1914-18 Film by Peter Jackson: “They Shall Not Grow Old” (Review by The Guardian)

They Shall Not Grow Old review – an utterly breathtaking journey into the trenches

Peter Jackson and team’s painstaking restoration of first world war footage is a cinematic triumph that all but brings young British soldiers back to life

5 / 5 stars 5 out of 5 stars.

A scene from They Shall Not Grow Old.
‘Stepping through the looking glass’: They Shall Not Grow Old. Photograph: BBC/Wingnut Films/IWM

There’s a familiar mantra that computers have somehow taken the humanity out of cinema. In an age when it’s possible to conjure spectacular action from digital effects, many modern movies have developed a sense of weightlessness – the inconsequentiality of artifice. Along with Avatar director James Cameron, New Zealand film-maker Peter Jackson has been at the forefront of the digital revolution, with his twin Tolkien trilogies (The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit) pushing the boundaries of computer-generated entertainment.

Yet with his latest project, a revivification of the Imperial War Museum’s archive of first world war footage, Jackson has done something quite remarkable: using 21st-century technology to put the humanity back into old movie stock. The result is utterly breathtaking.

Commissioned for the Armistice centenary by IWM and 14-18 NOW in association with the BBC, They Shall Not Grow Old is not a document of the world at war. Rather, it is an arresting snapshot of the lives of British soldiers who went to fight in Europe, many of them having lied about their tender ages to enlist. There are no historians, narrators or political commentators to guide us; the voices we hear are those of veterans, many gathered by the BBC during the making of its 1964 documentary series The Great War.

As we watch a line of soldiers marching through mud towards the front, something extraordinary happens. The film seems almost miraculously to change from silent black-and-white footage to colour film with sound, as though 100 years of film history had been suddenly telescoped into a single moment. Stepping through the looking glass, we find ourselves right there in the trenches, surrounded by young men whose faces are as close and clear as those of people we would pass in the street. I’ve often argued that cinema is a time machine, but rarely has that seemed so true.

They Shall Not Grow Old .
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Photograph: BBC/Wingnut Films/IWM

The challenges involved in achieving this miracle are manifold. Most obviously, the digital restoration and colourisation of the original films has been painstakingly carried out with meticulous attention to detail, rendering everything from skin tones to scenery in impressively natural hues. (For theatrical presentation, a moderate 3D enhancement has also been applied.)

More complex is the correction of the film’s pace. The century-old footage with which Jackson was working was shot at anything from 10 to 18 frames per second, with the rate often changing within a single reel. We’ve all seen old movies projected at the modern speed of 24fps, creating that skittering, agitated effect that fixes such footage in the dim and distant past. Here, Jackson and his team have used computers to build interstitial frames that recapture the rhythms of real life, tuning into the music of the soldiers’ movements, breathing intimate life into their smallest gestures. The process may sound nerdily technical but the effect is powerfully emotional. It’s as if the technology had somehow pierced the surface of the film, causing (virtual?) memories to come pouring out.

While a rich tapestry of background sound effects transports the viewer from training camps to battlefields, actors provide regionally authentic dialogue based on forensic lip-reading of the silent footage. “Hello Mum!” chirrups one private as he marches past the camera. Later, we see and hear an officer issuing instructions for the forthcoming attack.

They Shall Not Grow Old.
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Photograph: BBC/Wingnut Films/IWM

Amid such artifice, the true archive voices of soldiers who were “scared that the war would be over before we got out to it” strike a vibrant chord. While the unspeakable horrors of conflict are everywhere in evidence, Jackson’s film still finds unexpected life and laughter in the company of those who walked in the shadow of death. One veteran remembers the trenches as “a sort of outdoor camping holiday with the boys, with a slight spice of danger to make it interesting”. Another recalls the “terrific lot of kindness” at the front, a camaraderie perhaps lacking from life at home.

Should They Shall Not Grow Old be considered a documentary or a work of art? Debates about authenticity versus invention date back to the 1916 production of The Battle of the Somme, and Jackson’s creative interventions here will doubtless keep such arguments alive. Yet watching a technologically enhanced sequence in which a first world war soldier playfully juggles a beer bottle, then strums it like a guitar, all I could think was how real, how immediate, how profoundly truthful it all felt.

As the titular (mis)quotation from Laurence Binyon’s poem For the Fallen suggests, Jackson has attempted to take ageing footage and make it young again – to bring history, and those who lived it, into the present. It is an endeavour in which he has succeeded superbly.

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Watch a trailer for They Shall Not Grow Old.

They Shall Not Grow Old is in cinemas today, on BBC Two at 9.30pm this evening and on iPlayer for a week.


My personal Homage to JRR Tolkien and Peter Jackson:

I am thinking with emotion that Tolkien too was among those British soldiers… And as I like so much the two trilogies that Peter Jackson made out of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’, I am particularly glad that Sir Peter has been the one selected to do this very special movie too, and that he pulled it off so remarkably well… Thank you once again, dear Sir Peter!…

Credit and congratulations for this  great article go to its author, and to The Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/nov/11/they-shall-not-grow-old-peter-jackson-review-first-world-war-footage

11.11.2018: Centenary of the Armistice

Synchronicities of all kinds in my life have been pointing recently towards the need to underline the importance of celebrating today emphatically enough the Centenary of 11.11.1918, the Armistice that marked the end of the First World War.

