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Why I'm Binging 'The Lord of the Rings'

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  • Tip Bones

When I was completing my undergraduate degree, I took a whole course in the writings of Tolkien. Obviously, I'm a big fan of his work, and there is no work of Tolkien's better known than 'The Lord of the Rings.' Since I'm confined to the house by choice with my family, we've been watching one movie in the series every night. And actually, under the circumstances this is a great choice in this dark time. There is an oft-quoted conversation between Frodo, the hobbit who carries the Ring of Power to it's destruction, and Gandalf, the wizard who guides and protects Frodo and his party, that I feel bears repeating:

Frodo: "I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened."

Gandalf: "So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

What Gandalf means is that wishing the circumstances of your time were different doesn't change them. All you can do, he advises, is work under the conditions you're given. I think that's very good advice to keep us all motivated in this crisis: it's difficult for many social, economic, and personal reasons. Nobody is immune to the effect on society. But what we can do is use the time we have as best we can-- whatever that means to us personally.