Forum

Share:
Notifications
Clear all

A millennia of grief  

  RSS
High King Pete The Magnificent
(@highkingpete)
NarniaWeb Regular

I watched this video a few days called Would you opt for a life with no pain? and I was thinking about a life in the shadow-lands vs a 'life' in Aslan's country.

The video summarized and simplified a philosophical argument by Richard Nozick’s describing a fantasy reality where everything is the same as your current reality, except devoid of pain. This doesn't mean being numb to pain, but this fantasy world somehow supplies scenarios with no pain present.

If you could go there with no cons (except leaving your own reality forever) would you? Technically this argument was to refute Hedonism (which is to maximize pleasure with the net gain of pain to always be zero) but it reminded me of some specific instances in Aslan's country.

Based on the video I would think that Aslan's country is an imperfect perfect reality. I mean they are not really numb to sadness or even prerequisite to living in situations that avoid any sort of sadness/attachment. The also feel anger/annoyance, excitement and grief, which (I think) are good emotions that make their existence in the country more meaningful.

Anger/ Annoyance: "Oh Susan!" said Jill, "she's interested in nothing now-a-days except nylons and lipstick and invitations. She always was a jolly sight too keen on being grown-up. 'Grown-up, indeed," said the Lady Polly. "I wish she would grow up. - Through the Stable Door, Last Battle

Sadness/ Grief: "So," said Peter, "Night falls on Narnia. What, Lucy! You're not crying? With Aslan ahead, and all of us here?" "Don't try to stop me, Peter," said Lucy, "I am sure Aslan would not. I am sure it is not wrong to mourn for Narnia. Think of all that lies dead and frozen behind that door." - Night Falls on Narnia, Last Battle

Excitement: "...of an express train. Faster and faster they raced, but no one got hot or tired or out of breath." - Further Up and Further In, Last Battle

Excitement: "— and always higher and higher till the sense of height would have terrified you if you could be terrified, but here it was only gloriously exciting." - Farewell to the Shadow-lands, Last Battle

If there are feelings of sadness (grief), and anger present, would their existence be a truly perfect one?

Imagine having to live millennia carrying a weight of grief for people still on earth, or even feeling some sense of anger or regret based on a certain memory with someone. (They wouldn't feel any sort of attachment to any material or physical circumstances, but only people since that is the only thing of significance that can't be replicated or made better in Aslan's country)

Even though fear is absent, I'm wondering how the meaningfulness of a life is carried on when it's distended over a forever, and how that could change the emotions of the inhabitants of Aslan's country to feel, when they have the baggage of people they left behind to think about for a while.

Not that I'm saying they should be numb, but would it have been better for any situations or people that would incite anger or grief to have been taken care of, before they arrived?

The 'Pevensies' irl:
@highkingpete
@queensuthegentle
@kingedthejust
@queenluthevaliant

A Narnian Fan Survey!: https://forms.gle/cGghFjQyxmA4jPGq6

Quote
Posted : June 3, 2021 8:02 pm
Mickey liked
Mickey
(@mickey)
NarniaWeb Regular

Honestly, I believe that earthly time does not matter in Aslan's country, Lewis frequently said that for God, there's no such thing as time:

"We are so little reconciled to time that we are even astonished at it. “How he’s grown!” we exclaim, “How time flies!” – as though the universal form of our experience were again and again a novelty. It is as strange as if a fish were repeatedly surprised at the wetness of water. And that would be strange indeed; unless of course the fish were destined to become, one day, a land animal".

(btw, physicists are now saying the same: https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24473-entangled-toy-universe-shows-time-may-be-an-illusion/)

So IMO, once you're in Aslan's country, there's no such thing as "people left on Earth", you get to meet everyone who eventually made it there, including those who were still alive when you died (and I like to think that the Pevensies met Susan as well at the very end of TLB).

ReplyQuote
Posted : June 4, 2021 7:19 am
coracle and Courtenay liked
KingEdTheJust
(@kingedthejust)
NarniaWeb Nut
Posted by: @highkingpete

If you could go there with no cons (except leaving your own reality forever) would you?

