The Individual & The Road | #Growth | #Life | #Perspective | #Choices

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
– Lao Tzu
Zy Marquiez
April 12, 2019

Life is a journey in myriad ways.  What journey each individual takes is a personal choice, but choices abound.

Just like life offers you no choice whether you get to play the game of life, life offers you no choice whether to be on a path or not.  Each of us are taking individual steps towards a specific bearing, in a particular direction, on a certain path.  Each breath we take, each step we take, paves the current road we undertake, and the road that will forge itself ahead.

Whether individuals wish to take a literal journey (traveling to lands unknown), a spiritual journey (going to spiritual locales), a metaphorical journey (by reading a book or playing a video game), an imaginative journey (be creating a new path, a new journey) or something else, the choices are varied and intriguing as they are vast in scope.

Each path offers a drastically different adventure, not unlike what the great books of our past offered.  Timeless books such as The Lord Of The Rings, The Divine Comedy, Don Quixote, The Odyssey, Paradise Lost, The Aeneid, and countless others, all offer a veritable quest under which the protagonist goes on the road of life, the personal journey.  These roads taken, these journeys, mirror that of individuals in fictional form.

It is my contention that individuals gravitate towards these stories and myriad others because these mirror some of the more profound truths of life while wrapped in a journey of self-discovery that is always interesting to sink one’s mind into.  That said, some of these truths on the road to self-discovery are aided by a character that is rarely is ever considered.

One could argue that this journey of self-discovery is aided by the most significant character you as an individual will encounter on the open road: the road itself.

Lord Of The Rings features the idea of the Road as a character in salient fashion.

In fact, Frodo opines on this notion in the Lord of the Rings, where he cautiously recalls what Bilbo sought to impart:

“[Bilbo] used often to say there was only one Road; that it was a great river: its springs were at every doorstep, and every path was its tributary.  “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door,” he used to say.  “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”[1]

Not unlike cautioning contact with a stranger, the main lesson Bilbo wished to impart on Frodo was that there was more to ‘the Road’ than it seems at first blush.

To this end, in his noteworthy book, On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road Of Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis, author Louis Markos Ph.D. states:

“…the Road has a life of its own.  It winds, bends, and turns in a thousand directions, ever ready to trap or mislead the unwary traveler.  To set your feet to the Road is indeed a dangerous business, not only on account of the obstacles that you face along the way, but because the Road is akin to a living thing with which you must relate, struggle, and negotiate.  It draws and lures you, tests and challenges you, either punishing or rewarding you for your troubles.”[2][Bold Emphasis Added]

Maybe the above notion is perhaps why certain individuals – like myself at times – have been reticent at at certain points to participate in certain journeys, whatever those may be.  Perhaps deep down inside, this Road is life itself acting and showing us lessons, while being active because life by its very definition is aliveAn interesting proposition to consider.

Perhaps it is fear of engaging with a greater something, something more significant.  Fear is what held me back many times in life, and perhaps it was fear of ‘the Road’ – the journey; a possible derivative of life.

Side bar: there are many personal journeys of myriad types that I either did not engage in, and some of which I have chosen to take, though not always of my own accord initially.  The commonalities each set of choices share is that those journeys I took, irrespective of what paths they were, always made me grow as a person.  Conversely, the paths I did not take always left me feeling as if something unexplored withered to the sands of time.

Each of us individuals have paths we take, stories we live, and a future to unravel.  What future that is will be highly dependent on what journey we undertake, and that’s saliently dependent upon whether we are open-minded to possibilities, or close-minded.

As individuals, each of us is not unlike Bilbo, where he was incredibly guarded of the Road.  This could be because, deep down inside, at the being level, we must face something we have never faced before – ourselves – just as Luke Skywalker did in the cave.

Getting back on course, on this very notion of the Road, Markos notes:

“Since the Odyssey, nearly every epic hero has had to face at some point in his journey-quest the archetypal Descent into the Underworld.  In the case of Virgil’s Aenid, Aeneas enters the realm of Hades as a grieving and defeated Trojan, but emerges as the Father of the Roman Empire.  In the case of Dante’s Inferno, Dante enters the yawning pit of Hell as a confused and despairing pilgrim who has lost his way, but emerges as a renewed believer who his regained his purpose, vision and calling.”[3]

These two examples show the development a character, an individual, may undergo under such a path.  This is because:

“It is dangerous thing to walk out your door, but without risk there is no real development, no self-knowledge, no awareness of the choices that one must make.”[4]

Without going on a personal quest, on a journey of this magnitude, there is no significant growth.

And isn’t that one of the ideas life is about, growth, the personal evolution of the individual?

