Why Does Melkor Crave the Flame Imperishable but Cannot Find It?

A blooming flower

Why does Melkor crave the Flame Imperishable?

Before aught else was made, Iluvatar sent the Secret Fire to burn at the heart of the world, and the vision of the world came alive (Ea).

The Secret Fire gave Being to the vision of the Ainur, and Iluvatar set this Being amid the Void – as light shining in the darkness.

Melkor is ever seeking after the Secret Fire (Flame Imperishable) but cannot find it because it is with Iluvatar.

But why is he seeking Light if he is so bent on perpetuating Darkness?

It is said:

He had gone often alone into the void places seeking the Imperishable Flame; for desire grew hot within him to bring into Being things of his own, and it seemed to him that Ilúvatar took no thought for the Void, and he was impatient of its emptiness. Yet he found not the Fire, for it is with Ilúvatar.

The reason he craved the Secret Fire is that he wanted to bring into Being things of his own imagining but could not.

When you stray from the Music – the thought of Iluvatar – you cannot sub-create.

You can only mutilate what’s already been created.

Sub-creation is the province of those who are in tune with The Tune.

Melkor deems himself God and wants to create Being.

But, having become the prisoner of the “imagining of his own mind,” he cannot create – he can only distort what’s already there.

His desire to create Being burns hot in him, but all he sees around him is Void.

The emptiness of the Void makes him impatient.

Every heartless villain can feel their own emptiness. They are keenly aware that all their attempts at creating Being end up creating more emptiness.

They grow “impatient of this emptiness” – it burns them from inside – and they want to assuage it with Light.

Wherever they go, they look for the Light but cannot find it because it is with Iluvatar.

Like Ungoliant, Melkor craves and hates Light at the same time.

Thence she had crept towards the light of the Blessed Realm; for she hungered for light and hated it.

And:

The Eldar knew not whence she came; but some have said that in ages long before she descended from the darkness that lies about Arda, when Melkor first looked down in envy upon the Kingdom of Manwë…

Ungolint was ever hungry for the Light but no matter how much of it she consumed she remained famished.

In a ravine she lived, and took shape as a spider of monstrous form, weaving her black webs in a cleft of the mountains. There she sucked up all light that she could find, and spun it forth again in dark nets of strangling gloom, until no light more could come to her abode; and she was famished.

Even after destroying the Two Trees and sucking up all their sap, she was still thirsty.

And still she thirsted, and going to the Wells of Varda she drank them dry; but Ungoliant belched forth black vapours as she drank, and swelled to a shape so vast and hideous that Melkor was afraid.

Ungoliant is an echo of Melkor’s own emptiness. It burns him, he seeks to fill it up but cannot because he is out of tune with the Music.

The more Light he consumes, the more Darkness he finds himself entangled in.

So why does Melkor crave the Flame Imperishable?

In every good story, the villain always wants to marry a beauty.

They secretly hope to get to the Flame Imperishable that way – vicariously.

They want to experience it through somebody else who is in tune with the Music.

By tuning The Music out, Melkor cannot relate to Beauty.

He is consumed by his own emptiness and hates Iluvatar for being heedless of the Void.

That’s why he wants to dim the Light wherever he sees it.

What is the Secret Fire and how do we get it?

The Secret Fire is the breath of Iluvatar that makes all things alive.

There’s only one way for us to get it – it is given as a gift by Iluvatar himself.

No one can get it through the back door.

It’s granted freely to anyone who would tune in to The Music.

Never since have the Ainur made any music like to this music, though it has been said that a greater still shall be made before Ilúvatar by the choirs of the Ainur and the Children of Ilúvatar after the end of days. Then the themes of Ilúvatar shall be played aright, and take Being in the moment of their utterance, for all shall then understand fully his intent in their part, and each shall know the comprehension of each, and Ilúvatar shall give to their thoughts the secret fire, being well pleased.

After the end of days, the Children of Iluvatar will join the Ainur in creating Being.

And Iluvatar will give their utterances the secret fire, being well pleased.

When each comprehends the intent of Iluvatar in their part and fully comprehends the comprehension of each, then we will become sub-creators. Participants in the Great Music.

Whatever emptiness we had, it will dissipate.

The void place we used to roam will blossom:

Thirsty deserts will be glad; barren lands will celebrate and blossom with flowers. Isaiah 35:1

And so it says:

The places of the dwelling of Ilúvatar were filled to overflowing, and the music and the echo of the music went out into the Void, and it was not void.

The Void will be filled to overflowing and will no longer be void.

Melkor desires to be a sub-creator, feeling his own emptiness.

But being so full of himself he remains empty.

Consumed by his own imaginings, he doesn’t hear the Music and cannot create Being.

When we are full of ourselves, we live in emptiness.

We walk alone in the void places, seeking the Flame Imperishable, but cannot find it.

To fill our inner Void, we need to learn our part in the Music and sing it along with others.

