Do you like Science Fiction (why or why not)? What do you make of Spiritual Warfare (what comes to mind when you hear the words “Spiritual Warfare“? How do you understand the premise and particulars of spiritual warfare?). If you’re keen on developing a better understanding of The Great War, and if you fancy Science Fiction – then have we got a show for you (yes, that is indeed a Veggie Tales reference)…
A Science Fiction – Space Trilogy (authored by Clive Staples Lewis):
- Out of the Silent Planet (1938), set mostly on Mars (Malacandra). In this book, Elwin Ransom voyages to Mars and discovers that Earth is exiled from the rest of the solar system. Far back in Earth’s past, it fell to an angelic being known as the Bent Oyarsa, and now, to prevent contamination of the rest of the Solar System (“The Field of Arbol”), it is known as “the silent planet” (Thulcandra).
- Perelandra (1943), set mostly on Venus. Also known as Voyage to Venus. Here Dr Ransom journeys to an unspoiled Venus in which the first humanoids have just emerged.
- That Hideous Strength (1945), set on Earth. A scientific think tank called the N.I.C.E. (The National Institute of Co-ordinated Experiments) is secretly in touch with demonic entities who plan to ravage and lay waste to planet Earth.
There is a scene in That Hideous Strength that has been instrumental in my understanding and maturation of the relationship between love and obedience. Here’s the scene (it is a conversation between Dr. Ransom [interplanetary missionary] & Mrs. Studdock [recovering feminist and newly-ordained seer]):
“What would you – what would the people you are talking of – say about a case like that?”
“I will tell you if you really want to know,” said the Director.
“Please,” said Jane reluctantly.
“They would say,” he answered, “that you do not fail in obedience through lack of love, but have lost love because you never attempted obedience.”
Something in Jane that would normally have reacted to such a remark with anger or laughter was banished to a remote distance (where she could still, but only just, hear its voice) by the fact that the word Obedience – but certainly not obedience to Mark – came over her, in that room and in that presence, like a strange oriental perfume, perilous, seductive, and ambiguous…
“Stop it!” said the Director, sharply.
Jane stared at him, open mouthed. There were a few moments of silence during which the exotic fragrance faded away.
“You were saying, my dear?” resumed the Director.
“I thought love meant equality,” she said, “and free companionship.”
“Ah, equality!” said the Director. “We must talk of that some other time. Yes, we must all be guarded by equal rights from one another’s greed, because we are fallen. Just as we must all wear clothes for the same reason. But the naked body should be there underneath the clothes, ripening for the day when we shall need them no longer. Equality is not the deepest thing, you know.”
“I always thought that was just what it was. I thought it was in their souls that people were equal.”
“You were mistaken,” said he gravely. “That is the last place where they are equal. Equality before the law, equality of incomes – that is very well. Equality guards life; it doesn’t make it. It is medicine, not food. You might as well try to warm yourself with a blue-book.”
“But surely marriage …?”
“Worse and worse,” said the Director. “Courtship knows nothing of it; nor does fruition. What has free companionship to do with that? Those who are enjoying something, or suffering something together, are companions. Those who enjoy or suffer one another, are not. Do you not know how bashful friendship is? Friends – comrades – do not look at each other. Friendship would be ashamed…”
“I thought,” said Jane and stopped.
“I see,” said the Director. “It is not your fault. They never warned you. No one has ever told you that obedience – humility – is an erotic necessity. You are putting equality just where it ought not to be. As to your coming here, that may admit of some doubt. For the present, I must send you back. You can come out and see us. In the meantime, talk to your husband and I will talk to my authorities.”
“When will you be seeing them?”
“They come to me when they please. But we’ve been talking too solemnly about obedience all this time. I’d like to show you some of its drolleries. You are not afraid of mice, are you?”
“Afraid of what?” said Jane in astonishment.
“Mice,” said the Director.
“No,” said Jane in a puzzled voice.
The Director struck a little bell beside his sofa which was almost immediately answered by Mrs. Maggs.
“I think,” said the Director, “I should like my lunch now, if you please. They will give you lunch downstairs, Mrs. Studdock – something more substantial than mine. But if you will sit with me while I eat and drink, I will show you some of the amenities of our house.”
Mrs. Maggs presently returned with a tray, bearing a glass, a small flacon of red wine, and a roll of bread. She set it down on a table at the Director’s side and left the room.
“You see,” said the Director, “I live like the King in Curdie. It is a surprisingly pleasant diet.” With these words he broke the bread and poured himself out a glass of wine.
“I never read the book you are speaking of,” said Jane.
They talked of the book a little while the Director ate and drank; but presently he took up the plate and tipped the crumbs off onto the floor. “Now, Mrs. Studdock,” he said, “you shall see a diversion. But you must be perfectly still.” With these words he took from his pocket a little silver whistle and blew a note on it. And Jane sat still till the room became filled with silence like a solid thing and there was first a scratching and then a rustling and presently she saw three plump mice working their passage across what was to them the thick undergrowth of the carpet, nosing this way and that so that if their course had been drawn it would have resembled that of a winding river, until they were so close that she could see the twinkling of their eyes and even the palpitation of their noses. In spite of what she had said she did not really care for mice in the neighbourhood of her feet and it was with an effort that she sat still. Thanks to this effort she saw mice for the first time as they really are – not as creeping things but as dainty quadrupeds, almost, when they sat up, like tiny kangaroos, with sensitive kid-gloved forepaws and transparent ears. With quick, inaudible movements they ranged to and fro till not a crumb was left on the floor. Then he blew a second time on his whistle and with a sudden whisk of tails all three of them were racing for home and in a few seconds had disappeared behind the coal box. The Director looked at her with laughter in his eyes (“It is impossible,” thought Jane, “to regard him as old”). “There,” he said, “a very simple adjustment. Humans want crumbs removed; mice are anxious to remove them. It ought never to have been a cause for war. But you see that obedience and rule are more like a dance than a drill – specially between man and woman where the roles are always changing.”