I don't think so. Everyone learns from their mistakes and mistakes are important to life. Although, your life would be perfect and their would be no need for mistakes, you would never learn or grow or have any development at all because you would never have any mistakes. I would never want to leave my own reality because when people's lives aren't perfect, they learn their strengths and their weaknesses. They also learn something very important about life called Empathy. Without your own mistakes and problems and pains to back you up, you would never know how someone feels to experience pain, since you never experienced any yourself. Pain is always a hard thing and many people don't deserve pain they get, but sometimes pain is important. It helps others to show compassion and empathy (like I mentioned before) based on their own experiences. They judge situations differently and look at things through different perspectives. Pain helps make us define what personality we have as humans. 

Posted by: @highkingpete

If there are feelings of sadness (grief), and anger present, would their existence be a truly perfect one?

Of course. Their life, while not 'perfect' in the way we mean it, is still the best they could possibly live. I think it is the fact that they don't have the fear of expectations and duty and the relief that they don't have to keep to the schedule as work provides. They can take this 'life' one day at a time, at their own pace.  The feeling that they don't have to worry about things that happen on Earth, or in Narnia, the fact that they don't 'have' to do something, and the ultimate joy of living with Aslan forever. That sense of protection helps create a calm paradise for them. 

Although, they may feel the grief of losing Narnia, separation from their sister and dealing with the fact that they will never be alive again, I think because they have so much time, it helps them deal with problems.  For example, if they miss Susan in Aslan's country, they know that they can wait for her to join them. The loss of Narnia can mend over time by spending more time in Aslan's country and with Aslan himself. 

I also think that though they have the choice to show anger in Aslan's country, it wouldn't last very long, or wouldn't happen at all. I think the peace and happiness of Aslan's country gives them no reason to be angry about something. If they were angry about something, like I said before, time will help them mend, their anger or grief, whatever troubling emotion they are feeling.

 
Posted by: @mickey

I like to think that the Pevensies met Susan as well

I think the same! I like the feeling that Susan eventually joins her siblings after some time spend on reflection and thought. 

 

"But even a traitor may mend. I have known one that did." - (King Edmund the Just, Horse and his Boy)

ReplyQuote
Posted : June 14, 2021 7:38 pm
DiGoRyKiRkE
(@digorykirke)
The Logical Ornithological Mod Moderator

It’s an interesting idea for certain. Anger, sadness, depression, grief, malaise, malice, spite, hatred, jealousy, ennui: all of these negative emotions are such a part of every day life us, and it can difficult for us to imagine what a life without any of these feelings could possibly entail. As much as they’re tiresome… those emotions certainly add depth to our lives. 

If we thought of life as a book, what a boring book it would be if there was literally nothing bad that happened in it. “Badness” so to speak drives the plot of the book, the thrust of character development, the day to day actions of life “within” the book. Take all that away, and, while the characters in the book might appreciate it, what a hum-drum story it would be.

 Until all of us characters (and for the characters of the Narnia books as well) are off their pages and with their author… it is difficult for us to imagine what life without any negativity would be like.

Member of Ye Olde NarniaWeb
WC: Old Forum: 1024 New Forum: 240

ReplyQuote
Posted : June 16, 2021 11:51 am
coracle
(@coracle)
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator

@digorykirke I used to think that in the next life I would have none of the physical challenges I now have, and be beautiful as well. More recently, I believe that I will be me as I am, but it will all be positive and not a problem, and the beauty I have now will be seen as glorious!

In the same way, I think that the pain and problems of our lives on earth will not be forgotten, but they will be transformed into something beautiful.

There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.

"...when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards."

ReplyQuote
Posted : June 16, 2021 4:50 pm
KingEdTheJust
(@kingedthejust)
NarniaWeb Nut
Posted by: @coracle

In the same way, I think that the pain and problems of our lives on earth will not be forgotten, but they will be transformed into something beautiful.

I like the way you said that, @coracle 

It really emphasizes  the feeling of a better or newer life. It doesn't make it feel like everything around us  is perfect, but more of we see things or our  problems in a more perfect way. 

