Deplorable Word, Scolarship & Spiritual themes

C. S. Lewis, his worlds, and his faith.

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Deplorable Word, Scolarship & Spiritual themes

Postby elrondaragorn » Jan 27, 2011 6:14 am

The deplorable word and the tree of youth in Narnia got me thinking. Aslan said everything works according to its nature, but if used the wrong way, the consequences could be bad.

I've often wondered if C.S. Lewis ever commented on his own work like Tolkien, or if there is a forum for people who shared their world view to discuss these works in A Christian context as well as scholoarly & artistic Like Lewis and his friends did in Inklings.

It seems, for example, that Aslan wanted the rings hidden so no one could use them again after Digory, yet in the last book they are used again trying to respond to Tirian's distress call.

Was Aslan, who in C.S. Lewis's story LWW is a Type of Christ forbidding all use or just the improper use of the rings?

What I mean is, In MN Aslan said the fruit of youth could either protect Narnia as it was created to be if use of the apples were authorized, or turn it into an evil empire like Charn.

In that book Jadis mentions Charn and several other places she evidently destroyed-possibly other worlds or other kingdoms of her world, and I wonder if the deplorable word was something like stealing an apple thinking to protect Narnia, only to have the protection turn ugly?
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Re: Deplorable Word, Scolarship & Spiritual themes

Postby TheGeneral » Feb 28, 2011 2:38 pm

That's a cool thought. But I've always just thought of it as an innately evil magical curse (it could never be used for good, whereas the apple could). I always thought the best analogy to our world was like biological warfare, there's no right way to use that. In MN it says
"It is not certain that some wicked one of your race will not find out a secret as evil as the Deplorable Word and use it to destroy all living things."
So that makes me think it's much different from the tree of youth.
Just my opinion though.
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Re: Deplorable Word, Scolarship & Spiritual themes

Postby Arvan » Mar 08, 2011 4:25 pm

"It is not certain that some wicked one of your race will not find out a secret as evil as the Deplorable Word and use it to destroy all living things."

I always thought that quote referred to the Atomic Bomb. Though I never thought of biological warfare...
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Re: Deplorable Word, Scolarship & Spiritual themes

Postby Ionic Bonding Rocks » Mar 24, 2011 12:07 am

Hmm, that's actually a really interesting idea. I'd never given that any thought to that, I always just took the Deplorable Word to be some huge secret spell that could destroy anything. I don't think it's like the tree of protection, even if someone with good intentions said it, I have a feeling it would still utterly destroy everything. So I guess that biological warfare and the Atomic Bomb are both good analogies for it.
I once read a fanfic that suggested that the Deplorable Word was 'Marysue'. I am somewhat inclined to make this my opinion - even with what the 'Suethors believe are good intentions, a Mary Sue will always wreak havoc in a piece of Fan Fiction!!!
I don't know, perhaps Lewis just meant that there are some things we were never meant to know. :-\
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Re: Deplorable Word, Scolarship & Spiritual themes

Postby Graymouser » Mar 26, 2011 8:22 am

Well, the very fact that it's a "Deplorable" word makes it hard to believe it could be used for good.

And, given this was written in the mid-50s, I think "the Bomb" was what he clearly had in mind.
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Re: Deplorable Word, Scolarship & Spiritual themes

Postby Andrew » Apr 05, 2011 10:35 pm

I've always thought of the Deplorable Word as an allegory for atomic fusion. We can join atoms together to create elements and new things and make medical breakthroughs. But we can also split the atom which is what happens when a nuclear bomb explodes. Keep in mind, I'm no science expert so don't cite me on that.

Now, I do believe the reformed church believes that nothing is intrinsically evil and even "evil" actions are really good because they're all a part of God's plan to bring himself glory. So like, if Jadis hadn't destroyed Charn she would never have ushered in Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy to overthrow her and lead Narnia to its golden age. Hmm...
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Re: Deplorable Word, Scolarship & Spiritual themes

Postby Ithilwen » Apr 05, 2011 11:26 pm

^^ Christians do believe some actions are evil. But because they are necessary, God still allows them to happen. That doesn't take away the fact that the action is evil or sinful, though.


