16 December 2005

The Good Fire

Was reading a book this week when I realized something I'd probably noticed before and never put much thought into. In religions (both from novels and the real world), light is a good thing. It's bright, it helps plants grow, many monsters are scared of it and a few can't move in it. Not so for fire.

Balrogs and other demonic creatures are made of fire and shadow. Hell is a fiery pit. If light is a good thing, does firelight not count?

Goe, puzzled by the enigmatic conundrum.


Rachmeg said...

I guess one guy's enigmatic conundrum is another guy's definition.

Isn't it sort of like the old adage that too much of a good thing is bad. Isn't that really the core principle of the self moderation/guilt espoused by so many religions.

In proper moderation a fire can keep you warm, and cook your food, in a lamp it can lead your way, it can cauterize wounds, and purify water. a really good blaze can steam you away from trouble, or help build the weapons to fight it.

Out of control, or left to fester, a fire can suck up all of the very air that you need to live. An out of control forest fire can be so powerful and devastating that all of humanity is unable to stop it, even with all of our modern talents.

And yet even the worst fires still seem like part of the bigger plan. Huge clearing of old growth seems almost a necessary and planned event for the new growth that starts up almost immediately as the smoldering stops.

Rach - pondering if there are any nuclear pine cones.

Goemagog said...

a bright light can blind you, but light is still good.

Goe, puzzled still.

Sanctimonious Hypocrite said...

Obligatory Milton:

A dungeon horrible, on all sides round
As one great furnace flamed;
Yet from those flames
No light, but rather darkness visible
Served only to discover sights of woe,
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades,
Where peace and rest can never dwell...