Chessboard of Time

 Wednesday, November 12, 2003  9:58 AM

The Silver Table

“And suddenly all was changed.  I saw a great assembly of gigantic forms all motionless, all in deepest silence, standing forever about a little silver table and looking upon it.  And on the table there were little figures like chessmen who went to and fro doing this and that.  And I knew that each chessman was the idolum or puppet representative of some one of the great presences that stood by.  And the acts and motions of each chessman were a moving portrait, a mimicry or pantomine, which delineated the inmost nature of his giant master.  And these chessmen are men and women as they appear to themselves and to one another in this world.  And the silver table is Time.  And those who stand and watch are the immortal souls of those same men and women.  Then vertigo and terror seized me and, clutching at my Teacher, I said, ‘Is that the truth?….’ “

— C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, final chapter

Follow-up to the previous four entries:

St. Art Carney, whom we may imagine to be a passenger on the heavenly bus in The Great Divorce, died on Sunday, Nov. 9, 2003.

The entry for that date (Weyl’s birthday) asks for the order of the automorphism group of a 4×4 array.  For a generalization to an 8×8 array — i.e., a chessboard — see

Geometry of the I Ching.

Audrey Meadows, said to have been the youngest daughter of her family, was born in Wuchang, China. 

Tui: The Youngest Daughter

“Tui means to ‘give joy.’  Tui leads the common folk and with joy they forget their toil and even their fear of death. She is sometimes also called a sorceress because of her association with the gathering yin energy of approaching winter.  She is a symbol of the West and autumn, the place and time of death.”

Paraphrase of Book III, Commentaries of Wilhelm/Baynes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003  7:25 PM

Divine Comedy

Michael Joseph Gross:

“The Great Divorce is C.S. Lewis’s Divine Comedy: the narrator bears strong resemblance to Lewis (by way of Dante); his Virgil is the fantasy writer George MacDonald; and upon boarding a bus in a nondescript neighborhood, the narrator is taken to Heaven….”

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