To him who learns his part and sings it along with the heavenly choirs, Iluvatar grants the greatest gift of all – the privilege to fill the Void to overflowing with the melodies that take Being in the moment of their utterance.

This is the Secret Fire of Iluvatar that burns at the heart of the Ea, and whoever wants to partake of it is invited to join the dance.

How to Be Enough with Who I Am?

Insight from an egret.

Eugene Terekhin Feb 23 · 2 min read

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screen capture by author

How to be enough with who I am? Here’s the secret of an egret.

I was walking along the creek, feeling empty. I didn’t even know why. There was this unsettling feeling that something was amiss.

I know this feeling so well. It haunts me. It always tells me the same thing over and over: the moment you are in is not good enough. You need to skip it and go to some blessed future.

Engrossed in my thoughts, I saw an egret in the shallow waters, standing on one leg. It pointed its beak down, waiting patiently for its breakfast, looking perfectly content.

It was sure it would get its fish. Life was good.

It looked up and saw me. So serene and unperturbed it was in its immovable stance that I couldn’t help but stop.

“Are you in a hurry?” the bird asked me silently, like a white marble statue.

“Yes, I need to get so much done,” replied my weary soul.

“Why?”

“Because I need more.”

“You already have it all,” said the egret, deftly shooting its beak into the water and pulling out a small fish.

“If you use this moment only to get to the next one, you will never enjoy what you already have.”

“What’s there to enjoy?” I mumbled.

Without a reply, the egret spread its huge wings slowly and gracefully over the murky waters and took to the sky. Swooping over my head, it almost allowed me to pat its curved neck.

I stood in awe, speechless. For a moment, my cluttered mind cleared, and the wind brought a distant echo:

“Enjoy being who you are.”

The wind bloweth where it will, and you will hear its voice every once in a while, saying: “Who are you?”

“Are you enjoying being yourself? Or are you using this moment as a means to an end?”

I teared up.

My winged prophet was disappearing in the clouds, carrying a small fish in its beak.

“I also have a few small fish,” thought I, and my heart soared on the wings of a sudden insight.

“I have enough. I can feed the world with who I am.”

A quiet pond
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The Song of the Void: The Self-fish story

In the blue-blue sea there lived a fish called Self-fish. What a strange name, you might say. Who gives such a name? Well, it’s actually a whole group of fish. They are called “Self-fish” by other sea creatures who are sure about themselves that they don’t belong to this category.

She knew very well who she was – Self-fish. Of that she was reminded daily.

“Stop thinking about yourself all the time. You never care about others,” the others chided.

“Why are you looking at yourself all the time?”

“If you weren’t Self-fish, you would have had more compassion on our poor nerves.”

“Why am I Self-fish?” thought Self-fish. “I have to change. From now on I will think about others all the time.”

And that’s what she did. Tired of being shamed and blamed, she decided she would be looking out for the interest of others. She was hoping that others would start appreciating her more and more and would finally stop calling her Self-fish. But the more she tried to please them, the less they seemed pleased. In fact, they blamed her all the more. “You should think more about others and less about yourself! Shame on you, Self-fish.” Continue reading “The Song of the Void: The Self-fish story”

Loneliness – Social Media Exploits Your Need of Validation

According to G.K. Chesterton, truth is often paradoxical. It’s hard to believe that the problem of loneliness is actually rooted in too much interaction.

But this is what Sean Parker’s uncanny insight seems to suggest. Sean Parker is the founding president of Facebook. He explained in an interview why it’s so hard to resist the impulse to constantly check your social media – even while you are driving.

He shared how social media gradually hook you up.

“When Facebook was getting going, I had these people who would come up to me and they would say, ‘I’m not on social media.’ And I would say, ‘OK. You know, you will be.’” Now that this prediction is more than fulfilled, the question is even more intriguing.

Social Media AddictionSocial Media Addiction Engineering

How did they do it?

Sean explains that the founders used basic human psychology – our need for approval. Social media are nothing but a social-validation feedback loop.

It works like this – the moment you contribute some content and people like it, share it or comment on it, you get a little dopamine hit. This makes you want to contribute more content, which, in turn, gives you another hit.

You want more likes and comments. We all like to be liked (who knew?) – and social media provides that.

This fact is not easy to swallow – social media work because we are seeking validation. When we feel lonely, cut off, isolated, we want to get rid of this feeling at all costs. But does “interaction” on social media actually help us solve the problem of loneliness?

Far from it. Of course, we will temporarily feel “high.” Like a shot of whisky, it will medicate the distressing feeling of loneliness for a while. But when its tranquilizing effects wear off, we will feel even emptier than before, craving for more validation.

More likes, more comments, more shares. Our inner void will be growing and gradually become a gaping hole, an insatiable inner monster that gets hungrier with every attempt to feed it. Continue reading “Loneliness – Social Media Exploits Your Need of Validation”