WWI was the war that was supposed to end all wars. Yet, as we all know, the actual result has been quite the contrary: it was followed twenty years later by the Second World War, again starting in Europe and again leading to the involvement of the whole world on one side or the other of the conflict.

But to choose the truer one between the two sides did matter a lot in both those cases, to the point that in WWII only the side of the Allies – however imperfect it was itself, no doubt – still would at least leave open the way for the next step of Evolution upon Earth that Sri Aurobndo and the Mother had been working for since decades, while behind the other side were powerful invisible Beings, opposing with all their considerable, supernatural might any such further Evolution, as it would put an end to their age-old rule over humanity.

For that was actually what the conflict was about, in both those two World Wars, and it showed immediately: it is hardly a few months after Sri Aurobindo and the Mother had met in Pondichéry and recognized each other not only as doing the same evolutive work but also as being meant to do it together, that in August 1914, WWI started. Still they did begin to publish the magazine ‘Arya’ on August 15th, Sri Aurobindo’s birthday, just as planned. Sri Aurobindo’s Vision of the Future did pour out onto the world in that form for the next seven years, but already in early 1915, because of the War,  the Mother had had to leave, and it is only in 1920 that she was able to return.

This was the first attack on their common work for humanity’s evolution, just as WWII would be the second one, still more horrendous and dangerous for humanity at large. It is rather important for us to discern clearly this real cause, if we want at all to avoid a Third World War of even greater magnitude and even worse results.

The superficial causes, the economic and socialo-politic ones, have been long studied and analyzed by all the experts, but not many people know yet of the hidden, deepest cause behind those two recent, major conflagrations of our human world: they originated in fact from dimensions of Reality that are usually not known, as they are invisible to our ordinary senses and most of us are almost entirely unaware of their existence –  and constant influence on ours.

Those invisible but, for some of them, extremely powerful beings from the Mental and Vital Planes were quite well-known, though, to spiritual giants like Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, for those dangerous beings, called in India ‘Asuras’, have been the ones secretly ruling the world until now from behind the scenes, invading our consciousness and our thoughts as they will and making us angry, jealous, ambitious or fearful – or much worse – , using us as their mere puppets on the big Scene of Terrestrial Life. These asuric beings were now the direct inspiration and driving force possessing Hitler and giving him his extraordinary power on masses, especially at night.

The real Program was, through the most cruel psychological and physical means imaginable, to sub-humanize the many into a population of abject slaves, while at the same time to de-humanize a chosen few as an elite to be forged into those Asuras own abominably perverted and darkened version of the New Human: the Overlords .

It is that Program that explains the unsuspected horrors that the Allies in the end discovered had happened in the dreadful Concentration Camps: it is that deliberate Program that had been already applied and so, horribly exemplified there, for all to see and be warned.

Here is how the Mother described all this later, on April 9th, 1951, speaking of Nazism:

“… the children born now will not even know if this was true, all these horrors which are related to them. What happened in the conquered countries – in Czechoslovakia, in Poland, in France – the frightful things, unbelievable, unthinkable, which took place – unless one has been very close by, has seen, one cannot believe it. It was… I was saying the other day that the vital world is a world of horrors; well, all the horrors of the vital world had descended upon earth, and upon earth they are still more horrible than in the vital world…

Naturally, men are always very anxious to forget. There are already those who have begun to say: ‘Are you quite sure that it was like that?’ But those who have gone through that do not want it to be forgotten, so the places of torture, massacres – hideous places which go beyond all the worst that human imagination can conceive – some of these places have been preserved. You can go and visit the torture-chambers the German Nazis had built in Paris, and they will never be destroyed, I hope, so that those who come and say’ Oh, you know, these things have been exaggerated’ (for one doesn’t like to know that such frightful things have happened) could be taken by the hand and told, ‘Come and see, if you are not afraid.’

This forms character. If it is taken in the right way (and I think there are people who have taken it in the right way), this may lead you straight to Yoga, straight. That is, one feels such a deep detachment for all things in the world, such a great need to find something else, an imperious need to find something truly beautiful, truly fresh, truly good… then, quite naturally, this brings you to a spiritual aspiration. “

It is well known that from Pondichéry Sri Aurobindo and Mother made repeatedly public in India their full support of the Allies, explaining again and again patiently but strongly that this war wasn’t a usual one at all, and all anger and resentment against the British, as well as all other ordinary human concerns, had to be temporarily put aside in front of the much greater danger a victory of Nazism was.

What wasn’t revealed then, and what Mother doesn’t reveal either in the 1951 text above, is that in May 1940, when Hitler was winning on all fronts and looked unstoppable, when all seemed to be already lost, Sri Aurobindo and herself decided to intervene directly themselves. Interrupting even the so important bringing down of the Supramental Consciousness-Force towards the Earth for the next step of its Evolution, they both put their entire spiritual power into the balance, in active inner help to the Allies, in order to deal as decisively as they could with what was an even more urgent task: to stop Hitler and the formidable beings behind him from conquering the entire world.

