Because understanding great literature is better than trying to read and understand (yet) another business book, Leadership Lessons From The Great Books leverages insights from the GREAT BOOKS of the Western canon to explain, dissect, and analyze leadership best practices for the post-modern leader.
Hello. My name is Jesan Sorrells, and this is the leadership
lessons from the great book's podcast. Episode
number 75. It's our 75th birthday
in chronological order if you're following a longer scoring at
home, which if you are scoring at home, god bless you. With our
book today, The inspiration
for movies, play, short films, and even a deep inspiration
for other books within its own genre. This
book stands as the opener to our month long exploration
of what science fiction and fantasy literature can teach us about leadership
in life. The hobbit or
there and back again by jrrtolkien.
And, we're gonna take this book on today with our returning guest
co host from, episode number 57
where we covered the tragedy of Othello. And
where we talked about all things William Shakespeare, Ryan
J Stout. Say hello, Ryan. Hello,
everyone. Hello, Ryan. Thank you for having me
on as usual. It is gonna be a great day, and
we're going to, we're gonna take a little bit of a journey here.
And we're going to, Well, we're going to start off by
going to an unexpected party.
Featuring long bottle leaf. By the
way, I'll have the long bottle of leaf. He's smoking.
Chapter 1 from the Hobbit, by JRR,
Tolken, an unexpected party.
In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit, not a nasty dirty wet
hole filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry
bear sandy hole with nothing in it sit down on or to
eat. It was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort.
And at a perfectly round door, like a port hole painted green, with a shiny
yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened onto
a tube shaped all like a tunnel, a very comfortable tunnel without
smoke with paneled walls, floors, tiled, and carpeted, provided with polished
chairs and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats. The hobbit was
fond of visitors. The tunnel wound on and on going
fairly, but not quite straight into the side of the hill. The hill,
as all the people from many miles round called it, and many little round doors
opened out of it first on one side and then on the on another. No
going upstairs for the hobbit, bedroom, cellars, pantries, lots
of these, wardrobes. He had whole rooms devoted to clothes.
Kitchen's dining rooms all were on the same floor and, indeed, on the same passage.
The best rooms were all on the left hand side going in. For these, we're
the only ones to have windows, deep set round windows looking over his garden
and meadows beyond sloping down to the river.
This Hobbit was a very well-to-do Hobbit, and his name was Baggins.
The Bagginses had lived in the neighborhood of the hill for time out of mind,
and people considered them very respectable, not only because most of them were
rich, but because they also never had any adventures or did
anything unexpected. You could tell what a Baggins would say
on any question without the bother of asking him.
This is a story of how Baggins had an adventure and found himself doing and
saying things altogether unexpected. He may have lost the neighbor's respect,
but he gained Well, he will see whether he gained
anything in the end.
The mother of our particular hobbit, what is a hobbit? I suppose Hobbits
need some description nowadays since they have become rare and shy of the big people
as they call us. They are or were a little people about half our height
and smaller than the bearded dwarves. Hobbits have no beards. There's little or
no magic about them except the ordinary everyday sort, which helps them to disappear
quietly and quickly when large stupid folk like you and me come blundering
along. Making a noise like elephants, which they could hear a mile off.
They are inclined to be fat in the stomach. They dress in bright colors, chiefly
green and yellow suaron no shoes because their feet grow now actually leathery
and thick, warm brown hair, like the stuff on their heads, which is curly,
have long clever brown frickers, good natured faces, and laugh, deep, fruity laugh.
Especially after dinner, which they have twice a day when they can get
it. Now you know enough to go on with. As I was
saying, the mother of this Hobbit of Bilbo Bag that is was the fabulous
Belladonna took, 1 of the 3 remarkable daughters of the old took, head
of the hobbits who lived across the water, a small river that ran at the
foot of the hill. It was often said in other families that long
ago, one of the took ancestors must have taken a ferry wife.
That was, of course, absurd, but certainly, there was still something not entirely a hobbit
like about them, and once in a while, members of the took clan would go
and have adventures. They discreetly disappeared, and the family hushed it
up. But the fact remained that the tooks were not as respectable as the
Bagginses, although they were undoubtedly richer.
Not that Bella Donna took ever had any adventures after she became Missus Bungo
Baggins. Bungo, that was Bill's father, built the most luxurious hobbit
hole for her, and partly with her money. That was to be found either
under the hill or over the hill or across the water,
and there they remained to the end of their days. Still it is
probable that Bilbo, her only son, although he looked and behaved exactly like a
second edition of his solid and comfortable father, something a bit queer in his
makeup from the took side, something that only waited for a chance to come
out. The chance never arrived until Bill Boggins was
grown up being about fifty years old or so and living in the beautiful
hobbit hole built by his father, which I have just described for you until he
had, in fact, apparently settled down imovably.
By some curious chance, one morning long ago, in the quiet of the world, when
there was less noise and more green, And the harvests were still numerous and
prosperous, and Bilbo Baggins was standing at his door after breakfast, smoking in
a normal, long, wooden pipe reached nearly down to his woolly
toes neatly brushed. Gandalf came by. Gandalf.
If you had heard only a quarter of what I heard about him, and I've
only heard very little of all there is to hear. You would prepared you would
be prepared for any sort of remarkable tale. Tails and adventures sprouted up
all over the place wherever he went in most extraordinary fashion,
he had not been down that way under the hill for ages and
ages, not since his friend, the old took, died.
In fact, and the hobbits had almost forgotten what he looked
like. He had been away over the hill. And across
the water, on business of his own since they were
all small, Hobbit Boys, and Hobbit
John Ronald Real Tolkien. Born January 18
92 and died September 1973, only a couple of days before this
recording. Was the author of works of fiction
that would come to be regarded in time as high fantasy and would
serve to stand as the platinum standard of fantasy
writing in the 20th century and well into, and I believe will stand for the
remainder of the 21st
century. After serving against his
will in the trenches of World War 1, most notably at the Battle of
Psalm, He moved into a professorship from 1925
to 1945 as the Rawlinson and Bosworth professor of
Anglo Saxon at a fellow of Pembroke College, both
at the University of Oxford. A J R R Tolken was
an Oxford man. Which means he was a
British man, with class. Now
Tolkien was a close friend of the Christian apologist
who used to be an atheist, CS Lewis, and was a
co member of the informal literary discussion group, the inklings, Now CS
Lewis wrote the abolition of man, which we cover on episode number
61 of this podcast. I would encourage you to go back and listen to that
episode. Lewis took a little bit of a different view of
his experiences in World War 1 than Tolkien, but much
like Tommy Lee Jones said, in no country for world men, And I've mentioned this
before on the podcast. Tolkien and Lewis both saw
the same things, and they both came to similar conclusions.
About human nature, about warfare,
and about the transcendent. Now tolkien's
academic career and his literary production were deeply influenced by his
studies in language and philology. Curiously enough similar
to Nisha. He specialized in English Biology at the
University of Ox at Oxford University. Sorry. And in 1915,
he graduated with old Norse as his special subject. And
so language, location, geography, all come together in
not only the hobbit, but also subsequent books, which we will cover this month on
the podcast, the the trilogy that
you all know and love,
the lord of the rings. Now according to the
New York Times obituary, following his death in 1973,
quote, Tolkien never expected his stories to become popular, but by sheer accident, a book
called The Hobbit, which he had written some
years before for his own children came in 1936 to
the attention of Susan Dagnall, an employee of the London publishing firm,
Georgia Allen and Unwind. Who persuaded Tolkien to submit it for
publication. And after that, it was off to the
races. The Hobbit, of course, gave birth
to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He gave birth to the Silmarillion, and
he gave birth to the entire Well, the entire
thing that has folded out over the course
of the 20th century. Matter of fact, many
times in the 19 sixties, 19 seventies, and even into the 19 eighties in
the in the subterranean
train stations in the subways of New York City, you
would see the, the graffiti that would say Frodo
I can't think of anybody better to talk to about the nature
of habits and the nature of heroism and
the nature of getting out on the road than the man who even
discussed with us on the road. Then,
then then my good friend Ryan Stoutts. So, Ryan, kinda
introduced Mister Bill Bo Baggins there
to the, to the listeners. And,
of course, we live, you know, 20 years after
Lord of the Rings trilogy films came out from New Line Cinema.
Books that quite frankly up to that point, I thought were unfilmable.
I literally thought they could not be turned into cinema.
Or if they were going to be turned into cinema, they would only work
as animation. Right? Like, the it couldn't work any other way. And Peter Jackson, of
course, proved me wrong, and the country of New Zealand proved me wrong. Alright.
Well, so I wanna ask this question
to start. Have we just read too much of talking already?
It's amazing, as we're doing that awesome introduction
and, and that excellent.
Oh, kind of a lot of things are are popping in. And,
you know, I took it. It's funny. I started to take
notes yesterday, and it, like, turns into an essay. And I was like, I
don't know if this is,
so it got me looking into the abolition
of that. The the, pogs as
a norm. Mhmm. And
the learner is incapable of learning more.
And so talking
writes about the mean in fact, your description of Bilbo right
out of the gate Tolkien's description of bubble right out of the gate
sets the premise for the whole thing. It does. And he
is so He has a growth mindset.
He needs to be sort of convinced and jarred a little bit, but once he
is, he's kind of all in. There's some reticence along the way, and, of
course, because of, you know, things are difficult or whatever. But, you
know, I think that is, I
think people see that, and they can relate to that. I know
that Tolkien was very specific in saying that he is like, it's not
allegorical. And it
doesn't need to be because the characters are rich. I looked
at Tolkien people may scoff at this, but I
mean, in sort of in what I don't wanna say what they represent, but
the value that they potentially have in one's life okay, kind
of like the Bible. It's there. It's reliable. The stories
are great, and there's a lot of wisdom that could be sort
of gained out of it. And it's it's timeless
when it comes to that. And I don't think I don't think people are
similarly to the Bible, which I think they've sold a few copies of that book
similar to, like, it's you can pick it up and almost flip through and get
to any scene, and you're gonna have some information that has the
ability to sort of enhance your life on sublevel because
there is there is some there is there's it's so relatable.
So that's and I also kind of went into
well, it's also supporting that is we're kind of in, that's 19th
20th century literature. We're kind of in,
contemporary. We're in the contemporary state or or contemporary
period of of of literature, but there's there's also this, like, post
modern contemporary literature. And if you look at, like, dangeliskis,
like House of Leeds, where there's 3 storylines, and the book has actually
textured. And, it and and also books like,
like, Maggie Nelson's Blueettes,
which is a book of,
kind of like, segmented paragraphs that kind of that loosely tell a story,
but it's more to kind of like evoke a feeling and and it taken more
than what's actually written on the page. It's it's kind of like a full experience.
Those books, that style, that format, it there's they're kind of
like mirroring the social schizophrenia that has come out
of It's kind of like media consumption. And the and
and I started to think about how authors from the 19th 20th
century literature and modern day offers, authors, for
the most part, have lived very, very, very different lifestyles.
And mainly, the main point is so the main,
difference is that most, if not
all, contemporary American authors
have, a a black oblast
machine in their pocket that knows everything forever.
And when you have that kind of, like, power or
or or access to information. I think I
think that and I I don't say the socialist schizophrenia as
a a a disparaging term. I think that's
how humans have had to evolve to to deal with the the
amount of information. I I think it's if we didn't evolve if we don't evolve
with it, then it will, like, you know, other things will consume
us. So I think it's grounding, and I don't
think and I just he there he sold talking to
sold enough books to give one person who lives in America and
Europe one book. 600 over 600,000,000.
So okay. A couple of things there. So
We read. We don't I'm aware of contemporary
authors. I wouldn't be doing my job if I were
Right? But on this podcast, we tend to read
authors from 17th 18th 19th 20th
century. We tend to we tend to stay in that sort of That's sort of
range. Because I think there's some value in
the long slog of the enlightenment. And I
don't necessarily mean from a philosophical perspective, although there is
much value to be gained there. I believe
that the almost 400 year slog
of the enlightenment has given, no, has
provided treasures that we have not fully mined. Because
we look at it as past say. We view it as past say because
of that that rectangular obelisk or that square
obelisk in some case in our pockets.
