellowship are rooted, which nothing breaks or can break.

It may take this type of fellowship again the cleanse the world of the Master Ring of Empire that is staged to choke much of the world to death

In the saga, each one's need for healing comes to light as drawn from a higher resource, though the individual needs are different in nature, and the individual goals and successes towards the goals unfold differently too, sometimes depending on how deeply the individual's self-denial had eroded their humanity that hides their higher-level resourcee. Thus those, and they are very few who have let go too much of their humanity, find themselves beyond redemption and recourse in the saga whereby they promptly perish in their self-occasioned void of good.

The rest who struggle in the tale of the rings find themselves able to achieve what they had never imagined they would be able to achieve. With these uplifted efforts the victory over the ring of empire is won in the saga so that it ends in victory as it must for nothing less is actually conceivable.

How far along on this path of healing we presently are in the real world is difficult to determine. Today's empire that aims to rule the world still sits tall on the throne of speculative monetarism that has become the world financial system; a throne built with the craft of thievery, lies, threats, intimidation, murder, war; a throne that is about to collapse, as nothing within supports it from within, and all its external supports have been destroyed by it. Then, when the throne disintegrates, much of humanity will perish with it that has its economies and its living tied to the throne that it had foolishly allowed to remain standing.

The great battles in the Ring saga are the consequences of failures that should have been corrected in their budding stage when the correcting would have been easy, safe, and simple, rather than at the critical stage when the failures developed into monsters with existential consequences. In our time, the Vietnam War should have been avoided. It nearly was. President Kennedy had ordered the disengagement and withdrawal of American troops. But he was killed and a big war was started instead. The justice that stands behind peace should have blocked the powers of war. But it didn't happen. War was allowed instead. Likewise the Iraq war should have been prevented. Nothing justifies attacking another nation, or people individually. Some protest demonstrations did occur to block the war, but the resulting efforts were too feeble. The war erupted. Millions were killed. And many more millions will become victims of this war for many decades and centuries yet to come as a consequence of the radioactive poisoning of the global air with 5 million kilograms of vaporized uranium that has a half-life of 4.5 billion years. This means we have to live with the resulting mess, as no means exist or are possible, for cleaning it up.

The great military assaults on the world of men by the forces of empire, such as the Orcs, the Uruk-hai, and Nazgul, are likewise symbolic of the currently ongoing monetarist assaults on the platform of human living. The monetarist looting forces of empire are in a war with civilization on a gigantic scale. It is destroying the industries that humanity depends on, and the food supply, and so forth, by stealing the financial resources that a productive economy requires to exist. $50 trillion have been stolen so far from the American society through the bailout trap. All of the wars in history combined have not caused as much damage to society than this single act has, of looting the world with speculation, bailouts, and monetarist thievery. The huge battle in the ring saga, at Minas Tirith, is a minuscule affair in comparison with what has been planned to happen in the world.

The current world empire that owns the world financial system - the system that is collapsing under the weight of its greed and thievery, that no form of bailout can save - is planned to be shut down together with all the debts that can never be repaid, and also all the obligations, including pensions and social support systems. It will be let go and be replaced with a new system of private monetarism that will be too small to support the physical infrastructures and economies that support the populations. The intention is that vast masses will die, to thereby reduce the world population from the present seven billion people to less than one billion, which then become willing slaves to the masters of empire. That's the goal of the current ring of traitors against humanity.

This planned, intentional catastrophe can be avoided by a law that isolates and protects the commercial banking system from the imperial, speculative looting system, in order that the financial system that is critical for the operation of the physical economy and society's living doesn't go down with the collapsing system of empire. This means that when the system of empire falls, only empire itself will go to its grave in its war against humanity, and not humanity with it. Enacting the banking separation law is the equivalent in our time of casting the Master Ring into the fires of Mount Doom in the saga. The law would not be revolutionary. It was once enacted in 1933 in the USA under President Franklin Roosevelt. It is commonly known as the Glass Steagall Act. It had enabled the rebuilding of America after the Great Depression. It took a bunch of traitors in high places, acting tirelessly for their masters of empire for half a century to get the vital protecting law repealed - an act of treachery that thereby put empire back onto the throne of the world.

The master of empire had demanded this and of course rejoiced, while by their action evermore of the nation began dying in the shadow of it.  Against this background, the restoration of the Glass Steagall law is now urgently needed.  It would bring the predatory throne of empire down that utters nothing but death and destruction.

In order to get some life back into the world, the repealed law needs to be reinstated and a government credit system needs to be added to reconstruct what has been lost. To do this simple thing in Congress, and to do it contrary to all the screams and threats by the masters of empire, would be synonymous in the real world with the One Ring, the Master Ring, being cast back into the fire of Mount Doom where it was made and can be unmade. But this basic, simple step, that had been easily taken in 1933, no longer has any significant backing in Congress. In today's world the Fellowship of those committed to purge the Ring of Empire from the world is thin and weak. It is nearly non-existing.

Nevertheless, Tolkien suggests that there remains still enough of a spark of humanity in the heart of society so that a healing is still possible - a healing that is ignited by this spark to prevent a doom that would otherwise, if the healing was not accomplished, be the greatest doom of all times.

We stand at the crossroads today. A victory is possible. 

See: Restoring the Glass Steagall law

The victory will likely be a healing wrought in universal prayer, carried out in universal fellowship across the wide landscape of humanity.

It is interesting to note that the music composed by composer/conductor Howards Shore, for Peter Jackson's films of The Lord of the Rings, is a type of music that projects a sense of quiet universal healing, even an expectancy of healing, intertwined with the momentous struggles along the way.

Listen to The Lord of the Ring's Symphony (1:55 complete)


Related articles:

Dynamics of Prayer-- 
Is Prayer Effective on the World Stage?   --

Related video explorations:

Science of the Lord's Prayer --
Christ and Christmas -- 
Marriage on the Infinite Plain



In Print

The Lord of the Rings' Metaphors
Volume 2b of the Series, Discovering Infinity

When the future determines the present with love,
we discover the heart of our humanity.
Thus we discover the emptiness of the 'fire' that would destroy it.
We also discover a brighter 'fire,'
a flame that glows with the light of universal love? 

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Published by Cygni Communications Ltd. North Vancouver, BC, Canada -   Rolf A. F. Witzsche