On the Nature of Things

"I am a star at rest, my daughter," answered Ramandu. "When I set for the last time, decrepit and old beyond all that you can reckon, I was carried to an island. I am not so old now as I was then. Every morning a bird brings me a fireberry from the valleys in the Sun, and each fireberry takes away a little of my age. And when I have become as young as the child that was born yesterday, then I shall take my rising again (for we are at earth's eastern rim) and once more tread the great dance."
"In our world," said Eustace, "a star is a huge ball of flaming gas."
"Even in your world, my son, that is not what a star is, but only what it is made of."

[The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, 180].  

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5 Comments

  1. Metaphysical Realist said,

    April 8, 2006 at 7:34 am

    Quite a proper distinction. Much like the story of the student, the teacher, and the fish.

    ~MR

  2. April 13, 2006 at 7:34 am

    Ok, I’ll display my ignorance. Is the point that to reduce a star to its mere composition fails to recognize its beauty and true nature?

  3. Neoclassical said,

    April 14, 2006 at 8:54 pm

    Right.

    It is scientism that reduces things to merely its materials.

    There is a difference in saying, “this is what makes a star,” and, “this is a star.”

    It doesn’t have so much to do with poetry, as it has to do with ontology (the essence of things).

  4. April 14, 2006 at 9:27 pm

    Ok.

    There is a similar observation from Lewis in The Last Battle on Susan. I don’t have the book here, but Peter (I believe) observes how she has forgotten/forsaken the real nature of things for temporal materialism.

    You just can’t capture those thoughts in a movie.

  5. lilrabbi said,

    April 22, 2006 at 11:04 am

    Are you saying we have gas?


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