Statesboro, GA, USA
I just recently reread portions of "The Pilgrim's Regress" by Lewis, and was shaken by the descriptions of temptation, moral evil, and the prospects of escaping or succumbing to their end.
I know this is not a philosophical discussion per se, but perhaps a Theological one. However this forum is the closest fit for such discussions. I was just wondering how these ideas affect you, or what you think of them?
If nothing else, you'll get to enjoy and ponder a provocative piece of writing, as the Pilgrim John and "The Guide" walk along discussing what they see.
... (The Guide) ˜The Landlord has taken the risk of working the country with free tenants instead of slaves in chain gangs; and as they are free there is no way of making it impossible for them to go into forbidden places and eat forbidden fruits. Up to a certain point he can doctor them even when they have done so, and break them of the habit. But beyond that point - you can see for yourself. A man can go on eating mountain-apple so long that nothing will cure his craving for it; and the very worms it breeds inside him will make him more certain to eat more. You must not try to fix the point after which a return is impossible, but you can see that there will be such a point somewhere.'
'But surely the Landlord can do anything?'
'He cannot do what is contradictory; or, in other words, a meaningless sentence will not gain meaning simply because someone chooses to prefix to it the words 'The Landlord can.' And it is meaningless to talk of forcing a man to do freely what a man has freely made impossible for himself.'
After this, John looked up and saw that they were approaching a concourse of living creatures beside the road. Their way was so long and desolate (and he was footsore too) that he welcomed any diversion, and he cast his eyes curiously upon this new thing. When he was nearer he saw that the concourse was of men, but they lay about in attitudes and were so disfigured that he had not recognized them for men ...
One old cripple, whose face was all gone but the mouth and eyes, was sitting up to receive drink from a cup which a woman held to his lips. When he had as much as she thought good, she snatched the cup from his hands and went on to her next patient. She was dark but beautiful.
'Don't lag', said the Guide â€˜this is a very dangerous place. You had better come away. This is Luxuria.
But John's eyes were caught by a young man to whom the witch had just come in her rounds. The disease, by seeming, had hardly begun with him; there was an unpleasant suspicion about his fingers - something a little too supple for joints - a little independent of his other movements - but, on the whole, he was still a well looking person. And as the witch came to him the hands went crawling out for the cup a second time, and again the man wrenched them back, and turned his face away, and cried out:
'Quick! The black, sulpherous, never quenched,
Old festering fire begins to play
Once more within. Look! By brute force I have wrenched
Unmercifully my hands the other way.'
'Quick, Lord! On the rack thus, stretched tight,
Nerves clamouring as at nature's wrong.
Scorched to the quick, whipp'd raw - Lord, in this plight
You see, you see no man can suffer long.'
'Quick Lord! Before new scorpions bring
New venom - ere fiends blow the fire
A second time - quick, show me that sweet thing
Which, 'spite of all, more deeply I desire.'
And all the while the witch stood saying nothing, but only holding out the cup and smiling kindly on him with her dark eyes and her dark, red mouth. Then, when she saw that he would not drink, she passed on to the next; but at the first step she took, the young man gave a sob and his hands flew out and grabbed the cup and he buried his head in it; and when she took it from his lips clung to it as a drowning man to a piece of wood. But at last he sank down in the swamp with a groan. And the worms where there should have been fingers were unmistakable.
[This message has been edited by Stephanos (01-29-2008 01:39 PM).]