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Perelandra Chap. 10

An archived study of the second book of Lewis' theological science fiction Space Trilogy.

you've never been in a powder room, I expect

Postby Guest » 28 Feb 2005, 14:09

You're quite right, Stanley, I suppose, that people only read the sign-off line once or twice and then ignore it. This is the first time I've read your sign-off and so it struck me with the usual initial blast of Tolkien literary gun-powder. I expect repeated readings would deprive it of its effect.

In fact, I have been finding it rather unsettling in church now that we memorize Bible passages as a congregation. Our Pastor wants us to commt Bible passages to memory should we ever become blind or deprived of Scripture. It seems ilke a good idea, but week after week, chanting the same verses -- the earlier verses in a passage becoming more and more familiar with the more frequent repetition -- seems rather to weaken the overall effect of the words, rather than strengthen them as one might expect.
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No, but I always try to keep my powder (and my humour) dry

Postby Stanley Anderson » 28 Feb 2005, 15:46

Monica wrote:You're quite right, Stanley, I suppose, that people only read the sign-off line once or twice and then ignore it. This is the first time I've read your sign-off and so it struck me with the usual initial blast of Tolkien literary gun-powder. I expect repeated readings would deprive it of its effect.


Interestingly enough, instead of reading something too many times, I just now had the opposite problem of almost not seeing something at all. I'm referring to your subject line, which, because I reluctantly now use the flat view to save time instead of the threaded view in reading posts, the subject line doesn't stand out the way it does in threaded view. So it is easy to miss seeing it (in fact, the only reason I did see it was that in replying, the "RE:xxx" subject line becomes more prominent). I will make more of an effort to look for subject lines, though most people seem to use the default now (I wonder if the subject line can be made more prominent in the flat view with colour or maybe even blinking letters? -- just kidding about the blinking!:-)

In fact, I have been finding it rather unsettling in church now that we memorize Bible passages as a congregation. Our Pastor wants us to commt Bible passages to memory should we ever become blind or deprived of Scripture. It seems ilke a good idea, but week after week, chanting the same verses -- the earlier verses in a passage becoming more and more familiar with the more frequent repetition -- seems rather to weaken the overall effect of the words, rather than strengthen them as one might expect.


I agree, though I suppose the correct response is that Scripture is not primarily intended for the beautiful sound of its words and phrasing as we might think of for, say, Shakespeare, but for its meaning to influence our thoughts and actions.

And probably an obvious thought running through all our Perelandrian-influenced minds right now is Lewis' comments about "encore". I wonder though if the import of that idea is not so much in the simple repetition as much as in the idea of wanting a repeated viewing or listening or reading of something to give one an identical experience again rather than accepting what comes of the experience with its repetition. In other words, trying to control the reception of the experience -- "the wave that comes" as Lewis describes in Perelandra. One has a different experience reading a book the first time than the second or third which tend to be deeper. And in fact, it suddenly occurs to me that Lewis sort of expresses this at the end of The Last Battle with the "further up and further in" idea of the inner Narnias being bigger and deeper and richer than the ones they have just come from. If the people there are disappointed that the new Narnia is not exactly like the old, that would mean they are actually cutting off new appreciation and growth rather than lamenting the loss of the old as they might think.

But I'm not sure of any of this -- just guesswork and tossing out ideas,
--Stanley
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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Re: No, but I always try to keep my powder (and my humour) d

Postby Guest » 12 Mar 2005, 17:57

Stanley,

Don't change your sign-off! I have not grown tired of it yet - I'm relatively new to this forum and this particular quote from LOTR has meant a great deal to me. I have returned to it quite a few times: the curtain of the this world will be lifted. What a thought! Why did you pick this quote?

Come to think of it I want the curtain of this world to be lifted every day, every moment. Today I looked in the familiar faces of the dear people whom I have known for years and a feeling came: they don't understand me the way I long to be understood... At heart we are lonely. I wish for the curtain of this world to be lifted so that I can see people as they are and they will see me as I am.

When I think of an endless winter (I live in Russia) stretching till middle April a bird starts promising me that this year the summer will really come. Only it doesn't... At least not that summer I long for. Summers come to Russia suddenly, almost without warning. But the Summer that I wish for remains hidden and veiled. I wish for the curtain of this world to be lifted.

After a week of daily grind I feel as if I have turned into some kind of machine, unable to have joy. I take things for granted. My feelings tell me that everything is ordinary and plain. I explain everything in practical terms, listen to my 3-year-old daughter's funny Russian without the usual smile, squint at the bright sun instead of looking at it with eyes wide open (though it would surely hurt :)), eat the salad my wife made without noticing the basil that she added just for me and never look at the sky. But then, after taking a breath or two a feeling comes: reality as you see it is often a fraud. I wish for the curtain of this world to be lifted!

I can't agree more about memorizing Scripture. There was a time I did it a lot following the well-meaning advice. But then my palate got so used to it that I almost lost all taste. I took a break from the Bible and plunged into Lowis, Tolkien, Chasterton, Dostoyevski and John Eldredge, and after a while the taste for the Bible started coming back to me with a new force.

Chesterton by the way also write about encore, but in a different sense. In Lewis repetition makes a thing dull. Chesterton says that God repeats the sunrise every morning without tiring for as long as the world stands. For him it's obviously not boring. He's like a child who can do the same thing incessantly because it's simply exciting.

Isn't it a curious balance that one the one hand repetition of, say, Bible verses makes them dull, but on the other hand repetition of the Bible's ideas (in different forms) is a divine encore?
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