Session #30: September 8th, 2010

Update: Thank you to all of you who attended today. I was surprised to see so many people.

We went over the answers to the questions for “Out of the Silent Planet”, but we did not finish them: we did up to p. 22, question 8.

We decided to continue next time.

We also decided to read “Perelandra” as our next book. Other suggestions made were:

Future sessions:

  •  September 22nd (#31)
  • October 27th (#32)

Our next session will be September 8th, 3-5 pm.  We will discuss “Out of the Silent Planet” and go over the answers to the questions.

What shall we read next? I propose the next book in Lewis’ trilogy: “Perelandra”.  But I am open to any other suggestions. If you have other ideas, please bring them to the next session and/or email me.

金星への旅 (1979年)
ヴィーナスへの旅―ペレランドラ 金星編 (別世界物語) [単行本]

16 thoughts on “Session #30: September 8th, 2010”

  1. “Your argument seems sound. I can see no flaw in it, except your assumption about bad choices = guilt. If you are correct, then there cannot be freedom without sin, which seems to contradict Lewis’ Christianity, doesn’t it?”

    I made a question which flashed into my mind as a frank, simple question. I don’t have such an assumption that all bad choices are guilt, but some of them could be. Since our lives consist of constant series of free choices, aren’t there times when we regret and feel sorry for our hearts, for others, or for God in various different degrees including serious feeling of guilt? One example is Edmond of “The Lion, the With and the Wardrobe”. He could have stayed with his siblings but he choose to go to White Witch and you know the following story.

    I think I’ve heard (maybe in the session) that if people don’t feel the sense of sin, it’s difficult to talk about Christianity. So, I understand Christianity is for our sins, griefs and pains, but I don’t know Lewis’ Christinaity well. I think as far as we are entrusted with “the freedom of choice”, we must accept and repent whent we did wrong.

    “Is it possible (tho difficult to imagine) that there might be a state where humans are free to make choices, but there is no guilt and no sin? I think this question is explored in more detail in the next book,”

    Right now I imagine if this Earth is not plagued with “fear” (as is written in “Out of the Silent Planet”), freedom of choice could cause no guilt and no sin, for many terrible things seem to be caused driven by fear. All right, I’ll wait till our next book.

  2. Malacandraians don’t have the concept of “sin.” Then, do they have the concept of “freedom”? Since we have the freedom of choice, we could make bad choice which could cause evil and we feel “guilty.” They live ideally in a peaceful and harmonious way, but I wonder if they know what freedom is.

    1. Excellent question. I wonder, though: does guilt inevitably follow from making a bad choice? Is it possible (tho difficult to imagine) that there might be a state where humans are free to make choices, but there is no guilt and no sin? I think this question is explored in more detail in the next book, Perelandra.

      Your argument seems sound. I can see no flaw in it, except your assumption about bad choices = guilt. If you are correct, then there cannot be freedom without sin, which seems to contradict Lewis’ Christianity, doesn’t it?

      1. I think almost all fear is caused by sin, although it is difficult for me to define what sin is. I am looking forward to reading the next book, for it is suggested that we would be able to know what sin is in detail by reading Perelandra.

  3. It was refreshing to hear members’ various opinions after long summer vacation. Among the things we learned with Marc in this session was the similarity between Christianity and Malacandrian theology which has no idea of sin. This seems to deeply connected with what Species pointed out that Malacandrians do not know the words for “forgive” or “shame”.

    I wonder why the narrator(Ransom) was replaced with “I” in the last chapter, and why Postscript was written?

    I wondered about it because this story is complete without the replacement of the narrator or without the Postscript. Travelling in space and then on Malacandra, readers can have various experiences through the narrator’s view point; he is embarrassed sometimes starting to learn some different way of thinking and he feels contentment with it, and so on.
    In this way, it could be said that this story is fairly subjective.
    And for readers this story seems always fictional one, however realistically it is described and depicted.

    After the narrator had left Malacandra and landed on the Earth fortunately, narrator was replaced with “I”, and his amazing experiences on Malacandra started to be thought as a delusion for “I”, and in time Malacandrian world comes to be far removed from readers as well.

    “I” go for writing a story as a fiction, consulting a philologist who takes a role in writing Postscript, and readers consequently look back anew the whole fictional story consciously. Then, strangely enough, the various experiences in the story turn out from a distance with a quite realistic feature.

    It is Lewis’ magic!
    It is alike doubly negate is equivalent to affirmation.

    In the Postscript, the narrator (Ransom)’s experiences are reviewed through the eyes of a third person.
    Eventually, the story is born again refreshingly in front of readers as a relatively objective one, as if something subjective of “I” was conjured away.

