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Re: [mythsoc] Re: Mystical Realms Newsletter for December, 2007

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  • Margaret Dean
    ... In the end, technology of any kind serves to extend human faculties in some way (or rather, those of its builders; so far the human species is the one we
    Message 1 of 9 , Dec 7, 2007
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      Jef Murray wrote:

      > W.r.t. your second point, about why an evil spell
      > would be in a "good" wizard's book, I'm reminded of
      > the oft-heard comment that technology is
      > neutral...that is, it can be used for good or evil,
      > but that it, by itself, is neither (pace, Tolkien!).

      In the end, technology of any kind serves to extend human
      faculties in some way (or rather, those of its builders; so far
      the human species is the one we know to make extensive and varied
      use of technology, though there are tool-using animals). I think
      Tolkien would agree that evil resides in the human part of the
      equation.

      > And I expect the same applies to a spellbook (was it
      > Tolkien, or Chesterton, who claimed that a
      > sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable
      > from magic?).

      Neither; that was Arthur C. Clarke (In fact, that's "Clarke's
      Third Law").


      --Margaret Dean
      <margdean@...>
    • alexeik@aol.com
      ... From: Jef Murray To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Sent: Fri, 7 Dec 2007 9:02 am Subject: [mythsoc] Re: Mystical Realms Newsletter for
      Message 2 of 9 , Dec 7, 2007
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        -----Original Message-----
        From: Jef Murray <jef.murray@...>
        To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Fri, 7 Dec 2007 9:02 am
        Subject: [mythsoc] Re: Mystical Realms Newsletter for December, 2007



        W.r.t. your second point, about why an evil spell
        would be in a "good" wizard's book, I'm reminded of
        the oft-heard comment that technology is
        neutral...that is, it can be used for good or evil,
        but that it, by itself, is neither (pace, Tolkien!).
        <<

        In his Long Sun/Short Sun books Gene Wolfe uses the term "black technology" as a direct counterpart to "black magic."
        Alexei









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      • Diane Joy Baker
        I suppose good could be accomplished by making a woman the most beautiful woman in the world; just am not sure what would happen afterwards. Lovely women are
        Message 3 of 9 , Dec 7, 2007
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          I suppose good could be accomplished by making a woman the most beautiful woman in the world; just am not sure what would happen afterwards. Lovely women are definitely treated more positively, but unless one is already a confident and wise-souled woman, I would think the result would be a lifetime's worth of major temptations.---and I don't just mean sexual (tho it's also true that beauty intimidates many men. Note, I did not say ALL men.)

          It would make for an interesting fantasy tale: what would be the out-working of that kind of spell?---djb

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: alexeik@...
          To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Friday, December 07, 2007 1:31 PM
          Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Mystical Realms Newsletter for December, 2007




          -----Original Message-----
          From: Jef Murray <jef.murray@...>
          To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Fri, 7 Dec 2007 9:02 am
          Subject: [mythsoc] Re: Mystical Realms Newsletter for December, 2007

          W.r.t. your second point, about why an evil spell
          would be in a "good" wizard's book, I'm reminded of
          the oft-heard comment that technology is
          neutral...that is, it can be used for good or evil,
          but that it, by itself, is neither (pace, Tolkien!).
          <<

          In his Long Sun/Short Sun books Gene Wolfe uses the term "black technology" as a direct counterpart to "black magic."
          Alexei

          RECENT ACTIVITY

          1

          New Members

          Visit Your Group

          Y! Entertainment

          World of Star Wars

          Rediscover the force.

          Explore now.

          Yahoo! News

          Kevin Sites

          Get coverage of

          world crises.

          Endurance Zone

          A Fitness Group

          about overall

          better endurance.

          .

          __________________________________________________________
          More new features than ever. Check out the new AOL Mail ! - http://o.aolcdn.com/cdn.webmail.aol.com/mailtour/aol/en-us/text.htm?ncid=aolcmp00050000000003

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        • Mike Foster
          John Peterson of the American Chesterton Society writes: Arthur C. Clarke: Laws of Prediction : 1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that
          Message 4 of 9 , Dec 8, 2007
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            John Peterson of the American Chesterton Society writes:
            "Arthur C. Clarke: "Laws of "Prediction":
            1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something
            is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something
            is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
            2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to
            venture a little way past them into the impossible.
            3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from
            magic.

            P.S. I don't believe the word "technology" was in Chesterton's active
            vocabulary."


            -----Original Message-----
            From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
            Of Margaret Dean
            Sent: Friday, December 07, 2007 8:18 AM
            To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Mystical Realms Newsletter for December, 2007

            Jef Murray wrote:

            > W.r.t. your second point, about why an evil spell
            > would be in a "good" wizard's book, I'm reminded of
            > the oft-heard comment that technology is
            > neutral...that is, it can be used for good or evil,
            > but that it, by itself, is neither (pace, Tolkien!).

            In the end, technology of any kind serves to extend human
            faculties in some way (or rather, those of its builders; so far
            the human species is the one we know to make extensive and varied
            use of technology, though there are tool-using animals). I think
            Tolkien would agree that evil resides in the human part of the
            equation.

            > And I expect the same applies to a spellbook (was it
            > Tolkien, or Chesterton, who claimed that a
            > sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable
            > from magic?).

            Neither; that was Arthur C. Clarke (In fact, that's "Clarke's
            Third Law").

