Even though the Narnia films are pretty good movies and are fun to watch, I can’t help feeling a little sad. For the most part the movies turn the story into your typical action/adventure flick, like The Lord of the Rings lite. Really what the story is about, or rather who, is Jesus. The story is a parable about Jesus Christ, told by C.S. Lewis. It is sad that that will never be translated onto the big screen.
“If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering. The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.” —C.S. Lewis on ‘Sehnsucht’
Recently a friend of mine mentioned that she didn’t really get the point that John Green tried to make in TFiOS about, “The existence of broccoli does not in any way affect the taste of chocolate” and I have to agree. We thought about how pain is necessary in contrast to… pleasure, or happiness; you need one to know the other. If there were only happiness, then that would just be the only state of existence that things are in. It would just… be. Without the contrast there would be no need to differentiate one from the other by calling one “pain” and the other “happiness.” Unpleasant things do have an effect on pleasant things, because without one we wouldn’t know the other.
Here is something C.S. Lewis said, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Without pain we might begin to feel content; we might forget that this world is merely a road to another, better, lasting world and start to believe that we are already home, and therefore stop our travelling. We might start to think that this is all there is and that it’s not so bad (because after all, there would be no contrast between pleasures and pains) and thereby lose our deepest desire—that deep longing—for something that we don’t quite know, but that we all know, deep down, that we desperately want.
When confronted with pain, sure, you can shrug it off and say, “shit happens.” But what good does that do? That’s counterproductive; that makes pain seem meaningless, when in fact pain forces you to do something, it forces you to react, because if you don’t you’re just going to be living in pain. It’s like when you touch something hot, as soon as you feel the heat on your hand, you move your hand away! You react to the pain in such a way as to put a stop to it.
When I was about to post this (weeks ago now) I saw this posted by John Green on tumblr, in a reply to a question:
"then wouldn’t the suffering be evenly distributed so that we could all experience the exact right amount of it to have our joy ideally heightened?"
But doesn’t that assume that all people are the same, not that individual people are uniquely receptive to joy and suffering or that certain people deal with suffering and different kinds of suffering in different ways? The way in which people deal with suffering uniquely shapes them as an individual, both by how they choose to deal with it, and also by the specific form the suffering takes, so maybe the “uneven distribution” has a point… ?
What I mean is that, the supposition that there ought to be some “fairness” presupposes a uniform sense of equality among all people, like they would all get the same amount of good things and bad things, but that’s not how individuals work. You have your pile of good things and bad things and how you decided to deal with those throughout your life have been a contributing factor into who you are now and how you got to be that person. Your unique pile of good things and bad things and how you chose to deal with them is what brought you to the point where you are now and shaped the individual that is reading this right now to be that peculiar, unique, one-of-a-kind, individual.