Monday, February 24, 2014

Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis wrote Out of the Silent Planet in 1937. This was just six years after his conversion to Christianity. C.S. Lewis enjoyed reading science fiction, so he decided to write one himself. Like most of Lewis' writings, Christian themes are evident in the work. Some of the themes in this book suggested by Lewis scholars are:  "A Platonic-Christian universe," "Spiritual imagination," scientism, "true vision and right perception," personal choice, myth, and others (Teaching C.S. Lewis by Richard Hill and Lyle Smith).

The story's three main characters are Weston, Devine, and Ransom. Weston and Devine kidnaps Ransom and brings him to Mars. They intend to offer him as a sacrifice to the leaders of Mars. Ransom manages to escape from Weston and Devine. Read the book if you want to know more.

The character of Ransom has similarities with the character of both Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. Ransom is between 35-40 years old and dresses shabbily. He is a philologist like Tolkien. Ransom enjoys walking tours, whiskey, and tobacco. He served in the army and is a Christian.

A thought-provoking part of the book is Weston's philosophy. He thinks that the ends justifies the means. He thinks that "anything which is done to individual people now is justified if it serves to perpetuate the human race." I was reading an essay about G. K. Chesterton this morning. Chesterton stated that each am's individual happiness is an end. Lewis strongly disagrees with Weston's philosophy. It even thought that an individual person is more important than civilizations because each individual is eternal.

Lewis does a good job in creating a new world that is quite believable. There is a sense of beauty in his description of Malacandra (Mars). Sin has not effected this world. Ransom soon finds out that he come from the silent Planet made up of bent people. He means by bent a fallen race. They are the silent planet because they live under the domain of a fallen angel.

 The character of Ransom develops through the book. He learns to see through the eyes of the Malacandrians. He grows in knowledge and wisdom during his stay on Malacandra. He is also grows in the moral virtues, like courage. He also begins to see his world from the perspective of the Malacandrians.

All these things are applicable to the pursuit of education. We must have something to stand on. WE need to have a viewpoint where we can critique other viewpoints. We must also be able to critically evaluate our own viewpoint. In addition, we must be able to learn from others. God is infinite; we are not. God is all-knowing; our knowledge is limited and fragmentary. We must have the humility to listen to the views of others.

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