Wednesday, August 27, 2008

For all my fellow bookworms...

So, as you all know we've been working with Plato's "Allegory of the Cave", trying to understand how it relates to knowledge and our search for truth.
This conversation brought to mind a book that I'd read that some of you may be interested in. The book is called Till We Have Faces and is a retelling of the myth of Psyche and Cupid by C.S. Lewis. Besides being a fascinating story it also contains some parallels with Plato's ''Allegory" regarding the way in which humans deal with being shown truth and the discomfort that sometimes accompanies acquisition of knowledge. I think the themes presented would lend themselves very well to a ToK discussion and fit in with what we've been learning about.
I've attached a link explaining some of the key themes/concepts of the book to the title of the post, the ones that would be most applicable are towards the bottom of the webpage. If you have time (I know it's a laughable concept in most of our lives...) please read it!
Let me know what you think...


Erin said...

This fabulous book is my English EE topic. As a retelling, it is formated as the ugly stepsister's written argument against the gods. Essentially, she is contesting "the gods'" false portrayal of herself as the jealous villain of the original myth. Among the many fascinating plot-elements, I am exploring the the protagonist's extremely dynamic characterization and development. Basically, Orual, the protagonist, is grappling with the same questions of truth and knowledge that we are in TOK. In her search for self-knowledge, her ignorance literally clouds her eyes so that reality shifts and transforms itself as her perception of it changes. Even her physical appearance is subject to change. Because she is the narrator, the reader is forced to evaluate these transformations as they occur.
Before Orual can confront the truths and justices that she seeks, she has to define, for herself and herself alone, what it she that actually believes. Like us, she has to work from the bottom up to evaluate what it is any of us truly knows. As she says, how can truth "[the gods] meet us face to face till we have faces?" (Lewis, 294).
The book addresses but ultimately leaves unanswered several significant questions: What does it mean to "have faces," to know ourselves? In what ways is it essential to the pursuit of truth?

Erin said...

Additional questions that occurred to me: Are any of our emotions as simple as the words that we give them? When does love become obsession, oppression, even hate?
Also, the link that you posted, Annelise, says that this book, as a "work of (supposed) historical imagination" contains many parallels but is not an allegory. In my reading of it however, I see several characters that not only are archetypes (the mythological deities). Furthermore, according to Bareface; A Guide to C.S. Lewis's Last Novel, by Doris T. Myers, "individuation, the Jungian theory of personality development, is the basis of Orual's whole story." In my reading of it, these archetypal characters interact with one another in patterns much like those of the components of the psyche undergoing individuation (as I understand it). Could this book not be allegory for said process? For those who have read it, what do you think? Can it be an allegory? If so, how might it relate to the search for truth?