In the following, Sri Aurobindo speaks of himself in the third person:

‘Inwardly, he put his spiritual force behind the Allies from the moment of Dunkirk, when everybody was expecting the immediate fall of England and the definite triumph of Hitler, and he had the satisfaction of seeing the rush of German victory almost immediately arrested and the tide of war begin to turn in the opposite direction.’

The two texts quoted above, other astonishing quotes from Sri Aurobindo and Mother, as well as many other such documents on this so crucial period of our World History, have all been researched and put together in a book I cannot recommend highly enough:

Image result for "The Light that Shone into the Dark Abyss"

‘The Light that Shone into the Dark Abyss’,

by Maggi Lidchi-Grassi, a long time, remarkable disciple especially close to the Mother, who wanted to bring out all these unknown facts so that people all over the world could understand better what had actually happened in the first two World Wars, and how to avoid a third one.

Being a researcher myself too, I had dug out already some of those facts, but when that  book came out in 1993, I found in it such a wealth of new and vaster information that I rely since then entirely on it for spreading that so enlightening knowledge also among the people who come to study such things with me.

(https://www.amazon.co.uk/Light-That-Shone-into-Abyss/dp/8170583802)

In dear Maggi’s wonderful book, one source of information that I recognized with intense joy has been ‘Le Matin des Magiciens’ (The Morning of the Magicians) by well known French authors Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier, a great book that I had read with total awe in the Sixties, my first exposure to the occult, a few years before discovering Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, and through them true Spirituality, for a true and joyful New Step in Terrestrial Evolution…

It has been such a pleasure for me to discover through Maggi’s book more of the huge role that, among others, Churchill particularly has been able to play for saving us all during WWII, not only thanks to his well-known personality as a leader (including his wit and irony!), but also to the amazing receptivity he had to the infallible inner advice he felt he was constantly receiving from some unknown spiritual source… Details about this, and his clear if unconscious inner connection with Sri Aurobindo, abound in this book, to the sheer delight of the reader.

Tolkien isn’t mentioned, but I mention him here, for I happen to know that not only he was among those who fought in the deadly trenches of France during WWI, but later on, when Hitler came to power, he immediately discerned which kind of Dark Power was behind him. With an inner perception almost as keen as that of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, he also was very aware, and warned his compatriots, of the dangerous facility these forces have to invade the people of any country, not just this Germany that had been their main host that time…  His ‘Lord of the Rings’ was written mostly before WWII, yet astonishingly prophetic of it in its so accurate description of the occult dimension behind the War of the Ring just as behind WWII – and WWI before it.

May this Centenary of the 1918 Armistice (there is no such celebration for the end of WWII, so let this one stand for both World Wars) be the occasion for all of us to see more fully and clearly what the Divine Grace has helped us barely escape then, and to pledge our lives with all the more determination to the true, beautiful evolutive Future of Humanity, where Strength and Power will reunite at last with Compassion and Fraternity to become again the real, full truth of Love: the Divine Love we came here to embody.

Lettre à un ami plus jeune, pour sa Fête

Cher toi,

bien que nos choix respectifs de vie nous aient séparés physiquement depuis longtemps, nous avons plaisir à communiquer parfois sur Facebook et son Messenger, surtout au moment de nos anniversaires à l’un et à l’autre.

Aujourd’hui c’est le tien. Mais comme ce que je vais te dire sera valable et, qui sait, intéressant, aussi pour d’autres, aujourd’hui je te l’écris à travers ce nouvel article à mettre sur mon Blog de Recherche, que tu connais un peu, sans pour autant le lire régulièrement.

Grâce à nos petits échanges sur Messenger, j’ai appris il y a déjà un an que tu te posais en fait des questions sur la Vie, du point de vue métaphysique mais avec aussi une exigence scientifique. Tu m’as même envoyé le lien vers le séminaire audio conçu et présenté par Stephen XXX, qui semble t’avoir plu.

Il se trouve que j’ai moi aussi depuis toujours la même approche à la fois spirituelle et scientifique. Ne vivant pas ici à Auroville, tu ne peux pas te rendre compte de ce en quoi mon travail ici – très officiel depuis 1984, mais déjà aussi ma passion et ma raison de vivre depuis 1971 – ,consiste véritablement. En vérité, le “Laboratoire de l’Évolution” en question existe principalement “in vivo”, et cela, tout d’abord en moi-même, plus quelques autres personnes, d’Auroville et d’ailleurs, qui font un travail similaire et ont choisi de le faire en collaboration avec moi, car elles me considèrent comme à la pointe de la recherche dans ce domaine de l’Évolution Consciente non seulement à Auroville mais dans le reste du monde aussi. Je sais bien, on a toujours l’air de se vanter, mais enfin il faut tout de même que tu le saches, sinon tu continueras toujours à me voir comme la personne “ordinaire” que tu as connue autrefois, au lieu de la “spécialiste” que de manière bien inattendue je suis devenue dans ce domaine, y compris la Conscience Cellulaire, avec sa partie la plus avancée: le Yoga des Cellules.