Consider that the Road was incredibly important to Tolkien.  Given its significance, Tolkien deliberately chooses to show the road in the very first chapter of Lord Of The Rings:

“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can.”(I.i.35)

“Far ahead the Road has gone,” implying the Road is alive, just like life.

To hammer-down the point, Tolkien anchors the road, anchors his book in the closing chapter, sprinkling a newfound vision of what the road offers:

“Still round the corner they may wait
A new road or a secret gate;
And though I oft have passed them by,
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths
that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.”[6][Bold Emphasis Added]

“A day will come at last when I shall take the hidden paths”.  Paths that that aren’t readily discovered but are there; paths that are waiting for discovery by the individual.

All the answers lie within those two poems, all the answers lie within the road – within life itself.

Whatever road you – the individual – choose to take will ultimately give you a broader view of the possibilities that life offers, the possibilities that your personal quest holds.

Regardless, hidden paths await; roads of self-discovery, roads of growth.

Personal roads that can only be walked by you the individual.


[1] Louis Markos Ph.D., On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road Of Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis, quoted from Lord Of The Rings, p. (I.iii.72).
[2] Ibid., pp. 41-42.
[3] Ibid., pp. 45-46.
[4] Ibid., pg. 44.
[5] Ibid., p. 59, quoted from Lord Of The Rings, p. (I.i.35).
[6] Ibid., p. 59, quoted from Lord Of The Rings, p. (VI.ix.1005).

Suggested Reading:

Have You Ever Walked On The Moon?
Wings Are Made To Fly, Seeds Are Made To Grow
Consciousness – The Key To Life
Why A Sound Mindset Is Crucial: The Light Side Of Mindset Vs. The Dark Side Of Mindset
Mindset Mindset Mindset!
A Sound Mindset Amidst The Obstacles Of Life
Bruce Lee On Conformity & Open-Mindedness
Mindwaves & Mindfulness
Modern Misteps Meet Mindfulness
Breakaway Individuals Throughout History: The Individual, The Trailblazers & You
How You Deposit A Truckload Of Black Pearls Into An Emotional Bank Account
How Are Your (Emotional) Bank Accounts Doing?
Emotional Bank Accounts: Investing In Yourself
Emotional Bank Accounts: Withdraw Withdraw Withdraw!
Emotional Bank Accounts: Mutual Funds
Emotional Bank Accounts: Deposits & Withdraws
Emotional Bank Accounts: Interest Rates
Emotional Bank Accounts: Gems Gems Gems, Babies Everywhere!
Emotional Bank Accounts: I Call Your 7 Cents & Raise You A Dollar
Poker & Life: Pulling The Friend’s Card
Poker & Life: Playing The Ignorance Card For Safety Reasons
Imagination Unleashed
The Inherent Power Of Curiosity
A 7 Cent Investment Into An Emotional Bank Account To Convert A Hater?
What Do You Find Inspiring?
Poker FlashBack: Swimming With Sharks, Swimming With Whales
Imagination Rises Out Of The Jaws Of Defeat
What’s Your Story?
You The Individual Are Author Of Your Own Journey, Of Your Own Destiny
Harry Potter Fans Trash Talk?  Say WHAT?!
Consciously Creating The Road Of Change, The World Of Tomorrow
What Are Your Personal Defaults?
The Opening Salvo, The First Minute
The Seeds Of Today, The World Of Tomorrow
Assumptions Are Mother Of All F@!$ Ups
Piercing Perspectives #1: Taking Things For Granted | Health & Mindset
Piercing Perspectives #2: You The Individual Are Extraordinary
Piercing Perspectives #3: The Divide & Conquer Left Right Paradigm
Piercing Perspectives #4: Poker As A Mirror For Life
The Individual, The Foundation Of Society

If you find value in this information, feel free to share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and

About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

#Book Review: On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To #Virtue By Tolkien & Lewis by Louis Markos Ph.D. | #SmartReads
Zy Marquiez
April 3, 2019

On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis by Louis Markos Ph.D. is a book that seeks to rediscover virtues, as they were known to be in older times.  These virtues are exemplified through the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.

Peter Kreeft Ph.D., author of book gems such as Socratic Logic, Philosophy 101, et al., opens up the book with an apt foreword, which is followed by a salient introduction by the author Markos.

In the introduction Louis Markos outlines the fact that modern society needs a revived awareness in virtues, which have been lost but were inherent to individuals once upon a time.  The author also covers why fantasy and stories, such as those by Tolkien and Lewis, are vital in showcasing these lost virtues.  Also, the author likewise gives us some background information on the subject of  virtue, as well as what his approach will be in the breakdown of the messages and morals that he later tackles.

