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Ch 4d: pp 54-56

For the Medieval Dinosaur in all of us.

Ch 4d: pp 54-56

Postby Stanley Anderson » 05 Jul 2007, 14:48

(Three paragraphs beginning with "A very brief reference..." and ending with "...from understanding and reason.")

The subjects of these three paragraphs are dreams, astronomy, and the utility of sight and hearing. On dreams I have to say that I am not at all familiar with the references he makes, so it is hard for me to say anything much here. But the juxtaposition of the ideas of dreams as “Plato’s Ur-Freudian doctrine of the dream as the expression of a submerged wish”, and the “revelatio” which I can only assume means something akin to revelation, immediately suggests a connection to Jane and her turmoil with dreams in THS. She thinks of her dreams as a psychological problem to be gotten rid of while the company at St Annes see it as a prophetic gift.

Astronomy, the subject of the next paragraph will be covered in much greater detail in upcoming chapters, so not much to say here either, except to point out the short parenthetical remark in the last sentence: “Chalcidius, though he mentions the Pythagorean doctrine (which peopled the Moon and other planets with mortals), is not interested in it”. This comment brings to mind the part in THS where Mark is being told about the “sterile” moon by Filostrato who describes how it was inhabited more fully once, but is now nearly wiped clean except for some holdouts on the far side of the moon. As with so much in THS I’d simply LOVE to hear more about this than the tiny hints Lewis gives us in the text.

In the third paragraph, I love the Chalcidian suggestion that sight and hearing exist not so much for survival value, as that they beget philosophy and the love of music. Of sight “no man would seek God nor aspire to piety unless he had first seen the sky and the stars”. In Perelandra, Ransom tells the Green Lady that unlike Perelandra where the sky is covered with layer of golden “clouds” that hides the Heavens, on Earth men can look out into the night sky and see the stars. This is a great revelation to her and is one of the things that makes her “older”. Here is the passage:

“Oh, I see it,” she said. “I am older now. Your world has no roof. You look right out into the high place and see the great dance with your own eyes. You live always in that terror and that delight, and what we must only believe you can behold. Is not this a wonderful invention of Maleldil’s? When I was young I could imagine no beauty but this of our own world. But He can think of all, and all different.”


And of song I am reminded of the music of the singing beasts in Perelandra that Ransom heard and received healing from during his convalescence on the mountain top after emerging nearly dead from his underground battle with the Un-Man

--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 » 09 Jul 2007, 04:34

“no man would seek God nor aspire to piety unless he had first seen the sky and the stars”.


I wonder if this has any relation to they way many of us in the "civilized" world rarely see they stars due to so much electric light and no time to look up. Does that cause fewer of us to seek God?
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Postby Stanley Anderson » 09 Jul 2007, 18:14

liriodendron wrote:
“no man would seek God nor aspire to piety unless he had first seen the sky and the stars”.


I wonder if this has any relation to they way many of us in the "civilized" world rarely see they stars due to so much electric light and no time to look up. Does that cause fewer of us to seek God?


Sounds reasonable to me. I know that the few times I've been in a really dark sky, I'm amazed at how "dirty" with stars the sky look (I use that word playfully of course). I remember once years ago when I was out in the countryside on a clear moonless night, and I realized I could hardly recognized all the constellations I thought I was familiar with because there were so many more stars. Such skys certainly do affect the awe factor (where I live in southern California, we're lucky to be able to see 10-20 stars with the naked eye on a typical night -- and that's looking carefully for the dim ones.)

--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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Stanley Anderson
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