And so when we talk about them
living different lives, I I absolutely agree.
So how do we take? And this is one of the struggles of this podcast.
This is one of the massive struggles. How do we take? Not necessarily just
the lessons because we've started with the lessons because I think there are lessons, and
I and we'll talk about leadership in a minute here. There are lessons that we
can take from these books. That apply because human nature fundamentally, I
don't believe shifts regardless of the technology. We're
still going to have you talked about the Bible. We're still gonna have greed
and lust and, and murder and
talking bad about people. Like, they were doing that back at biblical times.
They were doing that in 17th century. They're doing it right now.
On my block somewhere, and they're gonna be doing it 300 years from now. Like,
those things don't change. Right? That's that's the core parts of human nature. The arrogance
of our time is because we have that in our pocket, we think that
we've somehow changed human nature. And the tragedy
is we haven't. So so the struggle of this podcast is to is to
sort of pull those lessons about how to deal with that, how to navigate that,
how do you even conceptualize it for people who maybe
you're looking for something more than what they can get from just the Internet. The
Hobbit speaks to, actually, tolkien, all tolkien's writing, but typically the hop it
speaks to some of that. Right?
Yeah. I mean,
Tolkien said he didn't expect this to get published. Right.
Was his intention? His intention was to entertain his children.
Was, like, a very pure.
And and and I don't know, sort of, like, it seems like a very
careful and love field. And I I don't
and and and, yeah, you're right. It's it's a fine line. How do you tease
out and how do you say modern, sort of intentions,
don't have, don't mirror that.
In in the sense of Restate restate the question.
So the hobbit, when we
look at the hobbit, there are universal thieves inside of the hobbit.
And we'll explore a few of them today. But the biggest one, and and it
is one that we will talk about probably extensively, is this idea of
getting out of your comfort zone and going on adventure, but then
being able to face the dragon of the adventure, and in some cases, the
literal dragon guarding the gold. And, and being
able to take that back and being able to reintegrate that into your
life. This is almost Joseph Campbell you
know, you know, story of myth here with a
1000 faces kind of stuff. Right? Carl Youngy and, you
know, the the Youngy and Journey of Personality. Right?
How do we reach into the hobbit and pull that pull
that message out? How do we pull those themes out for folks?
Who quite frankly are probably going to want it
going to want it in a tweet, you know, or in a TikTok
yeah. It's it's a lot of yeah. Okay. I see the
conundrum. Yeah. It's how yeah. You because it's a fun it's a
lot out of it. It's like fundamental, how do you fundamentally
shift how people receive information or can even
receive information. Some people probably don't even know they can read. And I don't mean
that in a in a negative way. It's just It probably
doesn't. It's it's, you know, it it
probably a lot of people reading really doesn't even enter their daily activities.
Right. And so there's this there's this sort of, like, inherent
or, like you said, it's a 1 or 2 or a tweet.
I think, like, for rereading this or reading
this and how little things, like, when he's
talking about, like, what the
the cram is. Oh, yeah. Mhmm. Well,
it's there are these
Wreath, there's a sense or 2 peppered throughout the entire
book that make it feel conversational.
Mhmm. And he even says it what when when I laugh at you, he's like,
he he kinda breaks the 4th wall.
See if it, you know, how it turns out for him. And there's this playfulness.
And so, I mean, how to
I mean, it's it's it's isn't it the it's kind of like why all art
is suffering? Or, I mean, the theater is suffering.
Or, you know, it it's because we've we've,
as a society, devalued
anything that's not transactional.
Or or or or has utility? Yeah. Or has
immediate utility. Yeah. And so it's I mean,
how do you, you know, it's 600,000,000 coffees
over almost, you know, like, 70 years.
It's like that that Do you is that
enough evidence, but no one really cares about evidence anymore?
Right. There's so so it can have a tremendous I
was talking with a friend last night, like, that's so getting a
job in a post COVID world has been, bananas. Bring
into bars. Hey. Here's my resume, which and people were like, yeah. I don't
care. You know, it's this this the I'm gonna take
the the I'm gonna hire the the hot girl. People being
like, telling you that. Like, I don't care
about your accomplishments. I'm gonna hire the hot girl. And you're
like, Okay. Cool. So how do you what am I gonna
have a sit down and and and and comb through?
Tones of information with this person who just made this decision and said, just you
know what I mean? Like, it's this it's a psych it it's a it's like
a psychic block, and you're telling it's it's like a just just another
to, like, another sort of evidence of the spiritual
malnourishment that we all seem to be sort of, like, engaged in
whether you know, and if that's the the the
the the onslaught of information of what's
keeping that barrier from, from interest if if people's is sort of like grabbing on
to it is is
How do you brace the
castle? Yeah. Well, I'm reminded
of a line in the gunslinger,
by Stephen King, where the wizard Martin is finally
captured or not captured, but Martin Broadcloth is finally, run down by the gunslinger.
And, of course, the gunslinger by Stephen King, the the book opens up with that
great first line. The man in black raced across the desert, and,
the gunslinger followed him. And like that, and then you're sort of it's, again, it's
sort of call out to to the hobbit. Right? You have this layered sentence where
there's a whole bunch of different things happening, and then you sort of go. But
anyway, so it's why a little alert. The gunslinger captures the the
man in black. Yeah. The wizard. Anyway, and
they're holding palaver, right, over, over a
fire. And, Martin Broadcloth, the
wizard, tells Roland DuShane, the gunslinger,
about the history of mid world, right, all the things that happened before the world,
quote, unquote, moved on. And one of the things that he
tells, Roland, who's a
He's not an intellectually smart man, but he is solid
and persistent, which is what you need in order to go to the tower.
You need that. You don't need to be particularly intelligent, but you need to be
persistent. Right? And it gives him information,
and he tells him that At one point in time before the world moved on,
men were even able to make babies with frozen man's sperm, and were even able
to go to the moon. And that for all of their information,
they had very little true knowledge or very little true wisdom.
And, of course, Rolences, that's nonsense. Like,
babies from frozen man's firm. That's ridiculous.
And the point is, and I I that that that piece of it right there
sticks with me when I think about what you said, and I think it's very
cogent. So I keep revisiting it. I think about what you said about,
you know, the internet and giving us information and all this, but very little genuine
knowledge, much less wisdom. And that's the much larger thing I think that
we chase here is how do you where do you why do
you capture wisdom? And I think the wisdom is buried in the books.
But you have to be solid like the gunslinger
to go through it. And I don't I think we've I think we're trying to
weave that out of people because you don't Well,
I think there are forces in this world that don't want that, but I also
think that that sort of stubborn
nose to the grindstone persistence. To your point, isn't really
valued when I could just go hire the hot girl.
There's there's a guitarist. He actually lived down in the Austin area. So he's
next to -- I don't believe he's at a bank called a polythea.
Okay. He is, he's he is an alien on the
guitar. And he talks about, like, in interviews, like, how did you
develop your technique as well? It
all started off because I just wanted to flex on the guitar
with all the cool stuff I could do. So the
problem with that is you don't really learn anything because
you're just trying to impress. He said, so I may have
been able to do these technically advanced,
movements, but in application, it
didn't really have much because there was no theory to apply
the skills. And so he said, once he realized
this, he got nervous because he he's like, I
have a ton of work to do. I have to backfill all of this
information because I know it's not gonna be given to me.
And I feel like is is that you're they're because of the immediacy and because
the idea of working for something
is it has become a more foreign
I don't know, concept or, especially in, like,
application. And I think that's what the job the wide job
markets are so volatile right now. It's like, yeah, you work with a
job and you get there and you're like, and it's not what
you know, there's just there was a breakdown the entire time.
So -- I think I
think also I think, I think that COVID
I'm sorry. The the unnamed virus of
unknown origin. It it came from nowhere and did nothing. I I I think that
that entire situation that we wound up in,
exacerbated some things that were already lying underneath the surface of American
society. And society of the West overall.
But I do fundamentally believe that a literature
slash philosophy slash leadership slash management podcast can actually help save
Western Civilization. I I do believe
that. I do. Here's the here's the crazy thing,
man. But I've all, like, I've always loved, like, your your the path.
You're on and that you've taken to get there. It's it's it's been fantastic
and, like, like, awesome to watch.
And I am experiencing
like, the breakdown in communication and
what it actually means to be a leader on a daily
basis and it's a it's a grind, man.
It's a grind because there is this sort of, like,
commitment to excellence and also the truth on some
level. So if
no one is playing in that field,
everyone sort of, like, has, like, 200 Peterson talks
about, you know, the investment and outcome. Mhmm. You know, it's like if
I do x, y will happen. And so if anything
is so it's it's a it's it's it's a 0
sum game because you're you're just you're fight you're jockeying for Bishop's
position. Yeah. Anyone and everyone run over
anyone and everyone to get to the next thing. Yeah.
Let's, let's move forward a bit. A
lot of different things happen. Gonna move forward a little bit. I'm gonna jump around
here in, in the Hobbit. I would encourage you to pick up
a copy of it, pick up your copy of it. From, from
your local bookstore add to that 600,000,000
sold. It will be worth your time. Read it with your kids.
By the way, particularly if your kids, don't like reading, just
read a couple of pages at a time. It'll take you a year to read
through the book. Go on an adventure. It'll be it'll be amazing.
So we're going to we're going to skip forward over quite a few things, quite
a few pieces of the adventure, including the
meeting of the dwarves, which, there are
dwarves. There's about 13 of them. Led by,
led by a fellow named Suaron O'kenShield. And, we'll go
into the dwarves in a little bit. But I wanna talk about what
the doors are pursuing because there's a link
here between what Ryan has talked about in the
acquisition of knowledge and when and what I've mentioned also as
well. But in the acquisition of knowledge without really having
to earn it, and it's in this pursuit of
gold or or in some cases to to paraphrase or the good, the
bad, and the ugly, the the ecstasy
of, of gold, which by the way, my six year old
son loves that song, by the way. Chapter 12. So we're gonna go to chapter
information. And we're going to we're going to pick up
with, Well, we're gonna pick up with some
things happening to, happening to Bill Bo here.
For a long time, the dwarves stood in the dark before the door and debated
until the last Suaron spoke. Now is the
time for our esteemed Mister Baggins, who has proved himself a good companion on our
long road, a hobbit full of courage and resource far exceeding his
size. And if I may so, so possessed of good luck far exceeding the
usual, allow months. Now is the time for him to perform the service for which
he was included in our company. Now is the time for him to earn
his reward? You are familiar with Thorin's
style on important occasion, so I would not give you any more of it, though
he went on a good deal longer than this. It certainly was an important
occasion, but Bilbo felt impatient By now, he was quite familiar with
Suaron too, and he knew what he was driving at. If you mean you think
it is my job to go into the secret passage first or Thorin Thrin's son,
Oaken shield, May your beard grow ever longer, he said, Crossley. Say so
Ed once it have done. I might refuse. I've got you out of 2
messes already, which are hardly in the original bargain. So that I am, I
think, already owed some reward, but third time pays for all is my father used
to say, and somehow I don't think I shall refuse. Perhaps I have begun to
trust my luck more than I used to in the old days. He meant last
spring before he left his own house, but it seems centuries ago. But, anyway, I
think I will go and have a peep and and get it over. Now who's
coming with me? He did not expect a course of
volunteers, so he was not disappointed. Philly and Kelly looked
comfortable and stood on one leg, but the others made no pretense of
offering. Except old Balen, the lookout man who was rather fond
of the hobbit, He said he would come inside at least in perhaps a bit
of the way to really to call for help if necessary.
The most that can be said for door for the doors is this. They intended
to pay Bill bill really handsomely for his services. They had brought him to do
a nasty job for them, and they did not mind the poor little fellow doing
it if he would. But they would have done they would have all done their
best to get him out of trouble if he got into it as they did
in the case of the trolls at the beginning of their adventures they had any
particular reason for being grateful to him. There it is.