Although the book covers both Tolkien and Lewis’ work, the larger portion will be of Tolkien’s work.  In a rough guesstimate, the book is perhaps two thirds Tolkien to one third Lewis or so.  This does in no way take away from the meaning of the book, but it’s something that the reader perhaps might want to know.  At least for me, the book was beyond priceless given the subject matter.

In addition, the reason that the author has chosen to cover Tolkien and Lewis’ work is because “though Tolkien was not a fan of The Chronicles of Narnia, the fact remains that the two men shared the same premodern Christian understanding of good and evil, virtue and vice, beauty and ugliness.”[1][Emphasis Added]

Since both authors have such similar philosophies, drawing from each authors’ works is in fact a ‘no-brainer’.

At the nascent stage of each chapter, the author begins with a particular message and/or moral that has been overlooked by modern society, and then that particular theme is then analytically coupled to information from The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, or The Silmarillion, with the information further complemented with a passage from The Chronicles Of Narnia that helps buttress the theme further.

One neat part about each of these chapters, and then lessons woven and analyzed therein, is that there is a variety of ways one can learn from these given the information provided.  Given that the subjects of these books are so vital to healthy and robust human principles, having intriguing discussions regarding these themes should be something ruminated upon at length.  Families or friends could discuss the information bouncing it back and forth in thought, or it could even be covered in homeschooling or group discussion perhaps.  The book could even provide a platform for discussion in formal schooling in highschool or college, considering how important virtue, morality, and goodness are to a healthy society[3].  The fact that the lessons are woven within the stories of Tolkien and Lewis only make these subjects that much more approachable, since their works tend to hold the intrigue of individuals.

In plain speak, what the author seeks to accomplish is help the individual learn why the works of Tolkien and Lewis are not only highly respected, but why their works resonate deeply at the being level.

Each of the examples from the books of Lewis and Tolkien are quiet salient ones, and very meaningful.  In fact, some of the examples provided could arguably be some of the sagest lines written by each author, at least for this book’s purposes.

For what it’s worth, the book is split up into three sections.  In section one, the author’s main focus was the proverbial road – the individual journey – that each individually embarks upon which resonates with our deepest being.  Markos does a very remarkable job in showing how the quest that the characters in each of respective novels follows a specific journey, and in much the same way mirrors what individual people might go through in life.  Section two covers four classical virtues, while Section three breaks down three theological virtues, which contain also a fourth, which regard friendship, and was one of my favorite parts of the book.  Those latter stages really exemplify those virtues in the authors’ work in a way that aids the reader in realizing what society has lost, and how to help reboot the road to virtue.

At its closing stages, the book finishes with a very robust and enlightening Bibliographical Essay [Appendix A] regarding J.R.R. Tolkien and Middle Earth, which features substantial additional information regarding all things Tolkien.  A very notable addition for any serious fan, and will even prove useful for some casual fans that might not know where to start.  As someone who’s beginning to study Tolkien at length, this part is absolutely invaluable.

The second bibliographical essay [Appendix B] touches upon C.S. Lewis and Narnia.  In similar fashion, the resources covering Lewis are discussed at length, and in rather trenchant fashion.  Markos does an exemplary job of really going above in beyond with both essays in supplanting a veritable truckload of information for individuals – enough to keep you busy in contemplation for years surely!

All things considered, this book really gives the incisive and inquisitive mind much to ruminate upon, and for me it’s undoubtedly a great book, and a worthy book to have in any personal library.

In fact, considering the topic at hand – regarding society’s lost virtues – one could even make the bold argument that it’s even a great piece of modern literature.  Regarding that, perhaps Peter Kreeft said it best in the book’s foreword:

“That’s why reading great literature; next to meeting people is the single most effective way to learn not to flunk lifeLife is a story, therefore moral education happens first and foremost powerfully through stories, e.g., through books.”[2][Bold & Underline Emphasis Added]

This book in particular, is not only educational, but helps readers sensibly reconnect with virtues that are going by the wayside.  And in an age where society’s virtues keep getting overlooked, a book like this is worth its weight in gold.  That alone is worth the price of this book.


[1] Louis Markos Ph.D., On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis, p. 15.
[2] Ibid., Peter Kreeft, Foreword, On The Shoulders Of Hobbits, p. 8.
[3] The fact that these topics are NOT discussed in school should be a huge, obvious, glaring omission that requires additional extrapolation in the future.

Suggested Reading & Vewing:

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Exploring J.R.R. Tokien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen Ph.D.
Lord Of The Rings: How To Read J.R.R. Tolkien [Presentation]
The Vision Of Freedom That Tolkien Got & The West Forgot [Video]

If you find value in this information, please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and

About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.