    1. I wonder whether Malacandrian hross have no idea of sin in your state, Try to remember. I wanted to say in no.7, “He didn’t know the words for “forgive”, or “shame,” “fault,”for sorry. He could only stare into Hyoi’s distorted face in speechless guilt.(p.82,l 26). These sentences are Ransoms’. He didn’t still learn the words for sorry from them. I think hrossa recognized and used these words of course, so they also have the idea of sin.

      1. “….so they also have the idea of sin.”

        There is no concept of sin in the theology of Malacandra. It is one of the differences from Christianity. When we were taught so, I wondered why, and then recognized that all the Malacandrians live orderly according to the will of Oyarusa and Maleldil and there seems to be no violation, which convinced me that there is no idea of sin in Malacandra.

          1. This is a difficult question! Maybe I’m terribly missing the point of the question, but I’ve come up with this: Christianity has been utilized by the authority to control people. For example, killing people and causing destruction is sin, but when war was waged as the will of God, people could fight it as justice apart from the guilty conscience of sin. But this is not only about Christianity.

          2. Let me re-phrase the question:
            You wrote that, “There is no concept of sin in the theology of Malacandra” and “all the Malacandrians live orderly according to the will of Oyarusa and Maleldil”.

            What conclusion or lesson can the reader learn from the above 2 facts? Apply those 2 things you learned to human beings.

          3. Conclusion gained by applying the two facts to human beings: When human beings don’t live according to the will of God, they have sufferings for sin.

        1. When people are mind controled by someone, there is no free choice. Only the orders of the controller are considered good for the group. Everyone in the same community has to obey them, whether the orders are good or evil. Among the group may be some people whose mind is sophisticated or cultivated,and who can judge between good or bad, and they won’t obey bad orders. When sophisticated man refuses to obey the bad order of the ruler, he does not have the feeling of the sin. When sophisticated man must agree the bad order, he has the sense of sin towards himself and towards the victims.

  4. Some words and the rules which Ransom got in Malacandra.

    1. some rules
      1. Malacandrian phonetics. H disappears after C. (Malac)
      2. They have suffixes as well as prefixes. handra-mit
      3. The words for food or eat contain consonants unreproducible by a human mouth.
      4. There are singular and plural form. eldil—eldila, hross—hrossa, hressni (female), sorn—sorns(seroni), hman—hmana.
      5. The association or relation.
        1. hrossa—handramit, means hrossa lived down in the handramit.
        2. seroni—-harandra, means seroni lived up on the harandra.
    2. The names of race and each creature’s name
      1. hross (Hyoi, Whin, Hnohra, Hleri, Hrikki )
      2. seroni ( Sorn, Augray )
      3. pfifltriggi
    3. The names of place
      1. Malacandra (Mars),
      2. Thulcandra(the Earth),
      3. Glundandra(Jupiter),
      4. Perelandra (Venus),
      5. Meldilorn (the center of throne and feast ),
      6. handramit ( low watered country ),
      7. harandra (high ground)
      8. Balki (pool),
      9. hneraki ( ? )
    4. The names
      1. Maleldil ( a spirit without body ),
      2. Oyarsa (the greatest eldila, ruled over sorns as well as hrossa and pfifltriggi ),
      3. eldil (Ransom couldn’t see them)
      4. hnau (hrossa, seroni, pfifltriggi , Ransom ),
      5. hnakra ( sea monster’s name),
      6. hnakrapunt ( hnakra-slayer ),
      7. Arbol hru (gold )
      8. honodraskrud (weed’s name )
    5. verbs
      1. wondelone means to long or yearn for
      2. hlunthline means not long, not yearn
    6. When giving an exclamation
      1. Ahihra !
    7. He did not know the words for ” forgive”, or ” shame “, or “fault” or for “sorry”. He could only stare into Hyoi’s face in speechless guilt.
  5. Ransom acquired many Malacandrian words from the hross, Hyoi. At first, he could communicate only by gesture but gradually he could understand a lot of words, not only nouns but also verbs, and could communicate with hrossa and the other races. As a result he could interpret what Weston told to Oyarsa about terrestrial civilization and his thought.
    Learning languages is very important to tell many things to others for communication. Life is the most important thing of all. I think next one is the language. From ancient days people conveyed many languages to their offspring, and became to attain great wisdom.

    As for language, I remember Kindaichi Kyousuke (金田一 京助)1882-1971, who was a philologist and studied the Ainu language. He thought deeply about how to learn them. He drew meaningless pictures on the beach, and the watching children shouted, “What? What?” of course in Ainu language. So he got the word, What? in Ainu. Afterward he asked the names of many things one after another, pointing to things, and asking in Ainu, “what?”. In this way, he collected many words.

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