Today’s Daily Post Prompt asks bloggers about what book, movie, or song they would recommend to a friendly visiting extraterrestrial that explains what humans are all about. While I hesitate to speak on behalf of humanity, heaven knows what might happen should I choose incorrectly, I’ll have a go.
My recommendation: Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings
While this seems an odd choice, allow me to explain myself. To understand human nature, we must explore humanity in all it’s fullness. In the Lord of the Rings we have characters that iconify different types of people. There’s the reluctant and noble Aragorn, the arrogant Boromir, the megalomaniac Saruman, the humble and naïve Frodo, the manipulating Wormtongue, and the wise Wizard Gandalf to name a few.
Their quest is one that humanity has fought since time began, the epic battle of good verses evil. Frodo and his fellowship are charged with destroying the One Ring, a tool of great power that is linked to the dark lord Sauron. In their efforts to do so they encounter resistance that takes many forms. Armies march against them, their own turn upon them, friends die, and they fall into states of hopelessness, fear, and reluctance. Against the odds they continue time after time to sacrifice and sweat and bleed toward their goal.
The writing contains passages that encapsulate vistas of both breathtaking beauty, and astounding ugliness. If anyone has managed to expound on the majesty of an impressive view, it’s Tolkien. He also manages to capture our love/hate relationship with technology and industrialization.
People might argue that a fantasy novel can’t be used to explain humanity, but they haven’t considered that it is human nature to dream and imagine impossible realities. Leaving out this fact would be to forget the most vital part of what it means to be human, which is to exercise our creative powers to make both the new and the wonderful.