Dwarves are not heroes. But calculating folk
with a great idea of the value of money. Some are tricky and
treacherous and pretty bad lots. Some are not. But are decent enough people
like foreign in company if you don't expect too
much. Stars were coming out behind him at
a pale sky bard with black when the Hobbit crept through the enchanted door and
stole into the mountain. It was far easier going than he expected. This was no
goblin entrance or rough woodl cave. It was a passage made by dwarves
at the height of their wealth and skill. Straight as a ruler, smooth floored, and
smooth sided going with a gentle never varying sloped to some distant end in
the blackness below. After a while, Bayland bay to
Bilbo, good luck. It stopped where he could still see the faint outline of the
door. And by a trick of the echoes of the tunnel, hear the rustle of
whispering voices of the others just outside, then the hobbit slipped on his
ring, pause for just a moment. That's gonna be a
problem later. Just take note.
Back to the book. And worn by the echoes to take more than a
hobbit's care to make no sound, he crept noiselessly down, down, down into the dark.
He was trembling with fear, but his little face was set and grim.
Already, he was a very different hobbit from the one that had run out without
a pocket handkerchief from Bag End long ago. He had not had a
pocket handkerchief for ages. He loosed his dagger in sheaf tightened his
belt and went on. Now you are in for it
at last verbal bag, and he said to himself, you went and put your foot
right in at that night of the party. Now you've got to pull it out
and pay for it. Beer me what a fool I was in Am. It said
the least took a shit part of him. I have absolutely no use for Suaron
Guardian treasures, and the whole lot could stay here forever. I could only wake up
and find this beasley tunnel was my suaron haul at home. He did
not wake up, of course, but still went on and on till all sign of
the door behind him at away, he was altogether alone.
Soon, he thought it was beginning to feel warm. Is that a kind of
glow I seem to see coming right ahead down there? He thought
It was as he went forward, it grew
and grew till there was no doubt about it. It was a red light steadily
getting redder and redder Also, it was now undoubtedly hot in the
tunnel. Wists of vapor floated up and passed him, and he began to sweat.
A sound too began to throb in his ears as sort of bubbling like the
noise of a large pot galloping on the fire mixed with a rumble is
of a gigantic tomcat purring. This grew to the
unmistakable gurgling noise with some vast animal snoring in sleep down
there in the red glow in front of him. It
was at this point that Bill Bowstopped. Going on from there was the
bravest thing he ever did. The tremendous things that happened afterward were
as nothing compared to it. You fought the real battle in the tunnel
alone before he ever saw the vast danger that lay in weight.
At any rate, after a short halt, Goannie did, and you can picture him coming
up to the end of the tunnel and opening a much the same size and
shape as the door above. Through it keeps the hobbits a little head before
him lies the great bottommost cellar or dungeon hall of the ancient dwarves right at
the mountain's route It is almost dark so that its vastness can
only be dimly guessed, but rising from the near side of the
rocky floor There is a great glow. The glow
So we're gonna talk extensively about dragons today, and I'll leave
smog there. Snoring atop his heap of gold
for just a moment while I bring this up. So
in the first twelve chapters of the Hobbit,
you get a sense because it's world building. The Tolkien is really
interested in. Of the motivations of dwarves,
elves, Hobbits, and wizards. Now let's sort of
break these down a little bit for those of you who are uninitiated or
who watched the overextended Peter Jackson films,
by the way, Gilenmador Torro should have directed the Hobbit It should
have been a 2 parter, and that would have been it. But new line
cinema, much like smog, was greedy for gold.
Kind of a problem. Over
extended. Oh, yeah. 3 movies was too much.
What are we doing? What is it?
Oh my god. Not not only that. Yeah. Anyway.
There's barely enough there for 2 movies, much less 3.
Anyhow, and everybody knew it. Even Peter Jackson knew it. Okay. That's my
review of the movies. So Tolkien
gave each race in, in in middle
earth, their own personality. Right? And so he talks
a little bit about dwarves. We were greedy and brave, but also cowardly.
Dwarves share a lot in common with humans. By the way, humans aren't extensively
mentioned in, in the hobbit. Suffice
it to say, Gandalf does stand in for the humans, but
Gandalf is a wizard. And that's that's a different thing.
Do we know how old Gamoff is? So, that's an excellent
question. The Simone hints that he's
close to 800 or 900 years old. But, you
know, there's going to be tolkienites out there. That are going to yell
at me because I got the number wrong. But it's somewhere. It's somewhere
in there. And and there's also some indication or some
intubation that Gandalf merely just appeared in the world,
along with the other 2 wizards. So
there's also some information there that Gandalf might be ageless, and it
might not matter. In which case, he is from a total he's a totally
different thing, but Oh, okay.
Then, of course, you got the Hobbits who are fat and suaron, and and
they live in a They live in a they live in a they live in
a positive room, rather than a negative one, and I wanna talk a
little bit more about that. Then you've got the elves and,
the hobbits visit the elves or they or they at least stop, at
the they stop at the, at the l's,
their their their their village, I guess, is the best term to
use. Although it's more like their civilization in chapter 3, a short
Like kingdom? Pingdong civilization.
Place where they're all hanging out. I gotta admit. I don't have much respect
for the elves in the Hobbit. I'm more in lord of the rings, but I
don't have a whole lot of respect for the And and the reason why is
because the elves are your classic sort of.
They're the Eloy from time machine that don't really
wanna know where their food comes from.
Which makes them arrogant and kind of useless. And I think this was sort of
a point that Tolkien was making as well. They're
intelligent, they're ethereal, and they float above it all.
Always above it all. Never daring to get down into
the muck. But there are legends about when they did.
And again, in the Semorilian, in the first battles
against suaron, in, you know, all the way to the
edges of Mordor. Some of this is more fleshed out in Lord of the rings.
Again, the hobbit is sort of an introduction to this.
And then, of course, you have wizards, you know, which are we already mentioned the
end of. Wizards are unique because
they're the ones that get people motivated and get people moving.
And they don't really care why people are moving. They would like
motivations to be pure. But they'll take any motivations that they can
get because their job is to sort of, I think, be the
be the catalyst in the world. Be the way
for the world to move on. Now some wizards do this well, like
Gandalf, other wizards, like the one that, was the head
of the Eagles and the Birds, Catmer, that wizard's name right now. Again, the Tolkenites
will all get to me on this one. But,
some of them just sort of totally abandoned abandoned what it is that they're doing
is sort of fall into fall into the natural world. And then you have
other wizards, as we will see in the two towers
here coming up in a couple of weeks. You have other wizards who throw in
their lot with with with well, with evil forces,
but they probably shouldn't throw in
with By the way, wizards always show
up when the apocalypse is on the way or when Armageddon is about to
occur. And here's the thing. Armageddon is
always on the horizon in ways
both large and small.
But in the Hobbit, everyone's after the gold. Everyone's after the
treasure. That's why I opened with this
Constaccio De Laurel. Right? It's it's it's this idea
that gold is going to be the driver, and the dwarves really only care
about wealth. They dig deeply
and greedily, and their talents and skills are all oriented
towards protecting their wealth and putting it in while putting
it in caves, sort of like the benedictine option with some
Christians. And so
So my question is sort of to get us started on
this intellectual jog. Array. And
how can leaders be avoid being seduced by
I did wanna
so how to I I I
was working a job and a man came in with his
daughter. His daughter was probably like eleven years old, seventy nine,
and I was kind of unsure what was going on because
he was standing away from her, but allowing her to walk through
the restaurant and walk to the counter. And order her
food and pay using a card and -- Mhmm. -- us watch the
father observe, and she kinda, like, turned and looked And and
it was this, like, really pure, beautiful moment where a father, a
wizard, was teaching his, you know -- Yeah.
Popped it. Like, yeah. You can you can, like, you can, like, you know,
he's like, that -- You can do it. -- a beautiful thing. And so
that's, like, to kind of like piggyback on, how
to integrate. It's like people who see opportunities to do so and and
carry that on for whoever is in need of that experience in that
situation. His daughter is, I think, a wonderful
continuation of how to get people sort of engaged in the 3 d
actual world. And and and continuation. But
how to avoid being seduced by wealth is a lot
of, I think, education and
Understood. Let me let's see here. I have
outlined in detail all forms of wealth, not in financial or
acquisition of forms and the in inherent
interconnectivity of all system. When one system
is off, it
has not always a clear effect on the outcome.
So years ago, my AA sponsor, Bob, Bob
G. He, he got his pilot's license. He's find recreational
pilot's license, and he was talking about his being in school and his training.
And that his instructor said, you know, when a plane crashes,
it's not like one thing. And he proceeded to give me,
like, all of the kind of instruments and and and
and and devices and mechanics of the
plane, that weren't major ones, like, you
know, uh-uh, some a wing falls off. Mhmm.
He said, but even, like, with that, it's partial wing. He said, If one
thing, goes wrong, you can navigate around it. If
2 things goes wrong, you can navigate around it. It's like, but you start seeing,
like, alright, the landing gear is not coming down. You only have one propeller
and all your all your instruments have gone off.
You're probably So it's it's it's
that, that wealth is not solely limited
to kind of like a tangible, their spiritual wealth.
There's this, like, familiar connectivity social and how
strong I think these things are and these bonds are
because at some point, you know, as we we talked about prior to it.
So you get to in your forties and fifties and you realize, like,
wow, the strength of not, you know, some realize younger
than than older, but realizing the quality of my life is congruent to the
strength of my interpersonal relationships and that,
you know, paying attention to those things that I may have
not had thought were that important because they weren't the cool thing or the
sexy thing of a hip thing or any of those things,
is it has an incredible value, immeasurable
value just because of how much small things
when compiled and sort of working towards that, like, a a balanced
life. Those things have of great value. And it's like this, you know,
the the the sum of the the parts are way greater than the individual ingredients.
And I think I think wealth and the misunderstanding of wealth
just as, kind of a state or a
concept is, is, is, like, a lot of things, there's a lot of there's
misunderstanding about. So this is the idea.
There was a comic book writer and artist way back in the day. A guy
named Dave Sim, wrote a great comic book called Sarabas,
the r Aardvark should go pick it up. The first
independent comic that had a beginning, a middle at an end. Loved it for that
Dave Sim in the 19 nineties was involved in a whole lot of controversies in
comic books because he was a big independent comic books publishing
guy. He just was. And one of the things that he said was,
you know, if you go and work for Marvel Comics at the time, which was
still an independent suaron company before they got acquired by the mouse house,
or if you go work for DC comics, which, you know, DC has been won
by Warner Brothers since time out of mine. Okay. If you're gonna go work for
DC or Marvel, just know that you're exchanging
the gold of your talent for the paper money of a few shekels. You're you're
putting on golden handcuffs in essence. And so the idea that you're talking
about is this idea of gold versus paper money. In our
day, we think information
and technology is gold, but I'm beginning to wonder
in my time if that really isn't paper money. We've all just kind
of been fooled by fiat currency, you know, money
that isn't backed by anything. And
We all get to decide what the value of it is at any given moment
and values fluctuate, for instance, the
value of the The value of the gold that's in your resume is worth
more than the hotness that is paper money of that girl.
Because that's gonna fluctuate with the market. Sorry, ma'am, but it's gonna
fluctuate with the market, but your resume is gold. It's not gonna
fluctuate with the market. The dwarves in the
hobbit, they're not chasing paper money. They're chasing gold.
But in their conception of the world, old is
paper money. They don't look at the work that
they've done. They don't look at the efforts that they've put in. They look at
past glory and this acquisition is being the thing. And
it's it's almost and and J R Tolkien was was a
Christian, It's almost idolatry. Right? It's it's
almost the idol. And you mentioned Jordan Peterson, you know, he
often says that he's not wrong. What the biblical corpus will tell you, what the
biblical corpus of those stories will tell you is that if you worship anything that's
outside of the transcendent, it will judge you and you will always be found wanting.
Period full stop. You just will.
In our time, how do How do we
distinguish between what's really valuable? What's that? You talked about things
that are really valuable. That stuff that's gold, right, from the paper
money. And and then second question,
how do we convince people who aren't convinced? Because when I was in my
twenties, Heck, when you were in your twenties, I mean, like, we all thought we
were chasing gold, but we weren't. We were chasing fiat currency. You were chasing
paper money. Yeah. Or so or some
something, you know, very similarly,
represent, like, something of equal Yeah. You proceed
at the time. Right.
