The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien


I am cheating here. I have not actually read the book. I just watched the first installment of Hollywood’s interpretation of the book. However I could easily connect to some of the standard themes from Lord of the Rings. Both books have similar morals to teach – how the most primitive creatures can play as crucial a role, as the mighty ones (thou shall not be arrogant), how the wise are tolerant and the evil ones are not, how the management style of the evil tyrant is to keep their subordinates scared and demoralized (sounds familiar?). However many scenes also made me wonder about the reasons for the works of Tolkien being considered sacred texts by the hippies.

One can make a case for Tolkien’s works being escapist’s fantasy. So did the hippies like his works because they were escapists, and Tolkien helped them escape? Did they relate to those hobbits puffing away their dope merrily? Maybe it helped the hippies argue in favour of dope. There is surely nothing malicious in the way the hobbits get doped. They are just puffing away in their idyllic hobbit holes. Why should anyone complain?

Well for one you can say the hobbits (read hippies) are being selfish. They are not creating any value for the world or society (or the shire folks) while they are getting doped. Sure it is making them happy, but when you are doing something that only makes you happy, you cannot expect society to respect that behaviour.

Still there are lot of activities that are not respected but not frowned upon either. So why were the hippies made to feel guilty for their gay abandon. Perhaps there is cowardice in escapism. They say one indulges in escapism when he cannot face the reality. But is a hippy really more out of touch from reality than a religious person (if you think god exists, than you can replace religious with atheist). Most people escape reality by creating some sort of optimistic bubble in their head. Only a really courageous person can be true to his own self. So why is everyone so harsh on the hippies?

Doping is not necessarily escapism, but an easier way to get high and rise from the banalities of life. Either you take the tough road full of dangers and uncertainties which will also give you many highs (like Frodo or Bilbo); or you puff away which is something any hobbit can do. Nobody is interested in reading a book about a hobbit smoking weed, and in the long run you would want your life story to read like a real adventure.

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