Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Where Does Happiness Lie?

'Happiness, my dear Dick,' said the Ghost placidly, 'happiness, as you will come to see when you are older, lies in the path of duty. Which reminds me...Bless my soul, I'd nearly forgotten. Of course I can't come with you. I have to be back next Friday to read a paper. We have a little Theological Society down there. Oh yes! there is plenty of intellectual life. Not of a very high quality, perhaps. One notices a certain lack of grip--a certain confusion of mind. That is where I can be of some use to them. There are even regrettable jealousies...I don't know why, but tempers seem less controlled than they used to be. Still, one mustn't expect too much of human nature. If feel I can do a great work among them. But you've never asked me what my paper is about! I'm taking the text about growing up to the measure of the stature of Christ and working out an idea which I feel sure you'll be interested in. I'm going to point out how people always forget that Jesus (here the Ghost bowed) was a comparatively young man when he died. He would have outgrown some of his earlier views, you know, if he'd lived. As he might have done, with a litte more tact and patience. I am going to ask my audience to consider what his mature views would have been. A profoundly interesting question. What a different Christianity we might have had if only the Founder had reached his full stature! I shall end up by pointing out how this deepens the significance of the Crucifixion. One feels for the first time what a disaster it was: what a tragic waste...so much promise cut short. Oh, must you be going? '
~C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce (1946)


On this day:

1917 Inklings member Charles Williams married Florence Conway (they had been engaged for nine years).

3 Comment(s):

At Tue Apr 12, 11:40:00 PM EST, Blogger Bob said...

I don't think the first premise of the Ghost is wrong, but rather his understanding of Jesus. Jesus was a most dutiful son, obedient to the point of laying down his own life for the sins of the world and through his duty, at least, that our happiness lies.

At Wed Apr 13, 10:21:00 AM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

By his first premise, are you referring to his statement that Jesus's views would have changed had he lived longer?

It's funny, but the "One notices a certain lack of grip--a certain confusion of mind." could refer to me on a daily basis. Could it be I'm residing in the Grey Town and don't even realize it??

At Wed Apr 13, 05:14:00 PM EST, Blogger Bob said...

No, no, no! Certainly not! By "first premise" I mean that happiness comes from doing one's duty. I don't think that being dutiful is necessarily a somber and joyless path.

I don't think you're in the Grey Town, but then I don't really agree with Lewis' notions about Hell, Purgatory and so forth. I do believe there is a Hell, but I don't agree with Lewis that it is only our own thinking and lack of acceptance of Heaven that makes it so. (Or was that his notion of Purgatory?) Either way, I think one would have to be cognizant of one's presence in Hell (or Purgatory) for it truly to be Hell (or Purgatory).


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