I know. Big question. And part of it, maybe it's just age. Maybe
you just have to go through a whole series of steps and a whole series
of things. You have to have an adventure. You have to leave your hobbit hole.
Go out and have an adventure, get knocked around a little bit
to recognize that difference. I think the the first thing I
when I wrote down first thing I wrote down was patience.
It's a lot like, I don't know who said this, but it's like, you
know, the the the genius is not in the IP. Yeah. The
genius is in the application. Everyone has had
a genius idea. Yeah. Everyone has been
able to Elon Musk for is a great example.
That is, you know, the the high. That's the top of
the mountain. Yeah. It was applying your ideas and them to
be successful. How do
you, you know, how
in this world do you does one
not be affected by,
the precedent that is set as far as how the kind of,
like, society has outlined that you kind
of, like, should be. It's this really weird
Like Was it we do you think the struggle has
gotten harder? I maybe or maybe
the hardness has moved into a different spot. Maybe it was always hard.
I think there are a lot of I think it
is easier to acquire money and
sustain oneself and live autonomously.
And the resources have, even compared to 20
years ago, have kind of like exploded on across the
country be just because of, like, that slave labor thing.
It's like everything is know, when when I was important, this is 10 years ago,
when I was in Portland, I was leaving a restaurant. I saw a couple homeless
kids and they're like, Hey, do you have any money? And I could see they
were kind of on the street. And I was maybe you can have my leftover
food, and they were like, no. We need to pay our cell phone bill. And
it was like, what? Your pan
handling for cell phone money?
Like, I don't do you know what I mean? Like, when you get to that
that disconnect or is that a pro like, I don't is that a
problem? And so, like, as all this as as
society's unfolding and it's just become kind of more confusing because the, like,
the technology is advancing the brain. Technology is like this. The
brain is like this. So it's -- Right. Pulling away in the process of
information. So as somebody who is,
like, out there trying to, like, make it and do it, and then he
continuously see sort of, like, or experience things like this. And it's like, I
am, like, working my hand off
and, and it's a, kind of, persistent struggle. And then, so it's
how do you not compare? It's, it's, it's like, it's in our face is,
and I don't know, shutting down social media limiting your social
media exposure. Give yourself an hour a day. There's there's all
kinds of, like, if you look at it, like, You you wanna look at it
as addiction or if you wanna look at it as working out or exercising particular
muscles, I started working,
at this hemp shop and, like, I learned about Cbd and
how the person described it is, like, Well, don't think of, like, you're gonna take
cbd and you're gonna feel a particular way. Mhmm. It's a cbd.
And if you're having, stomach aches,
a bowel issues, body, fibromyalgia, inflammation.
It's gonna start taking things away. And so I think
somewhere along the way. A lot of, you know, people have confused.
I've mistaken. I don't know it's for a better term, but, like, the darkness for
the light. And so, don't think those things are
really measure out to, like, like, accuracy
or an accurate portrayal. Actually, what's what's occurring. So it's,
Eric, yeah, Eric, Eric Wiseide talks about
And once you get to, like, the the tertiary level of, like,
convolution -- Mhmm. -- your ability to process the
information, determine reality becomes increasingly more difficult
because you were 3 parts removed away from the actual
event. And, I mean, we I actually haven't
seen But from what I understand, inception is kinda like that's the deal.
So so I mean, that hard is to sort of follow that. So what
is what, like, as someone who is, so if you're the person to to not
So be an example. I
mean, you're you're, yeah, Well, I think you hit on something
also with patience. Right? So years ago, Simon Sydney made this
You can have anything you want right now.
Just just ordering it up without consequence, right, So you
could have you can have food. If you wanna order food, you can get it
on DoorDash. If you want, movies, you can
get them on Amazon can get them on Netflix. I mean, my kids and
I watched, Super Mario Brothers movie the
other day. Right? Like, my six year old loved that. Right?
And and and, you know, I ordered it and boom, there it was. Right? If
to have a book. Right? You you get it next day
delivery. You don't have to wait. Like, if I wanted to order, I didn't this,
but if I wanted to order the hotbed, I can have it within 24 hours.
Right? Not a problem.
So there's this there's this gap between
even even even in more intimate relationships, right, or
intimate relations. If I go on Tinder, which I wouldn't, but I've
heard rumors that, you know, I swipe left. I swipe right. Somebody
shows up to my house. Boom. Like, I'm a stud. I don't have to, like,
work through the whole, like, asking somebody something and then having them
reject me, then I'm gonna deal with the rejection. I have to do the 30,
40, 50 times. I don't have to work that muscle because, like,
boom. Now I I do know there's a moving path these
dating apps because that's worked all kinds of different interpersonal relationships. Sometimes
we're gonna get into all but our technology hasn't really served our
biology and biology will will out at the end of the day. It just it
just will. Okay. So
we have all these technologies, and you mentioned this several times that can give us
immediacy, right, that can close the gap between our desires and our wants,
and the material filling of those with the exception
of life satisfaction and meaning.
Alright. No app for that. Those are slow,
painful, patient driven processes,
and we've confused our materialistic needs
for meaning. And I don't
know how we return back to a time
when those two things were definitively separate?
And we knew the differences between those two things.
And maybe we don't return back to it. Maybe it's a moving forward
where those materialistic things are are less
emphasized and more of the
the things that Tolkien or Lewis, right,
would would engage around or Shakespeare or whoever, which were more of
the spiritual and emotional things become take take more press it. Now that sounds
wuji wuji and, like, age of Aquarius, and I'm not that guy.
I think there's very hard headed practical ways you can do
that. But I think it's a really
hard sell. And it's interesting that you opened up with this idea that,
you know, the genius is in the application, not the idea. The
application is where the growth is. The application is where the patience
is. And there's very few people
who apparently at least what I'm seeing, very few people who wanna do the application.
They just want the idea. It's like lottery winners. They're probably way
more susceptible to kind of like, going
broke than somebody who grew up in,
single, a lower class house
with a single parent and worked their time parts off
-- Right. -- to to get everything that is and and
so When you understand the
cost -- Mhmm. -- and what it took
to get there, it's you know, you hold on for
your life. And -- But if we don't understand
the cost so this is my this is my concern. If we don't understand the
cost, if too many of us don't understand then
and Tolkien wrote all of his did all of his writing coming out of
World War 1? And we kind of underestimate the power of
that war, like how much that war shaped
everything down until now. I mean, I've said this on the podcast before, but, like,
our 20 year excursion into Iraq and Afghanistan, the
United States went on at just like extricated ourselves from.
That was all clean up from the Ottoman empire. Well,
it's funny. So you're saying that we're, like, we're still there's there's the aftermath
of the great depression is still prevalent today. And
not until you're saying this and outline these things, do you see that there's you
know, why? Because we see the cycles, we see it, and it's brought up all
the time, and you see has influence and continues to
influence financial decisions. And
yeah. Well, I just I just saw the movie, and we just did a review
of it. Me and my other co host, Tom Libby, we just did an, an
review of, the movie Oppenheimer as a bonus
to our conversation around the fall of the house of usher. Right? And,
I'm not gonna tell. I mean, you can go back and listen to the listen
to the review, listen to the bonus episode. I'm not gonna get into that. However,
what I will say is this, the number of
deaths in warfare. Since World
War 2 has dropped precipitously, like by a
factor of a 100. Since the end of World
War 2. And this is not just like it wars the United States quote unquote
started. I'm talking about everywhere, everywhere across the
planet. And it's because the
application of the idea of the atomic of atomic power
that Einstein lamented Or if I had known, I
would have become a watchmaker.
The application of that idea scared the hell out of everybody.
Like, at an existential level. Now he also
said, I don't know what weapons will be used to fight in World War
3. But I know world war 4 will be fought with sticks and
stones. That's right. The application of an
And because that has scared the hell out of all of us, which by the
way, it's interesting. We sort of took a vacation from that between, like,
1989 up until about 2020,
2020, 2021 when the Russians all did us a favor and brought up all those
monkey men moved the over to
window, not forward, but backward. They moved the over to window backward to the cold
war. And now the Russian boogie men is all living underneath our
with nukes. It's no so,
like, we we now but we don't have the tools right
now. To deal with that existential dread. I mean, we barely had the tools during
the time when when the cold war was going on for that that
seventy year long as Ronald Reagan would have put a Twilight struggle.
We barely had the existential and and
moral and ethical and religious tools to deal with that then. We have none of
those tools now. We've thrown all that out in our post modernism. We said we
don't need those. And now all we have is just the fear.
And my concern is that in the
sort of long rambling thought is that
books like the Hobbit or the fall of the house of usher or
we're gonna be covering the sun also rises by Ernest Heming Way later on this
year. We've already covered Shakespeare this year. We've
talked about, you know, Black slave narratives,
you know, the good earth my pearl buck. You
know, in in looking at these books, I I think
the the the solution to the existential dread is
inside of the books. It's inside of these places.
It's inside of these narratives, and we have to have the patience to to to
circle around back to what you were talking about, we have to have the patience
to go and explore inside of there. That's the part to me that I
don't know how we get with the swipe left swipe right culture.
It it's it yeah. I mean,
it's it's kind of the,
leadership. That's that's so silly. But, I mean, 1st
and foremost, if it
is you know, this is your this is your this is your mission.
Yeah. This is the thing I'm on. Yeah. This is the thing I'm on. Yeah.
And you're championing
these concepts that are increasingly becoming, like,
how to impart that wisdom and how to, like, you know, living righteously.
Everything is, like, so many things in communication have have become
so broken down. To the
degree and the the my my personal situation in right now is,
like, is a great example of, like, we're not even talking
about what we're talking about. That no party knows, but is
even the topic. And it's yelling into the void and it's like
it's it's it's I don't know. Like, I it's
feels it I don't know. It just seems, some sort of,
like, brainwashing things is is
is is it's -- Well, maybe it's but maybe it's the
breakdown of mass communication. I will go back to the book here in
just a second. Maybe it's the breakdown of mass communication because I think I think
there's something to be said for everybody gathering around the television with only
three channels as a family. Or, like, my mom grew up, you
know, where there was only one TV on the block. Like, I I'll
sometimes challenge younger groups or younger audiences chronologically,
younger audiences. I'll say to them, imagine if I took away everybody's cell phone
in this room when you all had to share one cell phone. And the look
of horror that comes on everybody's face is undeniable.
And and and it well, it's a it's a mixture of a of look of
horror. With a look of just sort of I don't even I can't even
conceptualize what you just said to me. It's literal
confusion. And so we went from a
society where that idea of
Everybody watching one television show around a TV
is not that much different than the family sitting around reading the
newspaper or reading a novel out loud. Like, that's not a hard jump.
Yeah. Yeah. The the the big jump that we made in the
nineties and in the early two thousands was going from everybody sitting
around the TV to everyone having their own TV in their
own pocket. That's a massive. That's a massive jump. Thank
you, Steve Jobs. That's a massive jump, and
that massive jump created societal disruption
because now I don't have to engage with you in
the same space as you're communicating in. I don't
have to accept your idea if I don't want to. I'm not
compelled to listen to you. I'm also not compelled to resist
you, but I'm I'm also not compelled to accept you. Right? And
so we really focus on the resistance part of it, but I really think we
should focus on the acceptance part of it. I'm not forced through
social norming to accept your idea. Instead, I can go pick a bunch of ideas
that I want to accept, go into the echo chamber there, have myself
reinforced, and then come out of that echo chamber, and now I gotta deal with
all your nonsense people. And instead of dealing with you, I'm just gonna be
passive. And the classic example of this that we see
now or I see recently, And this is gonna be an old man screaming from
the from the tower kind of thing. I fully admit this. But, like, I
can't I can't I can't go into another customer
service situation where you have your your your wireless iPhone
earbuds in your ears.
And you're serving me in some kind. You're providing me customer service. I can't
do it. I'm sorry. I I guess, yeah. Okay. You're listening for your phone
because nobody gives it anybody a phone anymore. See, like, you have to have your
own phone if the owner wants to call you or manager or whoever.
I don't care. That sounds like a you problem, not a me problem. The
me problem is I need to show up in that customer service experience
at Staples or at the local vendor with
you looking like you're actually paying attention to me. If you've got an earbud in
your ear, I know you're not listening to me. I know I'm not the most
interesting thing happening to you in your life. And right now at that moment, when
I have the window, wanna be the most interesting thing happening to you.