Je t’explique tout cela parce que ce sont justement mes cellules, en pleine évolution spirituelle depuis 1978, qui ce matin au réveil ont écrit pour toi le petit poème suivant:

Nous les cellules, nous apprenons

Comment rester jeunes à jamais

Et devenir, d’un corps-prison,

Corps de Délice, vivant Palais

Pour l’Esprit, pleinement conscient

En Soi, et aussi en ce corps

Explorant l’Éternel Présent,

Mais devenu Délice d’Or…

Tout EST, dans ce Spacieux Présent,

Tout EST d’avance – en Potentiel,

Pour que nous, en le choisissant,

À chaque instant rendions RÉEL

Le chemin, tracé par nos choix,

D’une aventure (ou promenade!)

Vécue à la manière d’un Roi,

D’un esclave, ou d’une Ménade,

Selon ce qu’il nous plaît de vivre

En notre exploration joyeuse

De tout l’Infini des Possibles:

Tout attire nos Âmes rieuses!

Jusqu’à ce qu’elles aient eu leur content

De vies de Malheur et Douleur,

Pour, ayant goûté ce Piment,

Mieux savourer la Vie Bonheur…

Ce corps en tous cas a sa dose

De tout ce Piment trop brûlant

Trop présent en bien trop de choses.

Mais ce n’est pas en s’en allant

Qu’il veut résoudre ce problème:

Délice d’Or il deviendra!

Alors l’Abbaye de Thélème

Sera vraie: “Fais ce que voudras”…

Car la Matière sera Reine

Autant que l’Esprit sera Roi,

La Vie ici sera sereine

Et la Terre, un autre “Chez moi”

Pour nos esprits explorateurs

Aux corps enfin invulnérables

Et donc eux aussi amateurs

De la Vie Vraie, impérissable…

Évoluer rend cela possible:

La Vraie Victoire, bien matérielle!

Qui de vous la prendra pour Cible

Et ainsi la rendra RÉELLE?

Voilà donc ce qu’elles m’ont dicté à ton intention ce matin, pour t’aider (je suppose) à comprendre un peu mieux la Vie, et nous-mêmes, y compris nos corps et leurs cellules. en ce grand tournant évolutif terrestre que nos vivons en ce moment.

J’espère que tu apprécieras leur petit cadeau. Elles m’étonnent constamment par leur simplicité, leur sagesse, et aussi leur courage. Leur vie en ce corps a tout à fait changé depuis qu’elles ont découvert avec émerveillement le Divin et sa Lumière d’Amour. Elles me font tout à fait penser aux Hobbits!!!

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Et on s’aime tant réciproquement… C’est une pure grâce de se connaître!

Alors BONNE FÊTE, donc, avec tous mes meilleurs voeux à moi aussi, pour toi et tes propres cellules!…

De tout coeur,

Bhaga

 

 

 

 

A New Turn for Tolkien’s Legacy

I highly recommend reading the very good, informative and interesting article, ‘Tolkien’s Legacy about to Get Bigger’, at the link which follows:
It highlights the importance of the recent withdrawal by Christopher Tolkien from the responsibilities he had until then regarding his father’s literary legacy.
Whether his voluntary absence from the decisive role he had before may have negative, or, hopefully positive consequences on the future adaptations that, like with Amazon already, will be now allowed to take place, remains to be seen… The analysis by the author of the reasons  to  be hopeful is the best, and the best worded, that I know of.
NOW A PERSONAL NOTE FROM MYSELF, BHAGA, AUTHOR OF THIS BLOG.

As a deeply appreciative fan of Tolkien’s Middle-earth world since 1975, and an equally deep fan of Peter Jackson’s adaptations of them to the big screen through the two Trilogies rightly mentioned in the article above as “wildly successful”, I have been sorry, but mostly amazed, that Christopher Tolkien, the son whom he had entrusted with the legacy of his writings, could have such a harsh judgement on those films – and especially on the ‘Lord of the Rings’ Trilogy to start with. But then, I realized that Christopher probably never saw the Extended Editions of any of those films… and although already in the Theater Editions I found a whole lot to love, it is the Extended Editions that really represent for me what Peter Jackson truly had in his mind and heart when creating those magnificent films.

Given the incredibly huge risk that had been taken by the financing company, entrusting the still rather unknown director that Jackson then was, with the enormous amounts of money necessary for creating the three films at once, it is not surprising that the Theater Versions of them are all treated like ‘action’ films to some extent, in order to insure the massive success they each had, both with the audience at large and the critics.

But to keep the films within the length and duration of 3 hours maximum that could still be endured and accepted by the ordinary public actually sitting in theaters, Peter Jackson had to cut out all the deeper scenes.. but at least he was then free to reinsert them when the time came for putting out the Extended Edition, ‘the Director’s Cut’, for each of them in turn…

This is why these Extended Editions are the ones I always recommend most warmly to the people who don’t know yet those films: for me the Extended Editions are the ones in which can be found more excellent renditions of some of the deepest and most beautiful scenes straight from the books, or closely inspired by them so as to deliver the same meaning and deep inner impact as the original scenes did in the books.

So the first thing I would have advised Christopher if I were his friend, would have been “Do watch rather the Extended Editions, dear Christopher…”

The second thing I would also have told him as a friend would have been how terribly disappointing for me it had been to discover, buried in ‘Morgoth’s Ring’, one volume of his own archival research of his father’s writings (the six volumes he published as the separate collection he called ‘HOME’), an extremely important, late-written text that his father had especially asked him to add to ‘The Silmarillion’ as its very first Appendix.

