Voyage to Venus

"... now, by some transition, which he did not notice, it seemed that what had begun as speech was turned into sight, or into something that can be remembered only as if it were seeing. He thought he saw the Great Dance. It seemed to be woven out of the intertwining undulation of many cords or bands of light, leaping over and under one another and mutually embraced in arabesques and flower-like subtleties.

Each figure as he looked at it became the master-figure or focus of the whole spectacle, by means of which his eye disentangled all else and brought it into unity--only to be itself entangled when he looked to what he had taken for mere marginal decorations and found that there also the same hegemony was claimed, and the claim made good, yet the former pattern thereby disposed but finding in its new subordination a significance greater than that which it had abdicated.

He could see also ( but the word "seeing" is now plainly inadequate)wherever the ribbons or serpents of light intersected minute corpuscles of momentary brightness: and he knew somehow that these particles were the secular generalities of which history tells--people, institutions, climates of opinion, civilizations, arts, sciences and the like--ephemeral coruscations that piped their short song and vanished. The ribbons or cords themselves, in which millions of corpuscles lived and died, were the things of some different kind. At first he could not say what. But he knew in the end that most of them were individual entities. If so, the time in which the Great Dance proceeds is very unlike time as we know it.

Some of the thinner more delicate cords were the beings that we call short lived: flowers and insects, a fruit or a storm of rain, and once (he thought) a wave of the sea. Others were such things we think lasting: crystals, rivers, mountains, or even stars. Far above these in girth and luminosity and flashing with colours form beyond our spectrum were the lines of personal beings, yet as different from one another in splendour as all of them from the previous class. But not all the cords were individuals: some of them were universal truths or universal qualities. It did not surprise him then to find that these and the persons were both cords and both stood together as against the mere atoms of generality which lived and died in the clashing of their streams: But afterwards, when he came back to earth, he wondered.

And by now the thing must have passed together out of the region of sight as we understand it. For he says that the whole figure of there enamored and inter-inanimate circling was suddenly revealed as the mere superficies of a far vaster pattern in four dimensions, and that figure as the boundary of yet others in other worlds: till suddenly as the movement grew yet swifter, the interweaving yet more ecstatic, the relevance of all to all yet more intense, as dimension was added to dimension and tat part of him which could reason and remember was dropped further and further behind that part of him which saw, even then, at the very zenith of complexity, complexity was eaten up and faded, as a thin white cloud fades into the hard blue burning of sky, and all simplicity beyond all comprehension, ancient and young as spring, illimitable, pellucid, drew him with cords of infinite desire into it’s own stillness. He went up into such a quietness, a privacy, and a freshness that at the very moment when he stood farthest from our ordinary mode of being he had the sense of striping off encumbrances and awaking from a trance, and coming to himself. With a gesture of relaxation he looked about him".

C.S. Lewis ~ Voyage to Venus (Perelandra)


Emmy said...

Roger, this is totally ironic, because I actually just picked up "Out of the Silent Planet" and "Perelandra" at the library and they're on my reading lists :P

(I had to read "That Hideous Strength" for a class, so its weird that I'd already read the last book in the series first.)

Roger R. said...

Hi Emmy... I rather like 'Perelandra' as it's descriptions of the un-fallen world of Venus is so beautiful. Do hope you enjoy it as much as I.



Ivon1167 said...

I liter rally just came across this posting today. I haven't thought about these 3 books for a long long time.
I read the first 2, Out of a Silent Planet and Voyage to Venus when I was around 10 years old in the UK.
They triggered an amazing and intense vision in me. The descriptions of Venus and the unfathomable beauty just clicked so well with me.

I hunted them down and read them all again when I was 37! Venus still sounded so wonderful! The 3rd book I found much less easy to read and it took a long time. It felt like the inspiration of book 2 and to a lesser extent 1, were gone in favor of a more dark, intellectual and heavy world. Not sure what the timeline was for cs Lewis writing these, but book 2 was truly inspired!

I have all 3 in the Penguin edition here with me now, I live in Malaysia! I bought them all in Australia.

You know, my trade for 13+ years has been cgi, 3d animation, and now I'm a trainer for a big computer games company. My unaccomplished vision was to put these books, at least books1 and 2 into a film. I'm being commissioned right now to come up with a mobile game concept. This might the one!

The spirit in these books surely does infiltrate lives in an unseen and ever lasting way!

Nice to see that they effect others in the same way.
Well, if the game gets off the ground, check out Apples iStore in the next few months!

Enjoy the worlds within!
Ivon in Malaysia.
Btw in a darker way, Radix also pulled me in too! Take a look...

Ivon1167 said...

...sorry, Radix by A.A. Attanasio from 1981.
And if you like those perhaps some of China Mieville's books may touch you also. Again not so light but equally vision inspiring.