It is yeah. It, very
rarely. It it is increasingly difficult to remain in the
present moment. Well, not only that, it's it's
increasingly difficult to acknowledge not only that the present moment is.
You forget being in the present moment, it's increasingly difficult to acknowledge the
presence of another human being
with a soul. Yes. I'm gonna go there. With a soul and
needs and emotions and ideas, I am not a I'm
not a I'm not a tool to be used for you. Right?
And this is why go back to the hot girl. This is why the
bartender can hire the hot girl rather than you. Because at
least the hot girl will the customer will pay attention to the hot
girl. And by the way, this cuts both ways, by the way. So you've got
rude customers and increasingly We saw this before COVID.
But increasingly, you were seeing rudeness of people in social in in,
in customer service situations where customers were treating
employees like they were garbage. And you still see that. And so
now it's but now it's even down. Now it's happening on both sides. Now we
can both treat each other like garbage.
Yay. We've advanced the civilization. We've
moved us a step closer to utopia rather than a step
closer to dystopia. And it's all our
fault. And I'll admit it. I'm I'm sometimes terrible with customer service people
but I'm more inclined to be terrible with them if they have an earbud in
their ear. I I I I have to I have to
admit if Similarly, they're doing customer service for whole, I
mean, and and and -- Yep. You know, we're we're pretty kind people.
The other day, I I was I was unnecessarily rude to the lady at
the at the at where I pay my rent, the the lady working the and
I I'm gonna go and actually don't make amends to her and apologize because it
was like, something happened in my life that I couldn't be able to just
and I it it very rarely happens, but it affected that
particular moment. I unnecessarily treat a person
unkindly, or not even unkindly, just, just terse and Cors and, and, and,
it was a long call for.
Which made me think of, like because we were talking about, like, that fundamental plan,
absence or the fundamental difference in, like, how to, like, educate your
brain. At some point, and that is that's why it's such a big
because at some point, it becomes like, oh, is this just
propaganda? Right. Okay. This
is how you talk to people. You know, you imagine can you imagine PSAs coming
out all over the place? Like, this is how you engage. You know what I
mean? Like, it becomes It's like we've aged backward to become like children
again because we've lost, like, the the the the the just decent
the the the the manners. I feel like I
and yeah. Yes. Well, it's it's it's
I can't remember what episode of the podcast it was. But we talked
about and I can't remember what book it was. It'll come to me in a
minute, but we talked about the importance of politeness. It's sort of
how Even if I disagree with you, I still
need to be polite. Now these days, we
chalk that up, or we say
We say that such an attitude or posture is
a sign of white supremacy. It should be thrown over.
But I I I pull up short on that. I say being polite is white
Really? So, yeah, so, yeah, so so
so so simple simple things as
politeness have become politicized,
and, and, and,
noted as a demarcation of, of,
80 another race is
completely bananas. It's not only is it bananas.
It's you talked about coarseness,
or, as my grandmother, my grandmother, we use a word, uncouthness.
It is a sign of a lack of couth. Now I don't know what couth
is, but I know you don't have it if you're treating people
terribly. I also know
that a society cannot long survive. Not a
civilization. Civilization will be fine, but a society cannot
survive. Very long.
If interpersonal relationships at
the furthest edges, like in a customer service situation,
are driven by uncouthness and and
terceness and being impolite. And I know
social media has made it seem like we're all in communities together, but that's you
talk about propaganda. That's propaganda in and of itself. That's propaganda, by the way,
pushed by Facebook. It's propaganda push by LinkedIn. It's propaganda push by
Instagram. It's propaganda, whatever the hell they're calling themselves. It's
propaganda push by YouTube. You're not connected to those people.
Goal. You know, I've often said, like, I
don't I don't really care what, you know,
firstname.lastname@example.org has to say about my podcast. Like,
I don't I'm glad that that person has an opinion maybe.
But, like, I don't save your review.
Go bother someone else because anonymity doesn't
interest me. If you have any guts, you're gonna put your name on
it, because you're gonna own it.
Right? And and by the way, I've lived out that principle. Most of
the things you see online, if you go Google my name, most of the things
you'll see online, good, bad, ugly, or indifferent, I put my name on it.
I've said this before on this podcast. The vast majority of my tweets
are probably objectionable to somebody. And they're all defensible,
and I will apologize for none of them. And if you wanna cancel me off
a Twitter or or x or whatever, okay, that's fine. I don't really care.
I'm not high enough up on the ladder for you to pay attention to anyway.
But, like, but, like, but, like, people don't understand that you
have to defend not defend.
Being polite is part of the lubrication of society.
It's part of what makes things go forward. And by the way, the Hobbits this
is something that you see because Tolkien was a student of language. That's
what Philology is. He understood the nature of
what is hidden inside of the language of politeness. And it's more than
just making things just run.
It's also honoring It's also,
elevating. It's also bringing people into a different kind of
space. All these things are happening inside of language. Look, you know,
you said he's an Oxford man. And so, the
You know, and and unless there was a sort of, like, an illusion to
In the this so this is why
at least in my opinion experience that something like this is a
Suaron having good and polite manners is is not
necessarily the end on be all. However, if it is something that
is culturally significant and has been represented through the population
of the the island of England.
Then you could also say that they're, like, the
characteristics inherent in the Native American population, as
far as, the conversations that I had when I worked at a rehab,
someone said to me once, when I we were having a conversation,
and I said, I just noticed that it takes up you take you take a
breath and you kind of, like, you take a few seconds up to a minute
to to, you know, to to respond to my
question. And they said, well, you know, I'm thinking about how
what's gonna come out of my mouth is gonna affect the next 3 generations of
people. And so that is
an aspect that is a a a cultural. And so I think
commodionizing has an
an kinda like shave off any
cultural, I don't know, let's say
norms or practices or traditions or or
just, I don't know, a personality character
similarly to the, the dwarves you know,
love and the only thing it's it's and so that's I don't know if that's
kind of like in the vein of -- Mhmm. -- or but it seems like
culturally significant. And so I don't know.
Ryan's gonna chew on this more, but we're gonna go back to the book. Back
to the Hobbit. We are reading
the, the Ballantine Books
edition. Published in 1981,
by, by, random house,
published with it by an arrangement with Houghton Mifflin Company. So this
is our version, or this is this is my version that we're reading from
today. This version, by the way, also has a cover
painting. Bilbo comes to the hut huts of the
raft elves that was by JRR Tolkien because he was
also a, a painter and, a little bit of a
little bit of a, doodler as well. By the way, the
Valentine books version of the Hobbit, the authorized
edition of the Hobbit has never been out of print. Since it was
in print, 1st in the
19 thirties. Okay? And so That's
just something to that's just something to note 1937. So that's
just something to something to note.
By the way, this version also has maps in it, and so you may wanna
take a look at that. And it has an
introduction, written by, Peter
S Beagle, from Watsonville, California.
Some interesting things in that that you may wanna check out. Alright. So we're gonna
go to chapter 2 here. Roast suaron.
This is this takes place just after,
Bill Bo goes to sleep and gets up in the morning after all of the
doors basically eat him out of house and home.
And, he's a little a little resentful. So we're kinda going back
in time a little bit way before the dragon and a whole bunch of other
things. So Gandalf asks him
My dear fellow, said he, and this is Gandalf. Whenever are
you going to come? What about an early start? And here you are having breakfast
or whatever you call it, a half past 10. They left you the message because
they could not wait. What message said poor Mister Baggins all
in a fluster? Great elephants said Gandalf, are not at all
yourself this morning. You have never dusted the mantelpiece.
What's that got to do with it? I've had enough to do with washing up
for 14. If you had dusted the mantelpiece, you would have
found this just under the clock, said Gandalf, ending Bilbo a note
written, of course, on his own note paper. This
is what he read. Thorne and company to burglar
Bilbo greeting. For your hospitality, our Cecilia Thanks, and for
your offer of professional assistance, our grateful acceptance,
terms. Cash on delivery up to and not exceeding 114th of total
profits, if any. All traveling expenses guaranteed in any event.
Funeral expenses to be defrayed by us or our representatives if occasion
arises and the matter is not otherwise arranged for. Thinking it
unnecessary to disturb your esteemed repose, we have proceeded in advance to
make requisite preparations and shall await your respected person at the
green dragon in by water at 11 AM suaron, trusting that
she will be punctual. We have the honor to remain
yours deeply, foreign, and company. That leaves
you just 10 minutes. You will have to run to Gandalf. But said Bilbo. No
time for it to the wizard. But said Bilbo again. No time for that either.
Off you go. To the end of his days, Bilbo could
never remember how he found himself outside without a hat, walking stick, or
any money. Or anything that he usually took when he went
out, leaving his second breakfast half finished and quite had
washed up. Pushing his keys into Gandalf's hands and running as fast as his furry
feet could carry him down the lane past the great mill across the water and
then on for a whole mile or more.
Very puffed he was when he got to buy water just on the stroke of
11, it found that he had come without a pocket handkerchief. Bravo said
Bevin, who's standing at the indoor looking out for him. Just then all the others
came around the corner of the road from the village. They were on ponies, and
each county was slung about with all kinds of baggages, packages, parcels, and
paraphernalia. There was a very small pony, apparently, for
Bilbo. Up you two gut and off we go, said Thornton.
I'm awfully sorry you said Bilbo, but I've come without my hat, and I've left
my pocket handkerchief high, and I haven't got any money, I didn't get your note
until after 10:45 to be precise. Don't be precise, Sid Wallin,
and don't worry. You will have to manage without pocket and a good many other
things before you get to the journey's end. As for a hat, I've got a
spear hood and cloak in my luggage. That's how they all came to a
start. Jogging off from the end 1 fine morning just before May on leading ponies
in Bilba was wearing a dark green hood, a little weather stained, and a dark
green cloak borrowed from Suaron. They were too large for him, and he looked
rather comic, but his father, Bongo, would have thought of him, I dare not think.
His only comfort was that he couldn't be mistaken for a dwarf as he had
no beard. They have not been varying very long. When it came
again, I'll very splendid on a white horse. Pause
here, by the way. Through the book of revelations,
Jesus comes on a white horse.
I thought I'd point that out. Back to the book. He had brought a lot
of pocket handkerchiefs and Bill Bull's pipe and tobacco. So after
that, the party went along very merrily, and they told stories or sang songs as
they wrote forward all day, except, of course, when they stopped for meals. These
even come quite as often as Bill would have liked them, but still he began
to feel that adventures were not so bad after all. At first,
they had passed through Hobbit Lands, a wild, respectable country inhabited by
decent folk with good roads and enter 2 and now and then a door for
a farmer, amply, buy on business, Then they came to lands where people spoke
strangely and sang songs, but what I'd ever heard before. Now they had
gotten on far into the lonely where there were no people left, no ends, and
the roads could steadily worse. Not far ahead were Jerry Hills rising
higher and higher dark with trees. On some of them were old castles with an
evil look that they had been built by wicked people. Everything seemed
gloomy for the weather that day had taken a nasty turn.
Mostly it had been good as making beef even in fairy tales, but now it
was cold and wet. In the loan lands, they had to camp where they could,
but at least it had been dry. I think it will soon be
June, Grumble Bill Bo as he splashed along. We have the others in a very
muddy track. It was after tea time. It was pouring with rain. It had been
all day. His soda was dripping into his eyes. Cloak was full of water. The
pony was tired and stumbled on the stones, and the others were too grumpy to
talk. And I'm sure the rain has got into the dry clothes, into the
food bags, thought Bilbo. Bother burgling and everything to do with it. I wish I
was at home by my nice hole by the fire with the kettle just beginning
to sing. It was not the last time that you wished that.
Notice of the hobbit. So we're behind the gray clouds. The sun must have gone
down for beginning to dark. Wind got up, and the Willow's along the riverbank
bent inside. I don't know what river it was, a rushing red one, smaller with
the rains of the last few days that came down from the hills. The mountains
in front of them. Soon, it was nearly dark. The winds broke up
the gray clouds and a waning moon appeared above the hills, between the flying
rags, then they stopped and thoran muttered something about supper, and where should we
get a dry patch to sleep on? Not until then, do they know as the
Gandoff was missing? So far, he had come all the way with him, never saying
if he was in the adventure or merely keeping them company for a while.