The text’s title was ‘Athrabeth Finrod a Andreth’: a beautiful additional story between Elves and mortal Men during the First Age, told as a Dialogue between Finrod, a most well-known Elf-Prince, elder brother to Galadriel, and the young and beautiful Wise Woman, Andreth, that his younger brother Aegnor secretly loves.

The contents, intensity and sheer beauty of this Dialogue, the ‘Athrabeth’, and the extremely illuminating and hopeful conclusions reached and expressed by Finrod towards the end of his passionate discussion with Andreth, if presented in ‘The Silmarillion’ as its First Appendix as wished by Tolkien himself, would have indeed effectively altered for the better the whole perspective the readers would have had of the entire sequence of stories from the First Age that compose ‘The Silmarillion’. And further down in Time, this text would have revealed the whole meaning and true usefulness in the Divine Plan, of all those apparently doomed marriages between Elves and Men that kept happening again between Elves and Men in he second and Third Age.

Well, I am immensely grateful to Christopher Tolkien that he did manage, as promised to his father before his death, to do what his father had not been able to do in his old age: to finally publish a rich and impressive ‘Silmarillion’, composed of texts by his father but selected and finalised by himself. But on the other hand I am as immensely regretful that he chose not to include that wonderful ‘Athrabeth’ that was so important to add as the First Appendix!…

In recent years, when Christopher Tolkien was asked by some publishers to select one story out of the ‘Silmarillion’ for separate publication, I had great hopes that this time he would seize this new chance and select the ‘Athrabeth’, fulfilling then at last his father’s wish. But instead he chose ‘The Children of Hurin’, a beautiful indeed but extremely sad story in which Fate keeps hitting at those Children of Hurin as mercilessly as it would at the heroes of some ancient Greek Tragedy of old.

So, alas, again the ‘Athrabeth’ remained helplessly and uselessly buried in the little known volumes of HOME… where it still lies to the date of this writing of mine.

As a specialist also myself of those ancient mythologies Tolkien and that third son of his knew so well, I have been very happy to see that the father, JRRT, somehow distanced himself gradually from the terribly tragic overall mood and outlook on life that most of those ancient epic stories, such as the ‘Kalevala’, were steeply reflecting, inflicting them as well, I felt, on their readers.

Well, luckily, besides his acute sense of the tragic, JRRT happened to have also a solid sense of humour, and an even more solid faith in God as well as in the Virgin Mary (he, like his late mother, was a staunch Catholic), that totally prevented him from ever falling entirely into any abyss of despair.

Moreover, one of his greatest heroes in his own Mythology, Aragorn son of Arathorn, embodied in the Third Age and the War of the Ring the sense of Hope still burning in the hearts of Mortal Men, just as he was their living Hope too: the actual Heir of Isildur, last living direct descendant of the ancient lineage of High Kings of Numenor when still allied to the Elves in the Blessed Days of their shared reverence for Eru, the Supreme God and Source of All.

To Galadriel, the Lady of Light, the most powerful High Elf still present in Middle-earth and protecting it with her inner power, this is still the beautiful future she sees in Aragorn, to be one day crowned the High King, if he proves himself worthy of that destiny, and of the name she whispers softly to him, her previous sternness melting into the tenderness of a mother, the name that would then be given to him: “Elessar …”

galadriel1

It is precisely this whole atmosphere of Hope, of Faith in the Divine Grace and Help, that for me makes the whole difference between Tolkien’s Mythology and all the older ones. It is exactly the reason why I have included it in my own life of conscious spiritual evolution the moment I discovered it in 1975. It was so wonderfully echoing the Faith and Hope that are now born of the new Evolutive Step that is, thanks to the decisive inner Action accomplished by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, starting to take place upon this earth he called ‘Middle-earth’…

But at this point, although the second Professor, the son, Christopher, is no doubt immensely learned too, I am not sure whether he really perceived in his father’s writings that deep difference with other epics, so clearly. And if he perceived it indeed, whether he cherished it as much as I personally do. If he did, how could he ever make those choices he made, that I just described above, and that are still so wrong in my eyes?

I find them wrong, not because I am not aware of “the beauty and seriousness of the work”, but on the contrary because I happen to be so acutely aware and appreciative of the even deeper, the actually divine “beauty and seriousness” (but that shouldn’t mean intrinsic sadness) “of the work”…

 

 

 

 

 

 

22nd September: Happy Birthday again, dear Bilbo & Frodo Baggins!

Bilbo Baggins, now well-known the world-over, “was born in the year of 2890”, and his much younger cousin Frodo “in the year of 2968 in the Third Age (1290 and 1368 respectively in ShireReckoning.)”, as you’ll find in Wikipedia for easy reference.

Yes, they both  had the same birthday: today itself, September 22nd!

I will not let that cherished ‘Hobbit Day’, as it is now called in many places of the world, pass without celebrating it, the Hobbit way: good  and abundant cheer, and only short and merry speeches!

