Tuesday, December 20, 2016

That Hideous Strength

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Amazon.com
C.S. Lewis
Space Trilogy
The Bodley Head, 1945

“There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there's never more than one.”

“Don't you like a rather foggy a in a wood in autumn? You'll find we shall be perfectly warm sitting in the car."
Jane said she'd never heard of anyone liking fogs before but she didn't mind trying. All three got in.
"That's why Camilla and I got married, "said Denniston as they drove off. "We both like Weather. Not this or that kind of weather, but just Weather. It's a useful taste if one lives in England."
"How ever did you learn to do that, Mr. Denniston?" said Jane. "I don't think I should ever learn to like rain and snow."
"It's the other way round," said Denniston. "Everyone begins as a child by liking Weather. You learn the art of disliking it as you grow up. Noticed it on a snowy day? The grown-ups are all going about with long faces, but look at the children - and the dogs? They know what snow's made for."
"I'm sure I hated wet days as a child," said Jane.
"That's because the grown-ups kept you in," said Camilla. "Any child loves rain if it's allowed to go out and paddle about in it.”

“Those who are enjoying something, or suffering something, together, are companions. Those who enjoy or suffer one another, are not.”

“The universe is so very complicated," said Dr Dimble.
"So you have said rather often before, dear," replied Mrs Dimble
"Have I?" he said with a smile. "How often, I wonder? As often as you've told the story of the pony and trap at Dawlish?"
"Cecil! I haven't told it for years."
"My dear, I heard you telling it to Camilla the night before last."
"Oh, Camilla! That was quite different. She'd never heard it before."
"I don't know if we can even be certain about that...the universe being so complicated and all." For a few minutes there was silence between them.
"But about Merlin?" asked Mrs Dimble presently.
"Have you ever noticed," said Dimble," that the universe, and every little bit of the universe, is always hardening and narrowing and coming to a point?"
His wife waited as those wait who know by long experience the mental processes of the person who is talking to them.
"I mean this," said Dimble, answering the question she had not asked. "If you dip into any college, or school, or parish, or family—anything you like—at a given point in its history, you always find that there was a time before that point when there was more elbow room and contrasts weren't quite so sharp; and that there's going to be a time after that point when there is even less room for indecision and choices are even more momentous. Good is always getting better and bad is always getting worse: the possibilities of even apparent neutrality are always diminishing.”

“Why you fool, it's the educated reader who CAN be gulled. All our difficulty comes with the others. When did you meet a workman who believes the papers? He takes it for granted that they're all propaganda and skips the leading articles. He buys his paper for the football results and the little paragraphs about girls falling out of windows and corpses found in Mayfair flats. He is our problem. We have to recondition him. But the educated public, the people who read the high-brow weeklies, don't need reconditioning. They're all right
“Isn't it absolutely essential to keep a fierce Left and fierce Right, both on their toes and each terrified of the other? That's how we get things done.”

“They would say,” he answered, “that you do not fail in obedience through lack of love, but have lost love because you never attempted obedience.”

“The laws of the universe are never broken. Your mistake is to think that the little regularities we have observed on one planet for a few hundred years are the real unbreakable laws; whereas they are only the remote results which the true laws bring about more often than not; as a kind of accident.”

“They have pulled down deep heaven on their heads.”

“Be thou glad sleeper and thy sorrow offcast. I am the gate to all good adventure.”

“Materialism is in fact no protection. Those who seek it in that hope (they are not a negligible class) will be disappointed. The thing you fear is impossible. Well and good. Can you therefore cease to fear it? Not here and now. And what then? If you must see ghosts, it is better not to disbelieve in them.”

“His education had been neither scientific nor classical—merely “Modern.” The severities both of abstraction and of high human tradition had passed him by: and he had neither peasant shrewdness nor aristocratic honour to help him. He was a man of straw, a glib examinee in subjects that require no exact knowledge (he had always done well on Essays and General Papers) and the first hint of a real threat to his bodily life knocked him sprawling.”

“And Dimble, who had been sitting with his face drawn, and rather white, between the white faces of the two women, and his eyes on the table, raised his head, and great syllables of words that sounded like castles came out of his mouth. Jane felt her hear leap and quiver at them. Everything else in the room seemed to have been intensely quiet; even the bird, and the bear, and the cat, were still, staring at the speaker. The voice did not sound like Dimble's own: it was as if the words spoke themselves through him from some strong place at a distance--or as if they were not words at all but present operations of God, the planets, and the Pendragon. For this was the language spoken before the Fall and beyond the Moon and the meanings were not given to the syllables by chance, or skill, or long tradition, but truly inherent in them as the shape of the great Sun is inherent in the little waterdrop. This was Language herself, as she first sprang at Maleldil's bidding out of the molten quicksilver of the first star called Mercury on Earth, but Viritrilbia in Deep Heaven.”

“We all have different languages; but we all really mean the same thing.”

“We want you to write it down--to camouflage it. Only for the present, of course. Once the thing gets going we shan't have to bother about the great heart of the British public. We'll make the great heart what we want it to be. But in the meantime, it does make a difference how things are put. For instance, if it were even whispered that the N.I.C.E. wanted powers to experiment on criminals, you'd have all the old women of both sexes up in arms and yapping about humanity. Call it re-education of the mal-adjusted, and you have them all slobbering with delight that the brutal era of retributive punishment has at last come to and end. Odd thing it is--the word 'experiment' is unpopular, but not the word 'experimental.' You must'nt experiment on children; but offer the dear little kiddies free education in an experimental school attached to the N.I.C.E. and it's all correct!”

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