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Re: Deplorable Word, Scolarship & Spiritual themes

Postby Andrew » Apr 07, 2011 7:40 am

Are we still talking about Narnia? ;) But like I said, it depends on your denomination. I think the point of the idea I mentioned is that since everything works out for the ultimate good of God, nothing humans can do is really bad. I'm not saying that I agree, or that it's consistent with the Bible, just that it's a theology out there.
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Re: Deplorable Word, Scolarship & Spiritual themes

Postby Ithilwen » Apr 07, 2011 7:52 pm

Andrew wrote:Are we still talking about Narnia? ;) But like I said, it depends on your denomination. I think the point of the idea I mentioned is that since everything works out for the ultimate good of God, nothing humans can do is really bad. I'm not saying that I agree, or that it's consistent with the Bible, just that it's a theology out there.


Yes, I am talking about Narnia. C.S. Lewis was a Christian man, and incorporated his beliefs into his stories. Just because Narnia is not a Christian allegory, that doesn't mean Narnia isn't a Christian series.

As for the idea of humans not being able to do bad because eveything works for God's glory, it certainly isn't in line with the Bible. People who did wrong in the Bible were always held accountable, no matter how God used their actions.

And yes, there are many "theologies" out there saying many things; but the whole basis of Christian theologies are that they are based on what the Bible says. If a "theology" is based on something that goes against the Bible, then I would question it being called a "theology" at all, no matter what it claims to be. And although C.S. Lewis wasn't perfect, he did try to root his beliefs in the truth of the Bible. He wasn't a fool concerning scriptures; he knew what the Bible says.


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Re: Deplorable Word, Scolarship & Spiritual themes

Postby Lilygloves » Apr 08, 2011 2:18 pm

I think that Aslan wanted them to bury the rings because he didn't want them to be misused, but also because there was no need for the rings. After all he did say that they didn't need the rings because he was with them. children were never brought to Narnia unless there was a reason, and obviously if there was a reason Aslan would bring them. It would abuse the power of the rings if they used them any time they wanted to go to Narnia. Aslan specifically timed when children would go to Narnia.
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Re: Deplorable Word, Scolarship & Spiritual themes

Postby Ionic Bonding Rocks » Apr 08, 2011 10:54 pm

For someone to say that nothing they do is evil simply because it will work for the good of God is an example of people trying to twist the scriptures so that they don't have to accountable for anything they do. God can turn any situation, good or bad, into something for His will, but that doesn't excuse anyone to do as they please.
Don't know how what I just said contributed to this thread's discussion, but I just had to say that. It makes me so angry to think that people believe they have a right to twist God's own words against Him!
About the rings, I think Aslan wanted them buried perhaps so that nobody, in a moment of weakness, decided they'd try to get back into Narnia. If he didn't want them used at all, he would've asked for them to be destroyed (and hope that Digory wouldn't turn into Gollumn). Eustace and Jill were told that they might be coming back to Narnia, but they were mature enough not think of using the rings unless Narnia was in great need, as it was. Don't know if that made much sense, but what I'm trying to say is that Aslan didn't want the rings to be used just for 'holidays' to Narnia, but only in times of desperate need. (that's the best sense I can make of it anyway - I haven't read MN in a long time)
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Re: Deplorable Word, Scolarship & Spiritual themes

Postby Pepper » Apr 12, 2011 1:29 pm

Here is an interesting blog post stumbled on earlier today, in which the author claims to have discovered the identity of the Deplorable Word.

While we all know that Lewis doesn't actually specify in the book what that word is, this seems to me a very plausible theory.

http://godssleddog.blogspot.com/2007/05 ... -word.html

P.S. Great care was taken to not include the word in this post.
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Re: Deplorable Word, Scolarship & Spiritual themes

Postby Ithilwen » Apr 12, 2011 6:06 pm

^^That's a good idea for the Deplorable Word. I never thought about that before. So simple, and yet so obvious. It's too bad C.S. Lewis didn't state that the Deplorable Word actually was that. It would have made a good illustration concerning the dangers of self-centeredness.

Personally, I don't think C.S. Lewis actually had any particular word in mind for it. I think he just thought of the idea of her saying a word, and ended it there. And even if it did state the word, it would probably have been some gibberish word to us that was part of the Charn language. Or just a spell.


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