He had eaten most, talked most, and laughed most, but now he was
simply not there at all.
Just when a wizard would have been most useful to, groan Dori and Nori, who
shared the Hopins' views about regular meals, plenty, and often.
Decided in the end that they would have to camp where they were. So far,
they had not camped before on this journey, although they knew that they soon would
have to camp regularly when they were among the misty mountains and
far from the lands of respectable people, it seemed a bad wet
evening to begin on. They moved to a clump of trees, and though it was
drier under them, the wind shook the rain off the leaves, and the drip drip
was most annoying. Also, the mischief seemed to have gotten into the fire.
Dwarbs can make a fire almost anywhere Out of almost anything
wind or no wind, but they could not do it that night, not even Oyne
and Gloyn who are especially good at it.
It's a dangerous thing to leave your house and go out
on the road, Mister Baggins. It's
a dangerous thing to be hustled and bustled and pushed
there are some things maybe we can take from Billbo being
shoved out the door. The first thing is a word of
warning. So when wizard when a wizard comes
knocking, unless you want an adventure, don't go answering.
Now if the wizard picks you, particularly a
wizard on a white horse.
You may wanna ask him some very salient questions.
The other thing that we see in Tolkien, and he was notorious for
this. Again, he took ideas that he'd had in the Hobbit and concepts that he
built in the Hobbit and put them on steroids to the lord of the rings.
But we begin to see this idea that the landscape and the language
and the people are all united as 1. So if there are
dark and evil tidings in the buildings, guarantee you they were
built by dark and evil people. The roads get worse. The
buildings get worse. The people get worse. The language gets rougher.
We miss this in our scientifically material age where
We tend to separate the spiritual from the material because
if we can't see it, then it must not be there.
But we do reflect or the geography
does reflect our psychological makeup. Whether
we are comfortable with this idea or not.
By the way, the path that Bill Bo and the
dwarves are going on before they meet the dragon and go and try to get
the gold the the path that they're on is a path of
malevolent and Tolkien does a really good job of showing
that atheist denialism has no answer for the
challenges evil represents. It really doesn't.
And the more you're challenged by the by the
existential geography around you, the more that impacts your
There's another theme that you see here the tolkien begins to really push on
in this chapter. And it's the idea that you gotta leave your hidey hole,
because salvation is individual and not collective. He's really gonna lean
into this with Frodo. Bill Bo's
nephew, but the point is that when
you go out your door, you're chasing salvation. You're you're chasing
well, you're chasing redemption. You're chasing something there, and you're the one that has to
do it. Your mom can't do it for you. Your dad can't do it for
you. Your family can't do it for you. At a certain point, you have to
go out on the road on your own. And that road
will be a path through chaos, despair, and danger.
And you're gonna need a guide. You're gonna need a wizard.
You're gonna you're gonna need a Gandalf.
So, Ryan, Hogan leaders were tasked
with being Gandalf. How can they address the
complexities of the journey of life? A journey that is
sometimes that sometimes has chaos to spare a danger on
it, but also has good
times. And sometimes it's like it's like well, it's
like war where nothing happens for very, very long stretches.
I board them in any week and sometimes set in. How do leaders
guide their followers down these roads? No.
It's it's it's funny, and I'm not a social media person.
But the first thing that popped into my mind was was,
was, like, was, tempering
your output. Mhmm. I went to a Banksy
exhibit, you know, a couple months ago, and one of the quotes that he had
stenciled you know, it's it's part of an exhibit. The exhibit was,
be sure to take breaks so you don't quit.
And that is a beautiful comment on
the immediacy. Issue
that we were having as far as, like, that engagement we were saying.
And and and Gandoff is kind of embodies
the Yeah. No. I'm the I'm the kind of the
the person who's leading this because I'm eight hundred years old. I've
been there. I've done that. I'll help
you guys out. I it's tempered. It's tempered. It's paced.
It's understanding your crowd, know your audience, understand the
environment and being of service to the mission.
And I think That is
so we could become of service to the fame, the glory, the money. We
become of service, all these other things that we talked about, or I mentioned as
far as, like, the wealth wealth has all different faces. And we're I think
I don't think we're necessarily I think this is that that pawns us in
Orem is like, I think we say, wealth and
in our minds, more often than not, it
equates to, like, balance. And
I don't like, I think that's what, like, we think or what the goal is
or the intention is if I have this, then I will be that.
And I think the balance is probably the thing that we're conflating with wealth.
And it's like we probably want, you know, a stable,
tempered, even keel, you know, healthy,
spiritually on some level sound life, but it's masked as
this other thing. I liked what
I liked what Tolkien does with the this
is this is the human nature. Back to the
be punctual. And then the very next, it says,
Donker, he says, no. No need to get hung up on details.
A lot of So the the the complex
learning how to fight. Learning how to fight. That's where that that,
like, take a break so you don't quit. That's what kinda translates to me. In
all my relationships, like, the reason for the
most part, they've all ended because the person who I
was engaged in some sort of argument with, neither of us had the skill all
keen on myself. I did not have the skill or the ability to want. To
know how the desire or whatever combination of all those things
to learn how to navigate whatever the issue was at the time.
And that is one of a it's a major, you know, you
know, a downfall of mine. You know, it it it can be a little
murky and it affects me, you know, in a in a
particular way, but and even so also what talking does
is the time of distress He takes a
moment much like the cram, then he says,
the beautiful sky and the moon, like, It's in the middle of this
tumultuous thing where this character is the conflicted
with being outside of the most comfortable environment
ever. His little his hobby and
out into the world and coming to terms with all of these things that are
happening simultaneously, converged once, and to not go mad he
says, look at that. The beautifuls. And whether that's
what it's in there, you know.
And also talked about the environment
and how, you know, there's, like, kind of like Eastern versus
Western philosophies where you are your environment versus creating your
environment. Now and they have talked about this
before because it's, it's so powerful. The Santinones, writer,
journalist, wrote a book called, I think, Dreamland or return to Dreamland or
something like and it takes place in Ohio, and it's about the,
black tar heroin trade that was really prevalent in the,
early, no, well, 2000, really 2000 and how they set up
kind of like satellite, dispatchers
essentially in all these outside at least towns surrounding major
cities because the major cities were already occupied and taken care of
by some sort of, like, mob or gang affiliation.
And so he talks about Halisco. Halisco is a
city or state in Mexico, and Halisco, where that's
where the black tar heroin basically comes from. Is Elisko.
Everyone in Elisko works towards the in
the Black tar heroin trade. He said, oh, next next
door, the town that's next door, everyone there,
he's like, it's really common with these towns in in in in in in in
Mexico, where everyone in town does the same thing. Is it the town
the neighboring town. They're all, like, general contractors. The neighboring
town from that is everyone, it was a there was just prostitutes and
rifles. Mhmm. And so it's just,
you know, the the it's it's evidenced in in modern
day. So it's not just, you know, talking
being playful with mythology. I mean, there's there's there's there's
there's evidential Okay.
So no. I I I and I see your point, about, you know,
people all working in this one this one industry.
The other thing or another thing that sort of jumps out to me about this,
and it's interesting that you mentioned sort of I wanna go back to something that
she said before about Gandalf, basically,
the sort of dismissing Bill Bo's concerns, but, yeah, not doing
no time for that. But, well, no no time for that either. Nope. And I
do see my kids all the time. Button suaron. You're getting in
the car. This car's leaving. And so
it's this idea. Clint Eastwood has this idea.
That and it's it's sort of brilliant where when he
works with actors, you know, he'll do one take,
maybe 2, and then it's done. And then he moves right along
to, like, the next sequence that he has to he has to film. And
his philosophy is we've made it this far. Let's not ruin it by overthinking.
kind goes along, but but you can only get there. You can only
get number 1. Police would is in his nineties. But he's
been directing this way. Pretty much ever since
he was in his thirties or forties. So he's had a long track record of
this. This is It's just who he is. It's just how he works. That's it.
That's it. But Gandalf represents
that wisdom of knowing when to think and when to provide
good counsel, knowing when to not overthink and just have
the thing happen. And knowing how to
front load, the hard work, but also knowing, and it's interesting
in this passage that we read, knowing when to disappear. Right?
Knowing when not to be around, because sometimes wisdom is not the best
tool. Sometimes you just have to do the thing. Right? You just have
to walk the road or experience
the chaos or or have the rain drip on your, you know, your your
dark green hood and have it suck for you. Like, you just have to do
those things in order to have the experience
and no amount of wisdom at that moment is really gonna be helpful.
Gandalf doesn't do therapy. I think he could probably
spray paint that on the wall of a subway somewhere.
when you talk about tempering your output in service to the
How far does that go as a as a leader? Right? Because I think a
lot of leaders struggle with this I I struggle with the
concept if I have all this experience, I wanna give it to people because
they're they just they need it. Like, I can see the needs everywhere, and it's,
like, whack them all with the needs. But there's very few people
who may wanna hear it. So how do they how do you know where that
line is? Well, that's
the that is the the the wisdom component.
It's interesting, and this is we kind of like touched on it earlier
is in in reference to the immediacy
and Internet and every bit of information you could ever want in
in your pocket. And
And and because lots of systems,
institutions have been exposed and as
far as corruption. It's odd
because there are leaders in place, at least, figureheads,
and we, they're put in that position
as to sort of, like,
represent and lead but
not everyone is going to do that. For
instance, I mean, I'm sure Jeffrey Epstein was the leader
of his. And so
so some missteps, I guess,
maybe, you know, but in the same sense,
you know, the the person who,
there's a there's a person at the the the market who sells spices and
they started off at a little table as a as a vendor
and and over time, they built, you know,
this spike business and it moved indoors and they did all the, like,
And suaron point is to look and it like, is that person's
intentions to lead, are they it's like,
people have been put put in place, and it's almost,
at times, I think, arbitrarily, whether kinda like the
populace allows them to do their job. So you
can put somebody in a position to do something and then sabotage
them every step of the way because of all these
other conflicts that are not necessarily
relevant to what the actual missing or task is at
hand. Because then it becomes like a personality or characteristic or a trait thing
rather than the skill
in applying, you know, the skill, whereas the application
versus the idea. And so sometimes you can not
even give people the opportunity to,
apply their wisdom because of these other
reasons is that it's completely truncated the individual from doing so.
Well, I wouldn't I wouldn't necessarily say Jeffrey Epstein was a leader.
Well, no. I wouldn't necessarily say Jeffrey Epstein was leader. However, I do see your
point No. I do see your point. In
that there's going to be
People are going to lead from different motives, right, whether you're building a spice
business starting from scratch or you are,
-- He started from scratch too. It just was a different
You're operating a or or whether you're operating a,
you know, an island with a bunch of shady, shady, or people on
it. There's going to be some some some standard frameworks there.
the standard frameworks are going to be power,
position. Those are gonna be standard. Right?
Influence is gonna be gonna be there. Those are going to
be some some pillars that are going to be there's gonna be there, right,
because of the nature of just sort of what you're taking on. Right?
And I think Gandalf
represents the ability to navigate those pillars,
with and this is the difference between,
you know, Jeffrey Epstein and the Spice guy, with ethics, right,
with a moral foundation that Kims comes from somewhere. We we never
find out truly where the end all some moral foundation comes from, but
I do think that the allusions to jesus, the
illusions to the transcendent that are made
by. And by the way, riding on the white horse is not the only one.
I mean, there's several other ones that are in that are in the hobbit and
then later on lord of the rings where it's undeniable that this is what this
is the direction that Tolkien is going in.
Kinda show us where he's basing his, his
his his his where his moral and ethical anchor lies.
Okay? I think that's
really hard to determine for people. Right? But it's also really hard to determine
for leaders. So we talked about this a couple months ago know, where is that?
Where's your moral compass? Right? And I
think the other dynamic or the other dynamic that you see in
the hobbit is the dynamic of Gandalf
being the adults in the room. And that is
something I think that we're missing in modern society. And the adults in the room
is well, and you and I have talked about this
before. You know, these days, the the the the barrier
entry to being the adults of the room is not that high to jump over.
