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Ch 3e: pp 40-44

For the Medieval Dinosaur in all of us.

Ch 3e: pp 40-44

Postby Stanley Anderson » 29 May 2007, 15:57

(All of section D “Apuleius, ‘De Deo Socratis’” -- Eleven paragraphs beginning with "Aupleius, born in..." and ending with "...Nothing must go to waste." – being also the end of the chapter)

In this section Lewis talks about the “daemons” as “creatures” between angels and men and their place between Earth and the moon just below the aether, along with the concept of the Triad and the Principle of Plenitude. Lewis talks more about the various topics in this section later, but as I have mentioned before, these are the sorts of ideas that convince me that the Space Trilogy was in reality “modern day” medieval stories written in the guise of Science Fiction. It is almost as if the Space Trilogy were a novelization of The Discarded Image. It was particularly brought out in OSP (but of course the book is full of TDI references of all kinds) by the image of Space as not empty, but full and teaming with life and creatures. This is described perfectly at the end of this section where Lewis mentions the Principle of Plenitude – “The universe must be fully exploited. Nothing must go to waste”. This is exactly how Ransom feels as he is traveling in Weston’s ship from Earth to Malacandra.

Of course we read about the macrobes that pressed on Lewis (as a character in the book) as he walked to Ransom’s house at the beginning of Perelandra, and in THS in connection with the NICE. These are certainly examples of the “bad” daemons, but there are other “creatures” around or made reference to, too. There is the wild woman in Jane’s room who is not really evil or good, but just “wild” (Lewis will talk more about such things in a later chapter), and there is discussion of the Roman and Greek gods as reflections or earthly manifestations of the the planetary gods.

The idea of the Triad – that between any two things there is a third thing “connecting” them is used by Lewis in various ways, the most prominent in my mind is his discussion in The Abolition of Man of “Men without Chests” and the problems that are created by denying the “intermediary” between the heart and the mind.

--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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Postby liriodendron » 30 May 2007, 02:05

I wonder where the concept for the Principle of Plentitude came from. It's rather like "Nature abhors a vacuum" but very alien to the modern view of the universe. I tend to feel that it is a miracle that there is life at all and don't expect the universe to be fully exploited. That one thing I like in Lewis' books - that he is just the opposite; he has layer and layers of life. Like in the underworlds of both the Silver Chair and Perelandra.

I couldn't really visualize the idea of Triad; if you have more examples, I love to hear them.
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Postby Stanley Anderson » 30 May 2007, 17:17

liriodendron wrote:I wonder where the concept for the Principle of Plentitude came from. It's rather like "Nature abhors a vacuum" but very alien to the modern view of the universe. I tend to feel that it is a miracle that there is life at all and don't expect the universe to be fully exploited. That one thing I like in Lewis' books - that he is just the opposite; he has layer and layers of life. Like in the underworlds of both the Silver Chair and Perelandra.


Yes, it does tend to go counter to modern thinking. In fact, I once suggested the fanciful (but with partly serious possibility) that in contrast to the modern view that life "arose" out of a lifeless universe and from inanimate matter, perhaps it is the other way around -- ie, that when God created the universe, it was in fact "full of" and "full as" living, life-breathing matter, and that it was actually death that "arose" (or perhaps "descended" ) from the Fall and began radiating outward (or "collapsing" as in the quantum physics description of the collapse of the wave function upon "observation"). Thus, perhaps (in pure speculation of course) it is the "deathly" Entropy of physics that has "evolved" from the fall and tries to consume the "living" universe as it (the universe) waits for the destruction of death ("For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now" - Romans 8:22). It conveys the illusion that lifelessness is the original state from which life arose, but perhaps the lifelessness is only the temporary decayed results of the fall and we are only currently seeing, as it were, the fields laying fallow for the later abundance and blossoming and rebirth of its true original nature.

Ok, ok, pretty wild and flowery speculation there, but I think there may be some truth to it. But that's my own personal opinion. (and by the way, I want to make clear that my speculation above is meant to be quite distinct from any hint of a pantheistic or "life-force" view of God)

I couldn't really visualize the idea of Triad; if you have more examples, I love to hear them.


Well, Lewis talks more about it in the next chapter and later in the book so you'll see more about it soon. It can be logically tricky as it is a kind of potentially infinite regress and hard to capture neatly (ie, between A and B there must be an intermediary C, but then by the same principle between C and B -- or between A and B too, of course -- there must be an interemediary D, but then between D and B, etc), but even modern physics has to deal with it in some way in trying to "explain" the mechanisms of things like gravity (as an exchange of particles between two masses), and electromagnetic forces and such. There is even a contemplation about whether or not time itself is infinitely divisible or occurs in quantum "chunks" which is sort of related to the whole idea. But all this is terribly "scientific", whereas you'll see that Lewis' medieval examples later in the book are more about man's status and situation in the world.

In any case, it occurs to me that there could be an interesting exercise or game-like idea lurking in the concept -- not sure exactly what, but something along the line of coming up with a suggested intermediary between two random things. Hmmm...have to think on it more:-)

--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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Postby liriodendron » 31 May 2007, 00:17

(ie, between A and B there must be an intermediary C, but then by the same principle between C and B -- or between A and B too, of course -- there must be an interemediary D, but then between D and B, etc)

It sounds like you could end up with some kind of parabolic curve. I don't really want my life to be a parabolic curve.

When I first read about Triad in Lewis, what came to mind was New Age Spirit Guides. As if you need a mediator between you and God - well of course that is Jesus and very necessary, but He is also God and he interacts directly with us - unless you consider that it is actually the Holy Spirit interacting directly with us. Except the Holy Spirit is also the Spirit of Christ. And more importantly, the Triad Lewis is refering too seem to imply that the mediator is inferior to the top being, which is more of a Gnostic concept, I believe, in that they say there are layers of beings between the true God and man because the true God is to spiritual to deal with the physical creation.

But all this is terribly "scientific", whereas you'll see that Lewis' medieval examples later in the book are more about man's status and situation in the world.

Sometimes I wonder if there is any connection between scientific and mathmatic theories and the life we live emotionaly and socially. It seems like if math and physics is "truth" it would relate more obviously to our "situation in the world". Maybe they do and we just don't notice.


Your idea about death evolving out from the fall will that a few more readings to absorb.[/b]
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