As Explored Through J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings

J.R.R. Tolkien considered the creation of his fantasy geography to be of utmost importance, not merely an accompaniment to the creation of deep fictional linguistic traditions, social histories, and mythology but tied to those elements so that each informs the other. For Tolkien, the creation of a detailed geography informed the very societies of his story; the interplay of society and geography created the depth of his world. …

How we got here and were we are going

During my undergraduate degree, I asked Professor Noam Chomsky if he thought that the Internet might prove to be an inherently anarchist community, to which he replied with the following:

“It was designed that way and functioned that way as long as it was within the public sector (first Pentagon, then National Science Foundation) (much of it in the lab at MIT where I was working). Since it was privatized 20 years ago, that has been less and less true, in many ways.”

Whatever the temporally-local political implications of the Internet, however, there can be absolutely no doubt that its…

So why is this most effective transportation technology not used more in the United States?

The first locomotive powered by steam was invented in 1804 and forever changed the way human beings would relate to distance. Distant cities would become reachable in days or even hours, and the rail was affordable enough to allow even the poorer classes to travel extensively and find better prospects for work or better locations to settle (a before perilous and extremely difficult task). Before the steam train, the fastest mode of overland transportation was the mail coach, pulled by a team of fresh horses, which could reach the breathtaking pace of 7 miles per hour. When steam locomotion entered…

How can we experience the numinous in a world like ours?

Does Joseph Campbell’s advice to “follow your bliss” apply in a capitalistic world? That phrase arose from Campbell’s study of the ancient mythologies of the world. As he dove deep into the religions and folktales of our species, he discovered a core focus on self-betterment and internal growth, as well as a sense of direction and focus, in life, that came from seeing ourselves as part of a story.

Uncle Joe’s Funnies 1938

There are many stories at work today; it’s easy to become immersed in “content” in a wide variety of genres, just as it’s easy to reinvent yourself within the confines of…

Featuring an important update to our submissions process.

Welcome to our first newsletter!

Read on for news, important updates, and links to some of our favorite recent articles!

Socrates Café on Medium (SCM) has grown marvelously during the last year and we’re really excited to see all the incredible talent displayed by our writers, and all the insightful comments made by readers. As an organization affiliated with the Socrates Cafe non-profit organization, our goal is to foment dialogue and interconnection in society… this last year, despite all that’s been occurring (or perhaps because of it) we feel like that mission is thriving.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Submissions change!

This is a big one if you submit work to us…

Noam Chomsky is one of the most cited scholars alive today and his work has played a vital role in linguistic, cognitive sciences, philosophy, and politics

Noam Chomsky, by Duncan Rawlinson, CC BY 2.0

In the cult 2016 film Captain Fantastic lead character Ben Cash (Viggo Mortensen) lifts the mood when he celebrates “Noam Chomsky Day” early with his children. “Uncle Noam it’s the day of your birth!” the children sing; a rousing and hilarious chorus followed by cake.

The thing is, Noam Chomsky should be celebrated, and in an age of anti-intellectualism, this celebration becomes all the more important.

Why has this one man been awarded honorary doctorates from over a dozen universities internationally, had his name used as the eponym for a species of bee, and been voted the “world’s leading public…

The myths of an exceptional America and why we actually need them

“The first object of human association is the improvement of their condition.”-Thomas Jefferson: Declaration and Protest of Virginia, 1825.

Photo by Kevin Lanceplaine on Unsplash

Once upon a time there was a grand experiment to see if a country by the people, for the people, could survive the tests of time and never perish from the earth. Or so the mythology goes. …

We can change the world, but it requires that we relearn how to think about the world, and our place within it.

This essay is an outline of the problems faced by our society, the reasons for those issues, and the options for changing the world we live in through the act of striving.

The myth of “American Exceptionalism” is no longer the norm, even throughout most of the United States. As a matter of fact, the States aren’t even that united anymore, so the very country itself is on the verge of becoming a misnomer.

And yet where America leads, the world does, still, in many ways, follow. This is largely because of the corporate juggernauts that own the U.S. political system, in conjunction with the United States military overreach in nearly every “corner” of the globe, but regardless of the causes the fact that some truth remains in the old myths about…

Activating a reader’s imagination by directing their inner eye

Photo by Mohammad Gh on Unsplash

In cinematography, eye-trace is a technique for directing the viewer's gaze to specific areas of the image across consecutive shots. It’s about understanding how to keep the audience’s gaze coherent from shot to shot, how to subtly direct the points on which they focus — without their even realizing it’s happening. Eye-tracing is one of the fundamental aspects of good filmmaking, but it’s also a vital component of “layered text” when writing prose.

In cinematography, eye-trace is vital because it keeps the viewer’s eyes from darting all over the screen from cut to cut. In long, slow cuts, this might…

we’re told that the goal must always be to “see the other side” but what does this actually mean?

“Leap, Don’t Lag!” says the vintage pro-war-bonds poster.

As we come to the close of the 2020 election cycle with the nomination of President-Elect Joe Biden, many are celebrating the first bit of hope they’ve had in an increasingly difficult year. But for those on the Progressive left, hope is also a cause for concern — because hope can lead to complacency. Because so many people are desperate for a “return to normal” without really understanding what “normal” is and why it’s accepted as such. …

Odin Halvorson

Odin Halvorson is a poet and published short-story author seeking to make the world a better place by beginning with himself.

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