You know, it's showing up competently not complaining. Doing
the work for, like, 90 days straight, and then all of a sudden, congratulations. You're
in charge. I have a question to ask you because I've experienced this, and I
know certainly you've experienced this as well. And I don't know what in what form,
but, you're you're just some place and
someone behaves in a particular way, and they're testing what the
norm is of of the the the the social
norm in that group. Oh, yeah. Mhmm. And whether
it's flicking a cigarette butt, right, and then as soon
they do that, and then they look at you. Mhmm. As if
to defer. Right. Okay. Is that
was was that bad what I just did? It
happens. I'm sure you've experienced it. I've experienced it all of the time
where yeah. Oh, yeah. Interesting where it's like it's
turned you turn to for the the and so that's when somebody does
the wisdom. This I don't have a uh-uh, man, I don't have a I don't
have money. I don't have I don't have any of those things, but why why
why are you still looking at me like that? Do you wanna
I have zero for you to consider,
but in this very, like, yeah, please. It's
it's because you're the adult in the room in that moment.
Congratulations. You're the adult. And and by the way, I see this in rooms with
because because, you know, I have kids, so I go to a lot of places
with other people with kids. There's just sort of the nature of the game.
And, you know, you'll be in a
room with a bunch of parents. Somebody's suaron,
some kid's parent will get out of control, or some kid will do something. This
is usually how it happens. Some kid will do something. Some kid will get out
of control. And now all of the other parents, it's very subtle how this
happens, even more subtle than the cigarette, but flicking thing, because that's more public
and particularly, like, in the place where I live in Texas where we've
been having a drought for the last, like, 3 months, somebody flicks a cigarette, but
someone's gonna get someone's gonna get clapped. Like, it could go happen Like, because we're
not we're not bound to wildfires this summer. So and by the way, everybody
in Texas, at least in the area of Texas I live in, has permission to
clap that person. And they know they have permission to get clapped. And so, like,
you know, so everybody knows sort of what the situation is. Right?
But it's way more subtle when you're in a situation with
parents and kids because the kid will get out of control. And I'm not gonna
let my kid get out of control, but now I'm looking at sort of
my wife to see, like, what's how far can I go with, like, with this
kid? Right? Now if my wife happens to be there, if my wife is not
there, which is very rare. But if my but this has happened. If my wife
is not there and it's me and my kid, I'll literally look at that kid,
and I'll go, you need to stop. And then I'll watch the parent,
usually it's a mom. I'll watch the mom to see what the mom will do.
And if the mom does nothing and goes, it's fine. Then, like, I'm off to
the races on that kid. I am. I'm off to the race. And I say
I'm disciplining the kid, but, like, you know, I'm correcting
social behavior. Right? I'm doing it kind of funny and jokey and all that.
Anyway, so the the I I made the kid cry. Right? And and and, again,
not to the point of, like, to be malicious, but it's the social. It's
the social or anything. And then I've had the parent come back to me later
on and be like, thank you for, like, social numbing my
kit. Now occasionally, occasionally, I will
be in situations, and this is at the opposite end of that where
just there's something in the mood of the room where you
know not to say anything to that kid because the
parent's gonna be a real problem.
Not the kid, but the parent's gonna be a real issue. And I and and
and, honestly speaking of geography, I experienced this more in the northeast than I
ever have, you know, in the, currently rather than the
southwest. And and so I think
it's regional, regional to a certain degree. Yeah, I know what you're talking
about. It is that sort of, hey. You're looking at me.
Hey. I gotta fix this problem now, and you're looking around going who me. I'm
I'm the one that's gotta I'm the one that's gotta do this, and it it
is part of the it is part of the Gandalf like journey
of wisdom, I think. Towards for something better.
Yeah. It's interesting because a lot of people won't even, like, know
the my story, but
short period of time, it's like, oh, this it's like, oh, this person's kinda been
through it. Right. Right. It's,
you know, it's kind of like this this weird earned,
kind of status that that I'm often unaware of.
Yeah. Yeah. Alright. Back to the book. Round in the
corner. Back to the book. Back to the Hobbit.
Or there and back again. So we're gonna go back and pick
up again in chapter 12. And we're gonna talk a little
bit about Love we're gonna talk a little bit about dragons.
The doors were still passing the cup from hand to hand when and talking to
light of the recovery of their treasure when suddenly a vast rumbling woke at
the mountain and underneath as if it was an old volcano that had made up
its mind to start eruptions once again. The door behind them was
pulled nearly 2 and blocked from closing with a stone, but up the long tunnel
came the dreadful echoes far down to the depths of a bellowing and a trampling
that made the ground beneath them tremble. And
then the doors forgot their joy, and they're confident both of a moment before it
cow down in fright, smog was still to be reckoned
with. It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your
calculations if you live near him. Dragons may not have much real
use for all their wealth, but they know it to an ounce as a
rule, especially after long possession. And smog was no exception.
He had passed from an uneasy dream in which a warrior altogether
insignificant in size, but provided with a bitter sword and great courage
figured most unpleasantly. To a doze and from a
doze to wide waking. There was a breath of strange
air in his cave. Could there be a drought from that little hole? You
never felt quite happy about it, though it was so smaug, and now he glared
at it in suspicion and wondered why he had never blocked it up.
Of late, he had half fancied. He had caught the dim echoes of a knocking
sound from far above that came down through it to his lair.
He stirred and stretched forth his neck to sniff.
Then he missed the cup. The fire murder, such a thing had
not happened since he first came to the mountain, his rage passes
description. The sort of rage is only seen with rich folk that have more than
they can enjoy. Some they lose something that they have long had, but
have never before used or wanted, pause that some
wisdom right there.
Continuing on. His fire belched forth The hull
smoked. He shook the mountain roots. He thrust his head in vain at the little
hole and then coiling his lengths together roared like a thunder underground.
He sped from his deep layer through its gray door out into the huge
passages of the mountain palace and up towards the front gate.
To hunt the whole mountain till he had caught the thief in a torn and
trampled him was his one thought he issued from the gate. The waters rose in
fierce whistling steam. And up, he soared blazing into the air and settled on the
mountain top in a spout of green and its scarlet flame. The
dwarves heard the awful rumor of his flight, and they crouched against the wall the
grassy terrace cringing under boulders hoping somehow to escape the frightful eyes
of the hunting dragon. There, they would have all been killed
if it had not for Bill Bone. Once again, quick, quickie gas, the door of
the tunnel. It's it's no good here. Rouse by these words, they were just
about to creep inside the tunnel when Bifree gave a cry. By cousins, bomber, and
boffer. We have forgotten them there down to the valley. They will be slain at
all our ponies too and all our stores lost, Moe, and the others. We can
do nothing. Nonsense, said Thornton, recovering
his dignity. We cannot leave them. Get inside.
Now you others. Where are the ropes? Be quick. Those are
perhaps the worst moments they had been through yet. The
horrible sounds of slog's anger were echoing in the stony hollows far
above At any moment, he might come blazing down or fly whirling around
and find them there near the perilous cliff's edge hauling badly up the
ropes. Up came Beaufer and still all was safe. Up came bomb for
bomber huffing and blowing while the ropes creaked and still all was
safe, up came some tools and bundles of stores, and then the danger was
upon them. A whirring noise was heard.
A red light touched the points of standing rocks. The dragon came.
They had barely time to fly back into the tunnel. Pulling and dragging in their
bundles when smaug came hurtling from the north, licking them out inside to the flame,
beating his great wings, like, with a noise, like a roaring wind.
His hot breath shriveled the grass before the door and drove him through the crack
they had left and scorched them as they laid head, flickering fires leaped
up in black rock shadows danced. Then darkness
fell as he passed again, the pony screamed with terror burst their ropes and gout
widely off. The dragon swooped and turned to pursue them.
And was gone. That'll be the end of our port base, said Suaron,
nothing can escape smog once he sees it. Here we suaron, and here we shall
have to suaron. Unless anyone fancies tramping, the long open miles back to the
river was smog on the watch. It was not a
pleasant thought. They crept further down the tunnel, and there
they lay and shivered though it was warm and stuffy until dawn came
paled with the crack of the door. Every now and again, through the night, they
could hear the roar of the flying dragon grow and then fade as he hunted
round and round the mountain sides. He guessed from the
ponies and from the traces of the camps he had discovered that men had come
from the river and the lake and had scaled the mountainside from the valley where
the ponies had been standing, but the door withdrew his searching eye.
And the long high wall bay kept down his fiercest flames.
Long, he had hunted in vain till the dawn chilled his wrath, and he went
back to his golden couch to sleep and to gather new strength.
He would not forget or forgive the theft, not if a 1000
years turned him to smoldering stone. But he could afford to
wait. Slow and silent. He crept back to his lair.
And half closed. His
Now I'm gonna skip forward a little
bit. Bill Bo is now
tasked with going and
visiting the track. And so I'm going to move forward a little bit. The sun
was shining when he started, but it was dark as night in the tunnel. The
light from the door almost closed, soon faded as he went down. So silent was
his going that smoke on a gentle wind could hardly have surpassed it, and he
was inclined to feel a bit proud himself as he drew near the lower door.
There was only the faintest glow to be seen.
Old smog is weary in his sleep. He thought he can't see him, and he
won't hear me. Sure, Bilbo. He had forgotten or had never heard about the
dragon's sense of smell. It is also an awkward fact that they keep half an
eye open watching while they sleep if they are suspicious.
Smaug certainly looked fast asleep, almost dead and dark.
Scarcely a snore more than a whiff of unseen steam when Bilbo peeped once
more from the entrance. He was just about to step out onto floor when he
caught a sudden thin and piercing ray of red from under the drooping lid of
smog's left eye. He was only pretending to sleep. He was watching the tunnel
engines hurriedly, Bill will step back and bless the luck of his ring.
Then smaug spoke. Well,
thief, I smell you and I feel your air. I hear your breath.
Come along. Help yourself again. There is plenty. And to
suaron, But Bilbo was not quite so
unlearned in Suaron lore as all that, and Smaug hoped to get him to come
near. So easily, he was disappointed. No. Thank you, Smaug, the tremendous
applied. I did not come for presents. I only wish to have a look at
you and see if you were truly as great as tales say. I did not
believe them. Do you
now so the dragon's somewhat flattered even though he did not believe a word
of it. Truly, songs and tales fall utterly short of
the reality, O'S smaug, that she and greatest of calamities replied
Bilbo. You have nice manners for a thief and a
liar, said the dragon You seem familiar with my name, but I don't seem to
remember smelling you before. Who are you? And where do you come from? May I
ask? You may indeed. I come from under the hill and under the
hills and over the hills my path fled. And through the air, I am he
that walks unseen. So I can well
believe, said smog, but that is hardly your usual name.
I am the cluefinder, the web cutter, the stinging fly, I was chosen
for the lucky number. Lovely titles near the dragon, but
lucky numbers don't always come off. I am he that buries his
friends alive and drowns them and draws them alive again from the water. I
come from the end of a bag, but no bag went over me.
These don't sound so credible, smaug, scoffed
smog. I am the friend of bears and the guest of
Eagles I am ring winner in luckwear, and I am barrel rider,
went on Bilbo beginning to be pleased with his riddling.
That's better, said smog. But don't let your imagination
suaron away with you.
I'm just a fly in the ointment Hans.
I'm just a, I'm just
a fly in the ointment. I believe that, I
believe that John McClain once said that stuck in an elevator
shaft, or might have been an air conditioning shaft somewhere. In some
airport at some point back in the
Monkey and the wrench. That's it.
I am the thing that bothers you.
Or to update it a little bit further for the times in which we live
now. I am the one who knocks. I'm not the
one who gets god. I'm the one who does the getting.
Dragons are a dangerous thing.
Tolkien makes an excellent point, when
after, the dragon realizes that, you know, of
course, he's been ripped off. And by the way, not ripped off of a large
thing, but ripped off of a small thing.
He realizes that, well, I I I love
this line. His rage passes description. The sort of rage that is
only seen when rich folk that have more than they can enjoy
suddenly lose something that they have long had, but have
never before used or wanted. What
what an amazing observation of wealth in our time as
well as Toll Keynes turns out the human nature is
just the same back then as it is now.
