Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Black Hole - Hell is a tourniquet

"THEN THERE IS, after all, " said John, "a black hole such as my old Steward described to me." "I do not know what your Steward described. But there is a black hole." And still the Landlord is "so kind and good?" "I see that you have been among the Enemy's people. In these latter days there is no charge against the Landlord which the Enemy brings so often as cruelty. That is just like the Enemy, for he is, at bottom, very dull. He has never hit on the one slander against the Landlord which would be really plausible. Anyone can refute the charge of cruelty. If he really wants to damage the Landlord's character, he has a much stronger line than that to take. He ought to say that the Landlord is an inveterate gambler. That would not be true, but it would be plausible, for there is no denying that the Landlord does take risks."

"But what about the charge of cruelty?" "I was just coming to that. The Landlord has taken the risk of working the country with free tenants instead of slaves in chain gangs; and as they are free there is no way of making it impossible for them to go into forbidden places and eat forbidden fruits. Up to a certain point he can doctor them even when they have done so, and break them of the habit. But beyond that point - you can see for yourself. A man can go on eating mountain-apple so long that nothing will cure his craving for it; and the very worm it breeds inside him will make him more certain to eat more. You must not try to fix the point somewhere."

"But surely the Landlord can do anything?" "He cannot do what is contradictory; or in other words, a meaningless sentence will not gain meaning simply because someone chooses to prefix to it the words, "the Landlord can." And it is meaningless to talk of forcing a man to do freely what a man has freely made impossible for himself.

"I see. But at least these poor creatures are unhappy enough; there is no need to add a black hole." "The Landlord does not make the blackness. The blackness is there already wherever the taste of mountain-apple has created the vermiculate will. What do you mean by a hole? Something that ends. A black hole is blackness enclosed, limited. And in that sense the Landlord has made the black hole. He has put into the world a WORST THING. But evil of itself would never reach a worst; for evil is fissiparous and could never in a thousand eternities find any way to arrest its own reproduction. If it could, it would be no longer evil; for Form and Limit belong to the good. The walls of the black hole are the tourniquet on the wound through which the lost soul else would bleed to a death she never reached. It is the Landlord's last service to those who will let him do nothing better for them."

HUMAN CHOICE - then the Guide sang:

Nearly they stood who fall;
Themselves as they look back
See always in the track
The one false step, where all
Even yet, by lightest swerve
Of foot not yet enslaved,
By smallest tremor of the smallest nerve,
Might have been saved.

Nearly they fell who stand,
And with cold after fear
Look back to mark how near
They grazed the Siren's land,
Wondering that subtle fate,
By threads so spidery fine,
The choice of ways so small, the event so great,
Should thus entwine.

Therefore oh, man, have fear
Lest oldest fears be true,
Lest thou too far pursue
The road that seems so clear,
And step, secure, a hair's
Breadth past the hair-breadth bourne,
Which being once corssed forever unawares,
Denies return.


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