            --Margaret Dean
            <margdean@erols. <mailto:margdean%40erols.com> com>



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          • Lynn Maudlin
            Lucy // Galadriel I haven t read through the rest of the comments on the list yet (sorry--) but I think it bears remembering that Galadriel was a being with a
            Message 5 of 9 , Dec 10, 2007
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              Lucy // Galadriel

              I haven't read through the rest of the comments on the list yet
              (sorry--) but I think it bears remembering that Galadriel was a being
              with a lot of experience behind her (rebellion, etc.) and Lucy was
              still a human child. Not that you are chastising Lucy for needing
              Aslan's 'presence' to resist the temptation but I think it's worth
              remembering how young she was meant to be, especially since she is
              often so spiritually mature.

              Jef, thank you for posting that - fascinating thoughts, many with
              which I resonate but I won't go tangential to the list!

              blessings all--
              -- Lynn --

              --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Jason Fisher <visualweasel@...> wrote:
              >
              > Jef,
              >
              > Thought-provoking message. Setting aside the points you raise about
              "angel vision", etc. -- not because those questions aren't
              interesting, but because they might be off-topic for an extended
              discussion here -- I wanted to raise a couple of questions about your
              Lewis analogy.
              >
              > You wrote:
              >
              > > In "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader", C. S. Lewis places
              > > his protagonist, Lucy, in a precarious spot. She must go
              > > into a wizard's study, open his spell book, and find a spell
              > > that will cause the invisible Dufflepuds to become visible
              > > once again.
              > >
              > > As she seeks the "visibility spell", Lucy is sorely tempted
              > > to utter an alternative, one that will make her more beautiful
              > > than anyone else in the world. This evil beckons, but she
              > > does not yield to temptation. And, once she finds and speaks
              > > the words of the spell she was seeking, not only do the
              > > Dufflepuds appear, but also the wizard, plus Aslan, the
              > > Christ figure in Lewis' "Chronicles of Narnia".
              >
              > First, does Lucy's temptation here, and the revelation of its
              possible consequences, remind anybody else of Galadriel's temptation
              by the One Ring in The Lord of the Rings? Galadriel says: "You will
              give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a
              Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the
              Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon
              the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than
              the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!" Now, I
              don't think Galadriel is really quite as tempted as Lucy seems to be
              -- Lucy is on the verge of saying the words, and Aslan himself has to
              make an appearance in the spell-book to stop her; whereas, Galadriel
              has fought her own inner battles of temptation (and won them) before
              the Ring even appears in Lothl�rien. But the imagery in the two scenes
              strikes me as rather similar -- especially where the spell-Lucy's
              > preternatural beauty leads to the desolation of "all Narnia and
              Archenland, Telmar and Calormen, Galma and Terebinthia", which
              (mutatis mutandis) would certainly have been the same result if
              Galadriel had taken the Ring.
              >
              > Second, if the wizard Coriakin is "good" (as he seems to be by his
              close association with Aslan), why are there "bad" spells in his
              spell-book? As you put it, "the evil beckons", but why is there an
              "evil" spell in his book at all? One might say it's only there to
              tempt her, but is that an acceptable answer from the theological point
              of view Lewis was attempting to advance? And related to your point
              about Lucy's "not yield[ing] to temptation", remember that she *does*
              recite the spell to eavesdrop on her friends at school. If that is a
              less "evil" surrender to temptation, it is nevertheless still a moral
              defeat, no? Aslan chastises her for it, though gently. This scene,
              too, if I might allude to Tolkien again, reminds me of the temptation
              to look into the palant�r -- a temptation which several characters in
              The Lord of the Rings *do* give in to. And in both Tolkien and Lewis,
              what one learns thereby isn't *quite* the whole truth, is it?
              >
              > What do you think? Anyone else have thoughts to share?
              >
              > Jason
              >
            • Lynn Maudlin
              I meant to address this briefly - one could look at the Bible that way, too - there are TERRIBLE situations related in scripture, people do horrible things -
              Message 6 of 9 , Dec 10, 2007
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                I meant to address this briefly - one could look at the Bible that
                way, too - there are TERRIBLE situations related in scripture, people
                do horrible things - why would those be 'commemorated' by inclusion in
                scripture? why would God speak such disturbing and graphic analogies
                to Ezekiel? etc. - I think there is a small correlation between the
                two: a book of spells is a collection - it may very well have been
                edited (the worst, most evil removed - this wasn't a *very* bad spell
                that Lucy resisted, after all) - but more than that I think it goes to
                free will. Scripture includes horrible stuff *in part* to show us to
                what base behavior human nature can sink; the spell book includes evil
                spells *in part* because God (and, in Narnian terms, Aslan) values
                freewill.

                Did Aslan interfere with Lucy's freewill when His image came to life?
                It could be argued but I prefer to think He was reminding her of
                deeper values that she longed to embrace, that He knew the desires of
                her heart better than she did.

                -- Lynn --

                --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Jef Murray <jef.murray@...> wrote:
                >
                > W.r.t. your second point, about why an evil spell
                > would be in a "good" wizard's book, I'm reminded of
                > the oft-heard comment that technology is
                > neutral...that is, it can be used for good or evil,
                > but that it, by itself, is neither (pace, Tolkien!).
                > And I expect the same applies to a spellbook (was it
                > Tolkien, or Chesterton, who claimed that a
                > sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable
                > from magic?). So, I assume that for _some_ people and
                > in _some_ circumstances, the "beauty" spell might be
                > used for good.
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