And, yes, I'm looking at you Sam Suaron Freed and all the people who took
meetings with him while he was playing video
games on his Xbox down in the Caribbean somewhere. Look.
Dragons represent evil and chaos in many fantasy novels, myths, and legends,
and folklore throughout history.
George R R Martin wrote about dragons in,
in his his fantasy novels. But dragons
also serve as the stand in And many people don't
realize this. It took a little bit of finagling for me to sort of comprehend
this, but dragons also serve as a stand in for the Serpent in the Garden
of Eden. Thus guarding the gold of knowledge.
Right? They are the thing that deceive
this is what Tolkien was going towards with smog.
Dragins also stand in psychologically for the negative emotions,
anxiety, depression, or and so on that exist
at the upper boundaries of psychological openness and
psychological neuroticism. All that
sensitivity to negative emotions.
As we turn the corner here, we had a long
conversation, and we've ranged across a number of different topic areas here
that I think are applicable for leaders. But, Ryan, how do we
deal with dragons? How do we how do leaders prepare followers to face
the the dragons, that are in their workplaces that are in their lives? Cause
there's dragons everywhere. Mostly psychological. No one's being
threatened by a giant serpent these days.
But my kids even like dinosaurs. And it's interesting. Kids know this
even better than adults do. Like, think about every four year old you've ever
met who can pronounce the name of tyrannosaurus rex, but has
no idea how to identify depression or anxiety, right,
or dreams that children will have. Where
they are knights fighting dragons. In some cases, they
defeat the dragon, but sometimes the dragon defeats them. Or even kids
stories, you know, that are oriented towards children, myths
and legends, where there's always a dragon that has to be
beaten. There's something we're trying to tell our children here with this
idea. But as adults, we sometimes forget it, or we dussy it up
in sophisticated language. So how could leaders
prepare their followers to beat the dragon? To
face the smog? Look, those are I've got some
notes here, and first thing I wrote was, get a suaron,
show them the dragon, and then watch the movie how to train your
dragon. I did watch that movie actually recently with my kids, actually.
Yes. So I was
watching interview. It might be like Zack Elephantakis. Okay.
Between your friends? Yes. No. No. No. It's not Zack. It was somebody who
was like, maybe a low level or entry level of fame in Hollywood
person and that Zach Efron's house. And this is
probably, you know, years ago, and and, and so He's like,
hey. Look. His actor in front was like, this is, you know,
was this was Jimmy Paige's gets 1st guitar. Les
Paul that he recorded stairway to heaven with. Mhmm. And the
first one was like, do you play guitar? And he's like, no. And he said,
why do you have that guitar? He looked at it when he
said, I have everything. You don't understand? I have everything.
And, like, if if that's not kinda the embodiment of
of of kind of smog,
Yeah. And that hoarding and, I don't know,
it the the one I opened, and how I like how
riddles were. Like, it uses this,
some sort of, like, of,
of, of validation. Mhmm.
Like, you could you could outwit someone, you know, at
the at the bridge, you know, to pass or in the, you know, to to
earn your And that's, I think, like, to earn your
life, earn an opportunity to
further this interaction beyond me destroying you.
Well, smog wanted to play a game, right?
You know, yeah, he wants to rip and tear and destroy and
do all those other things. But he's layered and complicated.
He's not one dimensional. He's not a he's not a unidimensional marvel
villain. He's got motivations. He's got
needs. He's got desires.
They are evil, but they are needs and desires. And it's interesting
because Gandalf and smog don't have any interaction with
And that's I find that part to be fascinating.
Do you think that they would just look at each other and go, well, alright.
I I I think I think it's one of those things where
okay. I'll frame it this way. There used to be a time
not so much anymore where even criminal people
Recognized that there were
fundamentally good people out
there that we're going to show up to
defeat them at some point. So the the big example that I'll use is
Hitler and Churchill.
Hitler despise Churchill and Churchill despise Hitler.
But Hitler Churchill for
not bending the knee. In the Battle of Britain.
Matter of fact, the Hitler respected Churchill more than he respected Stalin.
He would have done a deal with Churchill. For sure. But
he understood why Churchill suaron.
He just thought Stalin was venal, right,
evil, meaning evil. Right, and making a deal with evil. Right? You're gonna
stab each other in the back. Right? But good.
Even imperfect good, which it's gonna always be imperfect good.
But imperfect good with a moral with a with a backbone, it's just like, no.
This is just, like, not gonna be the thing. We're just not gonna do
the dance this way. You can respect that.
I think that's what you would see with smog and Gandalf. Like, we're
just We're gonna do a dance, but it's not
it's not gonna work out the way you think it is.
Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's it's,
you know, Greg Maddox versus Tony Gwin.
It's Cody. Tony Gwen. It's, like, 6,
5 time. 5 time. Three time
Cy Young award winner of pragmatics. Yep. Tony Gwin.
Tony Gwin bad at something like 460
against Greg Maddox. So when you get
yeah. You're you're talking about the the creme de la creme against the creme de
la creme. And, yeah,
ego and your accomplishments to take you so far, but when you're standing in that
room, still gotta and
and understanding this is the this is
the smaug is its competition.
Mhmm. He sees con and it's the the competition
is engaging. Well, and you see this
later when Gandalf fights the ball rug in,
in, the fellowship of the ring. This was
dramatized, of course, in the movie. And then later he returns in
the 2 towers, you know, so you see this later on board of the rings,
There was no relativism inside of
And just like there was no relativism inside of smog. Like, smog would play games
with you all day, but there's no relativism inside of him. There was no sort
of yeah, I'm just gonna let that slide. No. No. There's a principle
here. And I think in our time, the current time at which we
live, We admire uncompromising
people, but the
vast majority of us are too much in our hobbit holes to be pushed have
made too many compromises to stay in our houses to go
into that uncompromising space because being uncompromising requires
sacrifice. And and usually the sacrifices people won't like
you. That's that's usually what it is in our day. You might
be unlikable or you might be shut out from
some social benefit. And by the way, I love it.
How you how you mentioned earlier about, like, being online, not being in social media
too much and taking a break from all that, that the bank's the idea,
because then you're not you're not.
You're not made by that thing. Right? Thus, it cannot break you.
It's serving this thing that is it's it's a it's a it's a, you
know, it's serving a concept or serving a
serving a the the the what's the the value it doesn't like, what you put,
it's not it's it doesn't it doesn't equate. We often
cannot because of the detrimental, you know, consequences.
There's an idea here that we'll be exploring more as we go more into,
as we go more into Lord of the Rings. Over the course of the next
month. We're gonna leave Gandalf here, and we're gonna leave smaug here because there's
another bigger dragon that even smog serves,
a red wreathed eye in Mordor. It's just sort
of hanging out in the background. That guy's gonna be a problem.
But just like, there is one analogy I will make. So
small purchase at the top of the Busy Mountain, right, searching and searching and
searching. And yet he cannot find the hobbits. He
cannot find the
There is an idea in our time that evil is so all encompassing that
ultimately evil will win or at the very minimum,
passive passivity towards evil is the best response to
it. Because, of course, it's gonna win because it's all seeing. Right? It's
all encompassing. This is the idea of all encompassing totalitarianism. Right?
We saw some of this during, in some places, during COVID,
right, you might as well just just put the mask on or just go do
the lockdown or do whatever. Right? Because, well, the government's gonna get you
anyway because the all seeing eyes are there. By the way, the eyes that are
on your phone, the eyes that are in your that are in
the CCTV cameras that are on every street corner now, the
eyes that are in the private cameras that are in businesses,
There's eyes everywhere and and the all seeing eye of the more
door of government is going to see you and somehow get you.
Or the all seeing eye of smog, parked at the top of the misty mountain.
And yet, something here to know.
Smaug didn't find the hobbits of the doors. Now you can argue that's because they
But Suaron didn't spot Frodo either.
There's a message here. The Tolkien is giving to us. It's
a message to all the hobbit and the wizards and the good
And we'll pull more of that part. As we go further into this
Final thoughts on staying on the path. What can leaders take
from JRR Tollkenes is the hobbit that they
can apply to their real lived lives, right, as we turn the corner
I mean, the the the thing that pops into my head is
and it's very difficult to do, and that's how we're at this could be
seen as an end pass as as far as these these, like, fundamental things
is I mean, if you're if you're,
you know, I've I've wrote right now, that's, like, authenticity.
But being true to your, your
mission statement, checking your motives.
You know, one of the other things I wrote on here was was was the
importance of of of sensitivity trainings,
like equine therapy or bovine therapy,
I think the the answer, like, the the answer
I mean, I don't know the details, but I have a feeling that it's, like,
is a growth mindset and one of inclusion
rather than, one of
closed mindedness and, exclusivity.
And that's when I said it about the, like, the tempering.
Whether it's your output of whatever your,
whatever you're creating, or even because, I
mean, imagine if you told your child everything that you're gonna
tell them their entire life, instead of telling them over the
course of 3 to, you know, death is you just sit
them down when they're, like, 9. And just lay you
just lay it all out and you go, you got it. Right? Alright.
Don't ever say daddy didn't do anything for you. Good luck.
That's it. Okay. I didn't
tell you. It's like, wait a minute. What are we doing here? You know? So
setting people up for success, understanding the pitfalls, the
complexities, figure out what your own
deficiencies are, and that's usually a pretty good place to
start having people that you value in your life and say,
Hey, listen, you know, I mean, we've had conversations before and after
all of these podcasts. And at least,
doing all those conversation, there's a bit of information that is very relevant to
what's happening presently in in in my life. And
And if I, you know, I get some I get relief and
insight, and so the ability and willingness to remain
teachable and also learnable, if that makes any sense. Mhmm.
Because, you know, is is, I don't had another,
Brandon AA, who was a DA, New Jersey, and he said he
brings, he never wants to
to get always gives everyone 2% because he never wants to be in a situation
where he thinks he knows the end all and be all. So he gives everyone
2% because I might
be wrong. And so when we've kind of
cut off the possibility of being incorrect about
something, that's like an absolutism and
certainty, and we know when certainty comes into
any sort of philosophical equation that it is really making changes to
slippery slope. And I think understanding the all all those
complexities and you know, the, the, the mental makeup
of individuals, being like teasing out, kind
of, like, messing your own mind before you kind of, you know,
help people, you know, engage
with theirs in a in a way that's most productive for,
the mission. I think that's a good
place to stop. I'd like to thank Ryan for coming on our podcast
today and talk about the hobbit kicking off our big month
of science fiction and fantasy. This month, we'll be covering
Enders Game. We'll be talking about all
of the all of the lord of the
rings books. So we'll be covering the fellowship of the ring, the 2 Towers
and, of course, return of the king We'll be doing that with
a plethora of guest cohosts. And so I wanna thank Brian for
kicking us off for this, for this month.
And with that and by the way, by the way, this is the last time
that Ryan will be appearing on the podcast this season, this year.
Of the leadership lessons from the great books podcast. So we're rounding
the corner here and getting ready to begin season 3 of the podcast next
year, and he'll be hopefully willing to appear next year,
kinda like Wes Anderson had somebody compare this podcast to a Wes Anderson
film. One time where I have all my cast of players, and I'm
sort of directing everybody and pulling all the strings. It's not nearly that
clean, folks, just just know But,
Ryan will be appearing next year with a whole new stack of
books, that, we will encourage him to, to talk
about So I wanna thank him for coming on the show. I really do appreciate
it. I I I and and and let's thank yous,
as well. And the complexities and to kind of
tag that last, closing
is, you know, surrounding yourself with people
or, you know, who
who encouraged growth,
and because it's always it's very
difficult to to I I've I've
experienced lots of people who are natural born learners and thirst for
that. And I mine is a more of a struggle,
and I find it much easier and conducive
to that, which I feel is like the most beneficial way to occupy my mind
and and integrate into society as we know it, is to do my best to
surround myself with those people, optimistic people, people have growth
mindset and people who have, like, like, just a
genuine interest to get to get to the bottom of it, whatever it is.
And so with all that, remember to rest.
And well, we're out.