Monday, January 24, 2005

That Hideous Strength

This demand that now pressed upon her is not, even by analogy, like any other demand. It was the original of all right demands and contained them. In its light you could understand them; but from them you could know nothing of it. There was nothing, and never had been anything like this. And now there was nothing except this. Yet also, everything had been like this; only by being like this had anything existed. In this height and depth and breadth the little idea of herself which she had hitherto called me dropped down and vanished, unfluttering, into bottomless distance, like a bird in a space without air. The name me was the name of a being whose existence she had never suspected, a being that did not yet fully exist but which was demanded. It was a person (not the person she had thought), yet also a thing, a made thing, made to please Another and in Him to please all others, a thing being made at this very moment, without its choice, in a shape it had never dreamed of. And the making went on amidst a kind of splendor or sorrow or both, whereof she could not tell whether it was in the moulding hands or in the kneaded lump.

Words take too long. To be aware of all this and to know that it had already gone made one single experience. It was revealed only in its departure. The largest thing that had ever happened to her had, apparently, found room for itself in a moment of time too short to be called time at all. Her hand closed on nothing but a memory. And as it closed, without and instant's pause, the voices of those who have not joy rose howling and chattering from every corner of her being.

"Take care. Draw Back. Keep your head. Don't commit yourself," they said. And then more subtly, from another quarter, "You have had a religious experience. This is very interesting. Not everyone does. How much better you will now understand the Seventeenth Century poets!" Or from a third direction, more sweetly, "Go on. Try to get it again. It will please the Director."

But her defenses had been captured and these counter attacks were unsuccessful.

--- An excerpt from That Hideous Strength, by C. S. Lewis
Book Three of his Space Trilogy
Book one, Out of the Silent Planet
Book two, Perelandra

I highly recommend these books. They are at the same time simple and yet incredibly profound. Lewis has a speculative insight to things we can only dream about, and although speculative, he brings them to a reality that only a good fantasy writer can accomplish.
He does his best to bring about some of his deepest philosophical meanderings, in simple and clear, even crisp and delightful story which brings to light the myth of reality and the reality of myth. These books have been the most thought provoking fiction I have ever read, and I am certain they will draw me back to them time and again.

Find all three here!


Kyle said...

Hey Greg, that's a great passage. Lewis is the man.

Ben said...


That is my favorite book.

And I'm really glad you were able to make my wedding... I heard you really enjoyed the sparklers.

I can't wait to see all you guys up in Philly soon.... I sure hope there is still some snow left.


Yankee said...

Wow - now I suddenly remembered why I never read C.S. Lewis......I am WAY to simple minded! LOL

One good turn deserves another so here I am posting a comment in your BLOG....."many will read....few will respond" here I am one of the few responders. :0)

I have no idea how to find BLOGS or how mine was found so quickly.....Contemplative Therapy must've grabbed your attention eh?

BLOG on!