This is exactly the way it was celebrated in the first live acting film, by Peter Jackson, adapting to the big screen in 2001 Tolkien’s major opus: ‘The Lord of the Rings’. Here, down below, is one moment when the two Baggins being celebrated together were side by side in the midst of the collective hobbity merriment taking place at their shared residence, ‘Bag’s End’, and of course under the nearby Party Tree of Hobbiton, their happy village in the green rolling Hills of their beloved Shire, hiding in a little cozy corner of the vast and dangerous Middle-earth:

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“The films, too, are amazing in their own right. I went to see the first one, one Xmas- and at the end of the film the packed house was completely, utterly silent, stunned into a disbelief that what they had witnessed wasn’t some kind of documentary about a real world! I have never witnessed anything like it before or since.The audience almost crept away in shock. It was most extraordinary.”

The above comment isn’t by me; it is actually by a Tolkien fan (thank you, ‘Honda Oxford’!…) who wrote it this morning on a site where an article had been written for today’s occasion. But when I happened to read it there, that comment was expressing so exactly, to the word, what I myself too experienced on my first time watching that first LOTR film, I decided to include it here just as if it were my own comment. The music also, by Howard Shore, was absolutely stunning: just perfect, be it for the Hobbits, the Elves, the Dwarves, the Humans or the Orcs!… What a totally amazing feeling of truly entering that Middle-earth I had known until then only through the (already so magnificent) books by Tolkien! Watching that first film has been an unbelievable awe, moment after moment, which is still etched in my memory with the power of special wonderfulness…

Why is all this so important to me, even though I am a ‘spiritual person’ practicing most seriously for forty-six years already the Integral Yoga created for Conscious Evolution by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother?… I will tell you that in another post, hopefully soon… As for today, it is dedicated to my beloved inner friends Bilbo and Frodo of the Shire!

Post Scriptum: I just watched again that great Birthday Party in ‘The fellowship of the Ring’. In case you’d like also to give yourself that treat, here is the link, and it has two parts that follow each other automatically if you let it happen…! Wonderful fun!!!

Celebrating the Birthday of ‘The Hobbit’

Happy 80th Birthday, Bilbo Baggins!

J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ was published on September 21, 1937. Eighty years later, we celebrate the beloved classic with a look at why Bilbo Baggins still reigns supreme.
J.R.R. Tolkien in 1955

J.R.R. Tolkien, author of ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, photographed in 1955.

(Photo: Haywood Magee/Getty Images)

Eighty years ago, in September of 1937, when the evil of fascism was poisoning Europe, and the world teetered on the brink of the most devastating war in history, a new hero was born. He was 50 years old, about three feet tall, with a beer belly, slightly pointed ears, and feet so hairy they needed to be brushed. His name was Bilbo Baggins and he was a pipe-weed-smoking, food-obsessed homebody, of a breed of creature no one had ever heard of before: a hobbit. Bilbo and his woolly toes stepped out of The Hobbit or, There and Back Again, a fantasy novel about Bilbo’s adventures with a wizard named Gandalf and a pack of dwarves on a quest to steal back their gold from an evil dragon. It is hailed as one of the finest, most beloved classics of English children’s literature.

Bilbo’s creator, J.R.R. (John Ronald Reuel) Tolkien, was a professor at the University of Oxford in England who was fascinated by invented languages, Norse myths and epic legends of dragons, dwarves and swashbuckling warriors like the Anglo Saxon prince, Beowulf. Tolkien would perform the classic poem about Beowulf aloud in his English Lit class, shouting, “Hwæt!” (Old English for “Yo!”) to begin the poem (and wake up his students.) Yet when Tolkien created his own hero, it wasn’t a monster-slaying prince or a hammer-wielding Norse god. Bilbo emerged from a single phrase formed in Tolkien’s mind while grading boring student exams: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” Ten words that blossomed into his first novel, The Hobbit or, There and Back Again, published in September of 1937, followed in 1955 by The Lord of the Rings trilogy. All together the books sold hundreds of millions of copies the world over, launched a multi-billion dollar Oscar-winning movie franchise, and spawned a legion of fans devoted to this very day to arguing the fine points of “Tolkien legendarium”—the exquisite details of the imaginary worlds and languages in his books.

 

J  R  R Tolkien

And there is much more to learn and enjoy reading (and watching!) in this great article, the origin of which is at this address:

https://www.biography.com/news/the-hobbit-jrr-tolkien-facts

With all my thanks and appreciation to Carolyn Jacobs, the author…

Bloguer… et les risques émotionnels de le faire

Eh bien, en plus de la raison principale dont j’ai parlé dans mon post précédent (dans la traduction française,  https://labofevolution.wordpress.com/2017/08/18/trois-mois-de-silence-et-de-yoga-integral/  ) , en fait, il y a eu aussi une raison plus négative pour laquelle j’ai cessé de bloguer pendant longtemps. Je voudrais mentionner cette raison spécifique, car elle m’a en fait aidée à constater en moi une vulnérabilité encore trop intense aux commentaires que certains visiteurs peuvent écrire, qui peuvent ne pas être totalement positifs, voire même être totalement négatifs …!

Cela arrive très rarement, mais au fil des ans, depuis 2011, lorsque j’ai commencé ce blog, chaque fois que cela est arrivé, cela m’a causé un choc émotionnel majeur.

