This forum was closed on October 1st, 2010. However, the archives are open to the public and filled with vast amounts of good reading and information for you to enjoy. If you wish to meet some Wardrobians, please visit the Into the Wardrobe Facebook group.

Chapter 2

One chapter per week study of a book that profoundly influenced C. S. Lewis.

Chapter 2

Postby Guest » 11 Apr 2005, 02:19

I'm not quite sure how to approach the book yet, I'm not reading ahead so I'll just feel my way as I go. My impression, so far, is that we've not yet gotten into the ratiocinative (can't believe I'm using that word) portions of the book. It continues to seem to me much like ch.1, a lot of images presented in "poetic" fashion. Nonetheless, these images are very philosophical in nature and seem to be pregnant with meaning; Socrates called himself a midwife didn't he?; no doubt he could give birth to quite a lot from these passages!

I thought that this chapter was also easy to understand. In the poem, it is now Philosophia we hear, not B. She, too, describes B. as having found a new "position" in life. B. is described, again, as "sunk in steep depths below," "into the darkness," "prostrate" (religious significance?), and "downward." Again, this present condition is compared to the life enjoyed before, "Of old he roamed without restraint beneath the open sky," "plumbed," and "scrutinized."

To me, the significance of this "position" can be expressed by saying that there has been a rupture with "everyday life" that opens up the dreadful possibility that life may be seen from a new perspective, from within an abyss. Notice that Philosophia was not with him until this calamity and then, within it, she comes (back) to him. The position is, in a sense, a prerequisite to being open to receive her. And, when she comes, it is to heal. And I notice that B. bears responsibility for forsaking Philosophia; he cast her off, abandoned her. How does she find him? Stupefied. And, in classic philosophical expression, he has forgotten who he is. But all this can be remedied.

I guess all I can say is that I find this description of what is happening as true to life and valid. From a philosophical perspective, I think this is an accurate picture of how life proceeds. The literary figure that comes to my mind is Ivan Ilyich. Ivan found himself in very much the same situation. In fact, the stupefication has Ivan referring to "nothingness" as IT. He cannot even find, in his ordinary manner of speaking, words to describe this horrifying, dreadful, encounter with death. Of course, is not the personal encounter with death the ultimate expression of what Boethius is experiencing?
Guest
 

Re: Chapter 2

Postby Guest » 15 Apr 2005, 21:39

ACK! I'm running late! I will have Ch. 2 read and will post by tomorrow. ;) Sorry...won't happen again... :blush: :)
Guest
 

Re: Chapter 2

Postby magpie » 15 Apr 2005, 22:07

This chapter reminded me of something which I had once known but far too long ago forgotten. In her poem, Philosophy makes copious references to Boethius' previous pursuits of what we might today term scientific knowledge. In our modern academic divisions, philosophy and science often seem diametrically opposed, when in fact science was once called "natural philosophy," and what many call philosophy was often called "metaphysics." This unity of knowledge would be born out by the theta and pi on her robe, which Richard Green explains were a reference to the two branches of philosophy, the theoretical and the practical. It also reminded me of the spiritual epiphany which Job experienced when God appeared in the whirlwind proclaiming God's mighty acts of Creation.

The stupification which Boethius expresses seems very similar to the condition of the sinner who is experiencing "conviction" prior to his conversion to new life. I find interesting parallels between this scene and some of the descriptions given by William James in The Varieties of Religious Experience which I am presently rereading.

I am still confused why Philosophy asks whether he is silent from shame or shock. Why is it either/or? Perhaps this is just a rhetorical question, but it seems to me that the two, far from being mutually exclusive, would in this case be complementary.
"Love is the will to extend one's self in order to nurture one's own or another's spiritual growth."
M. Scott Peck

Member of the Religious Tolerance Cabal of the Wardrobe
User avatar
magpie
Wardrobian
 
Posts: 1096
Joined: Feb 2005
Location: Minnesota

Re: Chapter 2

Postby Guest » 16 Apr 2005, 21:56

Well, I'm fresh out of shattering revelations for the moment...a bit dried up, I guess. ;)

After this she fell silent for a while and the very forbearance of her silence made me turn my attention to her.


The imagery of this is simply astonishing. It is evocative without using one single physical description, and yet the image of Boethius and Philosophy is vivid in my mind.

No one finds it easy to accept the lot Fortune has sent him.


