There’s a wonderful character in Tolkien’s book Lord of the Rings – Smeagol. Smeagol is a hobbit, a member of a small, friendly and insular species of human like creatures. One day Smeagol discovers a ring. When the wearer slips it on it makes him invisible. It grants long life. But the ring possesses an insidious power. The wearer finds himself developing an obsession with the ring, a terrible fear that he might lose it, that someone might take it from him. Over time Smeagol becomes so obsessed that he withdraws from community to live below ground, cradling “my precioussss” as he calls it. His greed for the ring changes the shape of his body and his spirit. He becomes mean spirited, vindictive, jealous. He grows slimy and thin. The ring becomes his undoing.

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