I have decided to start what you may call a “segment” on the blog section of my website. This will consist of a commentary on a couple of ideas, people, books, or films that I have explored in the past month. Not only will it help me digest what I have been interacting with, but I hope it will also make you more conscious and determining in what you consume, and how you view it.
This September, 2019, I read the Hobbit again, for the sixth time. A truly wonderful story. What stuck out to me this time round was the immense influence that the environment holds on the characters. Not only in the way they are introduced, but also further in the adventure itself. Let me look at three quick examples; Bilbo, Thorin, and Beorn.
Bilbo is the epitome of the “good life.” Plenty of food, friends, pipe-weed, and a luxurious hole with an expansive garden. What more could Bilbo want in life? And there is were we see the true Baggins side emerge; a creature of habit, the habit being comfort. We see this from the very start of the book, where Bilbo gets irritated when Gandalf disrupts him in his garden. A simple unexpected conversation already startled him. That is clearly the influence of the Shire and the upbringing he had inside it. In Thorin, this idea is also clearly visible. See how the nobility of his position in Erebor and his princely life has influenced him. We see this attitude take hold from the moment he enters Bag End; commanding silence and authority from his fellow dwarves, and leading the after-supper conversation. His fussiness in choices is also a sign of this royal upbringing, and the sombre luxuries of Erebor. And finally, Beorn. A wild an unkempt man, if you could call him that, living an isolated and harsh life on the edge of Mirkwood forest. This is certainly not a denunciation of his character, but you can see this upbringing in his mannerisms perfectly, especially when Gandalf tells the dwarves to only introduce themselves two at a time so as to not unsettle him. His sharp manner of speech is also a sign of this.
As well as these marvelous characters, we also see it in the Last Homely Home, Rivendell. See the effect this place has on the characters who inhabit it. “All of them, the ponies as well, grew refreshed and strong in a few days there. Their clothes were mended as well as their bruises, their tempers and their hopes.” I think this further goes to show the effects that environments can have on us, and how they heavily they can influence and shape us. Now, this isn’t to say that we should “submit” to our environments, or accept them as who we are, but it is something we need to be aware of and take into consideration as to how far they go to define us.
I also listened to some interviews and debates from the Jewish conservative and political commentator Ben Shapiro. He seems to quite popular on the internet, and his debates against people are also widely spread. My first impression was that he is incredibly well-spoken. He is quick to respond to arguments or questions, and is very articulate while doing so. Although I still have not watched much of his own productions on “The Daily Wire,” I found that I agreed with what he had to say on things like the current religious climate and how to interpret it, as well as some of his views on theism and the issues concerning it. Here is a conversation he had with Jordan Peterson and David Rubin, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PagNM_oxssE. I respect him, and the spirit in which he is conducting himself and his perspective throughout the media.
I now realize I’ve written a fair bit for this segment, but I don’t actually have too many other things to comment on. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope you gleaned something from it.