Pourquoi devrait-il en être ainsi? …

La première et évidente raison est que, par tempérament, je suis extrêmement émotive pour commencer, c’est sûr. Mais même cela ne suffirait pas à expliquer le genre de douleur au coeur que je ressens lorsque je découvre un commentaire tout à fait négatif sur l’un de mes messages: c’est comme si une longue aiguille soudainement perçait mon cœur.

En écrivant ceci, le souvenir me vient d’un commentaire de J.R.R.Tolkien, dans une lettre, sur la façon dont il se sentait après avoir fini d’écrire “Le Seigneur des Anneaux” – ce qui pour lui n’était pas simplement une fiction ou une «fantasy», mais l’expression même de son monde intérieur le plus secret depuis sa petite enfance et sa jeunesse … c’est pourquoi il avait choisi la Philologie et son étude des épopées anciennes mondiales comme sa manière officielle et respectable de continuer, en tant qu’adulte dans sa carrière extérieure, ce qui avait de toutes façons été sa passion intérieure intense et irrésistible pour aussi longtemps qu’il pouvait se le rappeller.

Non encore publié, mais écrit bien avant, lors de son expérience directe de la Première Guerre mondiale, son «Silmarillion» chéri était déjà là, avec la «Terre du Milieu» autour de lui comme le fond vaste, riche et inspiré auquel tous ses écrits ultérieurs appartenait inévitablement aussi.

«Le Hobbit», le premier à être publié, avait été un énorme succès. Déjà, lors du démarrage de cette supposée suite toute simple du «Hobbit» qui devenait rapidement «Le Seigneur des Anneaux», dans sa lettre il avait prévenu son éditeur que tout cela était, en quelque sorte, en pleine expansion; et il avait essayé d’expliquer les raisons intérieures pour lesquelles cela se produisait; Alors il avait ajouté:
«Eh bien, j’ai parlé assez longtemps de mes propres folies. Ce qui importe est de terminer la chose telle qu’elle est conçue et ensuite de la laisser être jugée. Mais pardonnez-moi! C’est ma vie qui est écrite là, mon sang, tel qu’il est, de quelque qualité que ce soit; et je ne peux rien y changer. ‘(Lettre 109)

Plus tard, alors qu’il se préparait à en voir la sortie comme livre publié que tout le monde pourrait lire, il a encore écrit, répondant cette fois à un ami:
«Je crains que ce ne soit que vraisemblable: ce que vous dites au sujet des critiques et du public. Je redoute la publication, car il sera impossible de ne pas se soucier de ce qui sera dit. J’ai exposé mon coeur pour qu’on lui tire dessus. ‘(Lettre 142)

Est-il besoin de dire que c’est comme ça que je me sens aussi ?…
Ce dont je parle, ici sur ce blog, ce n’est pas seulement de la «littérature», ce ne sont pas non plus des sujets extérieurs, superficiels, cherchant seulement à intéreser ou si possible impressionner les visiteurs potentiels; même lorsque ce sont des citations «simplement» d’autres êtres plus grands que moi, ce sont ces citations qui m’ont été les plus chères en tant que mes propres lignes de vie depuis des décennies, et qui le sont encore.
Et dans beaucoup de mes publications, les contenus plus personnels sont encore plus révélateurs de mon moi profond, avec ses qualités et ses dons spécifiques, oui, mais aussi ses nombreuses difficultés – ouvrant
alors la porte évidemment au sarcasme, si un lecteur est enclin à cela .
Il n’y a pas d’autre façon, je crois, que d’accepter une telle vulnérabilité, si je veux atteindre l’objectif que ce blog a pris dès le début, ainsi que je l’ai
expliqué, et qu’il a toujours: voir ma DÉCLARATION D’INTENTION ( https://labofevolution.wordpress.com/about/declaration-dintention/ )


La raison originelle pour laquelle j’ai commencé ce blog?
Cela a simplement été en réponse à la gentille
suggestion d’une autre Blogueuse que je suivais à ce moment-là. Elle s’intéressa à un aspect spécifique de ma propre recherche en cours, que je lui avais expliqué dans quelques commentaires, et elle m’a conseillé de commencer un blog sur ce sujet si fascinant.
Je n’étais pas sûre du tout d’en être capable, mais avec sa constante aide en ligne pour faire face aux obstacles techniques pour moi redoutables, à ma grande surprise je me suis bientôt
retrouvée en effet en train d’écrire un blog!… En premier sur ce sujet … et ensuite, mûe de l’intérieur, avec bonheur et ouvertement, sur d’autres sujets aussi: les plus importants en réalité à mes yeux …
Et c’est alors que ma nouvelle amie s’est soudainement transformée en l’opposé de l’amie qu’elle avait été pour moi jusque-là: elle n’avait aucune idée de la grandeur réelle de Sri Aurobindo et de la Mère, et semblait soupçonner toute spiritualité de toute façon, si bien qu’elle ne comprenait ni ne partageait nullement
mon respect et ma gratitude pour eux, loin de là.
En dépit de mes meilleurs efforts pour lui expliquer sur quelles raisons profondes et convaincantes mon dévouement pour eux était basé, à la fin il est devenu évident qu’il n’y avait aucun moyen de la faire changer d’avis à leur propos, alors nos routes se sont séparées. Mais cela a été une grande douleur pour moi que de découvrir cette différence majeure – et pour elle infranchissable – entre nous, par la brusque et brutale hostilité qu’elle a exprimée envers moi dès que Sri Aurobindo et la Mère ont été mentionnés sur mon Blog.