This whole section is just chock-full of all kinds of truisms--things we all know, but don't always have at the forefront of our minds. For some reason, when she talked about fame, I started thinking of certain celebrities that just rule the Western Hemsiphere. It is humbling to remember that at some point, all of these earthly glories will be swept away like chaff in the wind. Backtracking a bit, I also really enjoyed the section of discourse on how limited wealth is--it doesn't increase as it goes out, but rather impoverishes. A very interesting standard by which to measure things...

Finally, the part about Fortune revealing B.'s friends hit very close to home for me. I recently have gone through something that has done that, and have been grappling for some time with it. But this left me comfort...for the first time, I was Philosophy's audience and not an observer of the drama between her and B. And I now have a different perspective on my situation.

Ahhhh, gotta love those old books....
Guest
 

Re: Chapter 2

Postby magpie » 16 Apr 2005, 22:07

The Medieval Chick wrote:Well, I'm fresh out of shattering revelations for the moment...a bit dried up, I guess. ;)

This whole section is just chock-full of all kinds of truisms--things we all know, but don't always have at the forefront of our minds. For some reason, when she talked about fame, I started thinking of certain celebrities that just rule the Western Hemsiphere. It is humbling to remember that at some point, all of these earthly glories will be swept away like chaff in the wind. Backtracking a bit, I also really enjoyed the section of discourse on how limited wealth is--it doesn't increase as it goes out, but rather impoverishes. A very interesting standard by which to measure things...

Finally, the part about Fortune revealing B.'s friends hit very close to home for me. I recently have gone through something that has done that, and have been grappling for some time with it. But this left me comfort...for the first time, I was Philosophy's audience and not an observer of the drama between her and B. And I now have a different perspective on my situation.


Ditto, ditto, ditto. For someone who is "dried up" you have some great insights. I am going back to reread the chapter now that you have given me more to chew on. Thanks much!
"Love is the will to extend one's self in order to nurture one's own or another's spiritual growth."
M. Scott Peck

Member of the Religious Tolerance Cabal of the Wardrobe
User avatar
magpie
Wardrobian
 
Posts: 1096
Joined: Feb 2005
Location: Minnesota

Re: Chapter 2

Postby Guest » 20 Apr 2005, 12:37

magpie wrote:I am still confused why Philosophy asks whether he is silent from shame or shock. Why is it either/or? Perhaps this is just a rhetorical question, but it seems to me that the two, far from being mutually exclusive, would in this case be complementary.
I thought she was implying that his silence was from both. Shock, for finding himself in his situation and shame because he had abandoned philosophy.
Guest
 

Re: Chapter 2

Postby coryy » 18 May 2005, 23:36

Are you still reading? Is there a specific edition we should read from? Do I have time to catch up? I started this one 2 babies ago and haven't ever gotten back to it, so I'd love to join in if it's not too late.
coryy
Wardrobian
 
Posts: 127
Joined: May 2005

Re: Chapter 2

Postby Guest » 19 May 2005, 00:15

Heya! I think we got stalled on Book I, Section 3, but I am wanting to continue. Rudi's the one pretty much in charge of this, but maybe I can post a new topic to continue when you're ready and caught up??? Not sure...

I am using the Watts translation, which I highly highly highly recommend.

Rudi??? You out there??? :)
Guest
 

Re: Chapter 2

Postby magpie » 19 May 2005, 14:46

I sent a PM to rudif some time ago wondering if I should go ahead and begin a thread for Book 1, section 4, but he never answered, so I also am waiting in limbo. I am not certain what the procedure is from now on.
"Love is the will to extend one's self in order to nurture one's own or another's spiritual growth."
M. Scott Peck

Member of the Religious Tolerance Cabal of the Wardrobe
User avatar
magpie
Wardrobian
 
Posts: 1096
Joined: Feb 2005
Location: Minnesota

Re: Chapter 2

Postby john » 19 May 2005, 15:25

I've been informed that Rudi will not be able to continue this.

In that case, somebody will have to PM me with their intention to continue where Rudi left off, or else I'll lock it until it can resume at some future time.
john (aka DrZeus)
Chief Wardrobian
User avatar
john
Chief Wardrobian
 
Posts: 6462
Joined: Jul 1996
Location: near seattle


Return to The Consolation of Philosophy

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered members and 1 guest

cron