 

"But even a traitor may mend. I have known one that did." - (King Edmund the Just, Horse and his Boy)

ReplyQuote
Posted : June 17, 2021 6:07 am
SonofStone
(@sonofstone)
NarniaWeb Regular

     

Posted by: @highkingpete

I'm wondering how the meaningfulness of a life is carried on when it's distended over a forever, and how that could change the emotions of the inhabitants of Aslan's country to feel, when they have the baggage of people they left behind to think about for a while.

      I love this conversation! I believe that some of the emotions (mainly sadness/grief and anger) you have mentioned aren't going to be in heaven for the exact reason you have said. That is not to say they are inherently evil, I don't believe they are, but that is to say seeing as our existence in heaven will be perfect, their will be no need for them. We won't remember people or things that were hear on earth and aren't in heaven, so thus, no sadness. We will have absolutely nothing to be angry at/about, so thus also no need for that emotion, as there was here on earth. So why did Lewis put these things into Aslan's country? Well, seeing as he was an imperfect being, it is therefor logically impossible for him to create a world that is perfect, and if he really tried, (as I said before) there would have been no sadness or anger, and without those that part of the story would have been terribly boring to read. But the meaningfulness of life will be fulfilled because we will be in constant communion with God, and compared to that, all that we call the meaningfulness of life will be but dust and ashes to be thrown away and forgotten.

 

Child of the King: SonofStone

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14

ReplyQuote
Posted : June 17, 2021 7:37 am
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Friend of NarniaWeb

For me, it all comes down to the fact that none of us on earth can say with absolute certainty "what heaven will be like when we get there" — Lewis himself or anyone else. (There are near-death experiences, of course, which often have some consistent things in common, but there's plenty of controversy as to what those accounts prove, or not, so I won't go into that. I don't know if Lewis knew of any of them, anyway.)

To me the point is, Lewis was writing a fantasy series for young readers, giving us perhaps some ideas of what heaven may be like — but I'm guessing he would have been the first to assure us it's not an exact representation from firsthand knowledge. Wink I don't think he meant any of us to take it as gospel, or to get too picky over whether or not it fits exactly with any particular Christian theory or theology.

There was another recent discussion here where one forum member suggested that when they first go through the stable door, Tirian and the Friends of Narnia are somewhere that isn't quite in Aslan's country yet, and that's how the unrepentant and self-blinded Dwarfs can be there with them. I'm not sure if that's what Lewis intended, as there's plenty else in the scene that suggests they ARE already in heaven — the fruits that would make the best earthly fruit taste poor by comparison, the vanishing of everyone's aches and pains and old age, the fact that they already sense they've come to the country where "everything is allowed" (implicitly because there's no sin and therefore no harm). And yet, this is also the stage where the characters do still experience resentment over Susan's rejection of Narnia, and grief for the old Narnia's destruction when they witness it. So there is some ambiguity there as to how completely "in" heaven they might be at this point.

I'm wondering if Lewis was meaning to imply that, while they certainly are in Aslan's country, their experience of heaven deepens as they go "further up and further in" — that as they progress deeper into it (and discover another new Narnia within the one they're already in, with the implication that this will keep on happening!), they're rising higher and higher in a spiritual sense, so they progressively lose whatever remained of those earthly feelings of sorrow or anger or anything else un-heaven-like? We do get the clear sense at the end that Lewis's concept of heaven isn't a static one at all, even though it is perfect — especially as we're told in the final line that they were now "beginning Chapter One of the Great Story that no-one on earth has read, which goes on forever; in which every chapter is better than the one before." That's the best I can make of it, anyway. Smile  

(Apologies if that quote at the end isn't accurate. I'm away from home and don't have my Narnia books on me, so I'm relying on memory!! If anyone can fill me in if I've got the wording wrong, I'll gladly edit it, thanks — or else I'll check it when I get home tomorrow.)

"Now you are a lioness," said Aslan. "And now all Narnia will be renewed."
(Prince Caspian)

ReplyQuote
Posted : June 18, 2021 12:45 pm
Share: