Monday, July 13, 2015

To live like a Narnian

Picture: A wooden cabin equipped with a few pieces of furniture, where it is raining inside.

“Not only is it rather delightful to walk around the hut, hearing and watching the water drench the small interior, but such a simple manipulation of reality proves much more powerful in confronting the established understanding of interiority. Turning what we know on its head forces us to interact with our imagination. We tend to think the threats come from outside and shelter is inside. But can we see differently? Will we let our preconceptions be challenged?”
(via Inside Paris' giant sticky tape tunnel - The Architectural Review)

In Lewis' Silver Chair the dour marshwiggle Puddleglum fights the Witch's enchantment
“Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things - trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world…. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, we're leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that's a small loss if the world's as dull a place as you say."
Her story is a pit and a dull world. Even if it wasn't true his story of Narnia is better.

Imagine. But, he's not just taking a story that sounds better:
“…you can play that fiddle till your fingers drop off, and still you won't make me forget Narnia; and the whole Overworld too. We'll never see it again, I shouldn't wonder. But I know I was there once. I've seen the sky full of stars. I've seen the sun coming up out of the sea of a morning and sinking behind the mountains at night. And I've seen him up in the midday sky when I couldn't look at him for brightness." 
 Artist Mako Fujimura says:
 “To have faith takes imagination.” 
(Cultivating Faith: The Work of an Artist)

Not to embrace fantasy, not to an imaginary world.

We get culturally, emotionally and rationally persuaded of the way we see things. We see the way we see.

What would it take to change our story? The haunting memory of something more...  a better argument... a different way of looking at things... a nagging question... a person who changes how we see everything else. All these and more.

Some sort of intervention, just as Harper Lee was steered by an editor to re-write Go set a watchman as To kill a mockingbird. Not all stories are equal, and by early reports the editorial guidance led to a far better account. Lee imagined Atticus and co, but her first piecing together of their world fell short - the re-write revealed a classic.

Stories can be held up against one another, both on their own merits and for their effects.
"...I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."
Lewis' essays are persuasive, his stories and pictures grip more deeply. His move from essayist to children's writer was a step up not a step back...

Image - creative commons: Saturnino

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