The Lord of the Rings is an epic high-fantasy novel by English author and scholar J. R. R. Tolkien. Set in Middle-earth, intended to be Earth at some time in the distant past, a group of humans, dwarfs and elves set out on a journey to destroy the ring to rule them all and therefore forever banish the evil out of this world.
During their travels, the fellowship encounters all sorts of puzzles, intrigues and literal fights to the death. Sounds pretty meh, to be honest.
I can’t think of many instances where Frodo suddenly went:
“Oh I really enjoy this ride with my fellas through Mordor. Everywhere there lurks danger, a bald version of myself in 50 years is following us around and we have no clue how to get to our goal. It’s lovely”
And he has every right to be shattered and depressed because of the situation he’s in and the burden he has to carry weighs on his shoulders tremendously.
I argue, however, that there couldn’t have happened a better chain of events for him and his fellowship.
And I’ll explain why in a second after we take a look at this amazing camera shot.
Frodo catching the ring of Sauron, oh god what is this dumb fool doing?
The Way I See It…
If you want to live a meaningful life, you have to choose a life of suffering to some extent.
Pain has the function of teaching us to avoid things that harm our bodies.
Just as hunger drives us to eat and lust drives us to have sex, pain keeps us from doing things that might harm us.
But this raises a conundrum: If the purpose of pain and fear and sadness and all is to avoid them, then why do we sometimes seek them out?
There is a world of difference between chosen suffering and unchosen suffering.
Unchosen suffering like chronic pain is in most cases bad for you and you can perish from it.
The wealth lies in the chosen suffering and Frodo chose it.
He didn’t choose to be hunted down by a giant Tarantula in particular but he chose to advance on the most difficult path in order to help the people he loves.
He was well aware that it wasn’t going to be an easy journey and that he may even die pursuing his mission.
Nonetheless, he weighed the risk-reward in favor of actually trying to complete the task.
The difficulty is part of what makes it work. Part of what makes it worthwhile.
If it’s not hard on some level, if you don’t look back on it and cringe a little bit, it’s probably not useful.
Frodo established bonds for a lifetime by sticking together during the worst scenarios imaginable.
Through all the hardships he and his friends endured, they gained a whole new perspective on life and on the importance of noticing even the tiniest wonders of our beautiful world. Simply because things could also look very different.
What Do We Conclude?
The Lord Of The Rings is one of the best movie trilogies to exist of course.
And our idea of what a meaningful experience or goal in life really is requires some degree of suffering.
Suffering could be physical pain. It could be a difficulty, or it could be a concern. It could be the possibility of failure.
But without that, the experience is not meaningful.
We need pain and suffering to live a rich and happy life.