Néanmoins, je lui suis toujours reconnaissante pour l’aide si généreuse donnée au début, et pour avoir été l’instrument du Divin afin de me faire entrer dans le monde merveilleux du Blogging! Cet incident douloureux dès le début avec cette Blogueuse beaucoup plus expérimentée a été un précieux avertissement de ce qui pouvait très bien se reproduire à tout moment avec quelqu’un d’autre parmi les «visiteurs» ou les «adeptes» réguliers que mon blog a commencé à attirer – par ses propres mérites, et non en raison d’une stratégie consciente de ma part.

Ensuite, pour une longue période, ma vie en tant que Blogueuse (à temps partiel) a été plutôt heureuse … sauf que je me suis souvent interrogée avec une certaine perplexité sur toutes ces personnes qui lisaient bien mon blog (je pouvais voir les chiffres des Statistiques, et les nouveaux “adeptes” qui continuaient à s’ajouter eux aussi) mais étaient apparemment tous désapprobateurs de la procédure du «Liking» au contraire si populaire sur la plupart des autres blogs! … Je soupçonnais un peu que le Divin faisait en sorte que cela se passe de cette façon afin de ne pas encourager ma tendance à peut-être rechercher un peu trop l’approbation et l’appréciation des autres concernant mon travail … mais tout de même… !!!

Et il y a quelques mois, c’est arrivé à nouveau: deux personnes, l’une après l’autre, ont exprimé un commentaire très négatif sur un de mes articles.

J’ai été prise par surprise, et anéantie.

C’était comme si des gens en lesquels j’avais cru en quelque sorte comme en des amis me frappaient soudain au visage ou dans l’estomac. Cela faisait mal.

À tel point que, après quelques semaines, j’ai remarqué que je ne pouvais plus rien  écrire à nouveau. Sur quoi que ce soit.

Alors j’ai raisonné avec moi-même: allais-je vraiment arrêter mon Blog juste à cause de deux personnes qui m’avaient fait mal par leurs commentaires?! Ce serait tout à fait ridicule!…

Mais essayez donc de raisonner avec votre être émotionnel blessé … Rien n’y fait: il se blottit tout juste là-bas, dans un coin plus sombre de votre espace intérieur, léchant ses blessures en silence et refusant absolument de revenir, quelque cajolerie que vous puissiez essayer pour le faire sortir de là.

Donc, j’ai simplement attendu … Enfin, j’ai constaté que cela payait d’être patient avec soi-même, avec n’importe quelle partie en soi-même qui passe, pour quelque raison que ce soit, par un moment difficile: un beau matin, mon être émotionnel était de retour, souriant timidement … Prêt à nouveau à participer à ma vie de Blogueuse! … “Bienvenue, mon être émotionnel!”, lui dis-je chaleureusement en souriant; “Je suis contente que tu sois là: sans toi, ce que j’écris n’atteint pas les autres personnes comme cela les atteint normalement, et mes dernières publications ont seulement porté sur des sujets qui n’étaient pas vraiment personnels – c’est très bien , mais ce n’est pas – ou pas seulement – ce que ce Blog est vraiment destiné à être … Viens, re-travaillons ensemble à partir de maintenant!… “

Alors nous voilà de nouveau ensemble, bien sûr aussi avec mon être mental … et n’oublions pas toutes ces cellules partout dans mon être physique qui, gaiement, font ce qu’il faut pour que ce que je veux écrire apparaîsse ici sur ce blog et que tous les visiteurs puissent le lire… mais maintenant, je suis consciente que je dois être particulièrement prudente avec mon être émotif, afin d’éviter de le blesser une fois de plus …

De son côté, j’ai l’impression qu’il fait de son mieux pour apprendre à ne pas être si extrêmement sensible: il peut sentir que chez quelqu’un qui pratique le Yoga Intégral, un tel progrès devient à un certain point indispensable … Donc, il s’entraine, courageusement! … 

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(Ne laissez pas vos émotions vous distraire de ce qui doit être fait. Contrôlez vos émotions, ou ce sera vos émotions qui vous contrôleront.)

Mais d’autre part, j’espère aussi que toutes les personnes qui visitent mon Blog se rendront compte que je n’essaie pas d’imposer quoi que ce soit à personne: je ne fais que partager ce que je ressens qui peut être utile à d’autres aussi, de ma propre expérience d’évolution consciente à travers le Yoga Intégral. Évidemment, tout ce que je partage ne correspond pas forcément aux besoins intérieurs de tout le monde, car cela serait totalement impossible, chacun d’entre nous étant unique. Par conséquent, ceux qui sentent qu’un certain article n’est pas pour eux pourraient peut-être le laisser tranquille et revenir uniquement pour le prochain? … qu’ils aimeront peut-être tellement qu’ils le marqueront même, qui sait, d’un “Like”?! …  😀

Amusant, de me trouver de façon inattendue en train de rire de tout cela à la fin de ce post … Et, me croirez-vous?! Mon être émotionnel est maintenant lui aussi en train de rire avec moi à la perspective de ces “Likes” imaginés!!!

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