Joseph Pearce has a very perceptive and interesting article here on Tolkien and Trees. He talks about Ents and Tolkien’s love of language.
It’s all about roots and time and tradition and the need to be well rooted…
This deep understanding of language is analogous to an understanding of history. If we want to understand where we are now and where we are going, we have to understand where we have been. And what is true of history in the broader sense is equally true of the history of words. In order to really speak well, write well, or think clearly, we need to use words correctly. We need to know linguistic tradition. We need to be linguistic traditionalists. We have to be in touch with the language, its roots, and its heritage. We need to become linguistic tree-huggers! We do not necessarily have to speak very quickly; we have to speak well. We have to speak accurately, with a precision of meaning.
Joseph insists that to have such a thing as culture we must be rooted in the great tradition. Without it we are a wisp of a wish of a cloud–blown about by every wind of doctrine.
The philosophy of the tree is the belief that reality is part of a continuum of human knowledge. It is the living tree of Western culture, Western civilization, rooted in the reason of Homer, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle; in the faith of the old covenant of the Jews, transformed into new and infinitely richer life by the Word made Flesh, who makes sense of all of history; flowering in the fusion of faith and reason that we see in Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas; and the goodness, truth, and beauty of Dante Alighieri and William Shakespeare; right through to the modern flourishing of western civilization as something rooted and continuous, a continuum, that we find in the works of Tolkien.
Against this is the philosophy of the cloud: the rootlessness, the formlessness of relativism, which changes shape all the time, blown around by the winds of fashion and ultimately lacking substance. This formless philosophy was ridiculed in Hamlet’s lampooning of the relativist, Polonius, in his likening of a cloud to a series of imaginary creatures.
Read the whole article here at Imaginative Conservative.
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