The Palantír

The Palantír

Gandalf rides to Isengard to seek Saruman`s council. Saruman explains how Sauron has regained his former strength but cannot yet take physical form. Moreover, he stares at Gandalf with a look that tells much more than his words. His eyes exude excitement and eagerness over the finding of the One Ring.

He is gathering all evil to him. Very soon, he`ll have summoned an army great enough to launch an assault upon Middle-Earth.

Saruman the White

Everything Saruman says, he has seen it through the palantír. The Dúnedain used the palantíri to communicate with each other over large distances. However, not all palantíri are accounted for. Therefore no one can know who is watching.

These Seeing-stones are open to interpretation. The user of the palantír could make it show specific images so as to give a false impression on the viewer, which Sauron used to his advantage.

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Interpretation of communication

The potency of images in communication can lead to misinterpretation. One might be purposefully misleading the other. Or if not, the other might mislead himself, because of his own pre-existing context.

I find the palantíri something wonderful. They represent almost any kind of communication and its accompanying problematic. People have a tendency to interpret what has been said or shown, in their own way. This is predetermined by their own context, their own experiences, and world views. Which is why people take offense and why fights ensue.

In a conversation, be it face-to-face or through imagery, the giver says or shows something. The receiver may find this insulting. Most of the time, neither one of them will be interested in knowing how this information has been received or how the giver meant it.

If the giver only asked for feedback from the receiver on how he understood the interaction and they discuss it, there would be no need for fights or insults. Both of them would come out of it unscathed. However, people jump to conclusions very quickly.

What are your views on the interpretation of communication?

Featured image by Ana Segota.

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