Feb 12, 2024, 2:10 PM

The Invisible Ring: Where is it?

The Invisible Ring: Where is it?

TEHRAN, Feb. 12 (MNA) – Scientists have directed their gaze towards the invisible ring of high-energy ions trapped in Saturn’s colossal magnetic field and have set it apart from similar rings that manifest around Earth.

Saturn possesses an invisible ring. Scientists have directed their keenest gaze towards the invisible ring of high-energy ions trapped in Saturn’s colossal magnetic field and have ascertained its asymmetrical and dynamic attributes, setting it apart from similar rings that manifest around Earth.

Within Plato’s “Republic” and its various dialogues, a remarkably captivating and relevant subject emerges in the Phaedrus dialogue. The subject in question is introduced by Glaucon, the elder brother of Plato, during his conversation with Socrates, and it revolves around the Gigas (Gollum) and the story of its life. This theme forms the very foundation and primary discourse in “The Lord of the Rings” film. Amidst all the philosophical, ethical, and human discussions, a charming, enigmatic character named Gollum takes center stage—a Gigas who captures the attention of Plato’s Phaedrus. Once a humble farmer, Gollum discovers a ring by the riverside in the company of his friend. Consumed by the desire to possess the ring, he betrays and kills his friend, gradually falling under the sway of the ring’s invisible and enigmatic power.

Like a recluse, he retreats to the mountains, isolating himself from the world of men. Over time, he becomes a servant and in thrall to the ring, entwined in the grand saga of good versus evil—a saga that might predate the creation and redemption of humanity. Meanwhile, realms inhabited by Elves, Hobbits, wizards, and others thrive in eternal merriment, while a formidable group rises to claim dominion over the ring and the eternal empire.

The virtuous faction acknowledges that no benevolence or secure refuge awaits them within the clutches of the ring. Thus, they endeavor to safeguard the ring from falling into the hands of malevolence and strive to destroy it atop the fiery mountain.

Here, we are not delving into the main and fundamental themes of The Lord of the Rings, but rather focusing solely on the resemblances between Plato’s Ring of Gyges and the character of Gollum. In Plato’s dialogue, Phaedrus discusses justice and ethics, concepts that bear striking relevance to the character of Gollum.

Firstly, the Ring, a symbol and emblem, serves as a means to convey significant concepts over time. In ancient Attic Greek pronunciation, the Ring (Halkhah) grants its possessor the power to become invisible at will. From Gollum’s perspective, justice is executed by the weak, while injustice is the domain of the strong. He argues that if you were to give the Ring to both a just man and an unjust man, both would behave in the same manner. Plato, on the other hand, argues that the Ring of Gyges is the only hindrance preventing a just person from behaving unjustly, as, when concealed from sight, all individuals are prone to committing injustice. The Ring symbolizes the human thirst for power, wealth, grandeur, and all things desired by humanity—a humanity that becomes enslaved by its own creations and constructs.

The Second Theme: When Gollum first obtains the Ring, we witness his destiny taking a timeless path. Transformed and disfigured by the influence of the Ring, he seeks refuge in the mountains, becoming weak, emaciated, and forlorn. However, when confronted with the Ringbearer, such as Frodo or any other individual, he becomes forceful, potent, and tenacious.
Of the 32 human teeth he once possessed, only 9 remain, symbolizing his metamorphosis and serving as a representation of the insatiable greed that has ensnared him in this wretchedness and misery amidst the wars of virtue, vice, and existential nihilism. From the primordial to the modern and postmodern era, only those individuals driven by avarice, excess, and egocentrism, much like Gollum and the Ringwraiths, relentlessly pursue the Ring, with nothing of importance except their own desires.
If we contemplate the concept of “Instilment” or “Rasakh” in Eastern philosophy, which is one of the four states of transformation (Rapture (Khalsah), Transmogrification (Tanasokh), distortion (Masakh), and Instilment (Rasakh)) concerning the transmutation of the soul in relation to the self and the body.

The Gollum, after undergoing the state of deformation caused by the Ring, was entangled in a matter that even Frodo’s character, along with the formidable Aragorn, Gandalf, and Sam, could hardly save him from sinking into complete ruin and deformation. Gollum was destined to traverse the path of transformation, where his soul and body metamorphosed from human to a multifaceted creature.

For Plato, perhaps the life of Gollum in caves and amidst the mountains serves as an allusion to the concept of the primordial man in his allegory of the Cave (the Cave’s metaphor). This Platonic allegory of metamorphosis can be seen in juxtaposition or vice versa with Gollum’s way of life.

A significant underlying point of the Ringwraith in Plato’s discourse is its reference to injustice and justice—an eternal paradox. The example of gollum and the Ring serves to illustrate that if an individual remains hidden from the eyes of society and others, they will lose their orientation towards justice and righteousness. Another aspect highlighted is the intrinsic nature of injustice. From Socrates’ perspective, the inherent nature of injustice may be perceived as something good, but when it affects the people and society, it is deemed reprehensible.

An inherent contradiction/paradox that exists for the attainment of justice is that if we wish to be as content, joyous, and just as the Hobbits of the Shire, we must break free from the feudal life of ruling over others and not succumb to the yoke of oppression by becoming oppressors ourselves. They bind this concept with the essence of justice.

Conceptually, in the Platonic sense, we understand that this justice is the long path of the Hobbits’ journey, serving as a symbol and emblem in their quest to destroy the Ring, representing the hidden symbol of human corruption and its eradication, along with the destruction of the oppressor. Embracing this paradox within the discourse of Frodo allows us to forge a connection between the notions of justice, oppression, and the Ring, as a central symbol of The Lord of the Rings. However, can the destruction of the Ring and a relative and liberating justice lead us to the true utopia of Plato’s allegory? It seems the answer should be negative!

Throughout history, humanity has never reached and will never reach Plato’s Utopia, for it is a fictional city that does not align with the paradoxical nature of humanity, which is full of both good and evil. Nietzsche was absolutely right in his assertion that the more we extend the realm of subjectivity, solely indulging in the Apollonian aspect of life, humanity becomes increasingly closer to its own nihilism. In contrast, humanity requires a sufficient and harmonious blend of its Apollonian and Dionysian aspects, a sort of pendulum-like existence between the Apollonian and Dionysian personalities. We must strike a balance between good and evil; otherwise, if Apollo symbolizes just and ideal life, we will fall into the the historical abyss of nihilism.

By Behzad Asadi, Filmmaker and Ph.D Philosophy of Art, North-Tehran University

With assistance from Pantea Farsijani

News ID 211940


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