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"Further up and further in" is a cry used at the end of CS Lewis' The Last Battle, as a command and celebration of the ability to climb further up into Aslan's Country. The cry is given together with the act of running indefatigably upwards. (It is commented that if it was possible to run without tiring, people would never do anything else.) The last chapters of The Last Battle display a world after an armageddon, where the elect can explore the world of N arnia as it was meant to be. They run through it, and find a walled garden, equivalent to The Garden of Eden, where they discover an even better version of the world of Narnia, which in turn has another world inside of it, and where the experience of those running upwards becomes ever more intense and real.

Although this general description could probably be corrected in terms of both Lewis' history of Narnia, and of the Christian eschatology he is making an allegory of. However, even what is described, it presents several interesting points. One of the things that strikes me is the physical immediacy of the act of running upwards. Lewis' writing often seems overly pedantic and allegorical, but in the description of people running upwards joyously, it seems to be a direct description of something that Lewis would enjoy. Along those lines, the description also seems to be something that is mystically experienced, rather than a scholastic doctrine that Lewis is turning into metaphor. Much as in The Wood Between the Worlds, Lewis seems to be communicating something that he has experienced himself. The description of an ever increasing inward motion that results in a wider knowledge of the world, together with the overwhelming positive emotion that accompanies it, seems like a good description of an Omega Point.

One aspect of the story that I found curious only years after I initially read it is the way that geography is presented. Throughout the series, Narnia is presented as being very clearly geographically delineated. The ocean to its east is practically never-ending, and the Western border of Narnia is a sheer border of cliffs that are almost impenetrable, beyond which there are only wild territories. The conclusion to this book is one of the few places in the series in which this border is surmounted. Reading this as a child, this geography didn't seem at all fantastical: I grew up in a place where geography actually was defined by a practically never ending ocean, and by a range of mountains that were very hard to pass, and beyond which there were only wilderness. So in my early imaginations, passing these physical barriers seemed to be a likely way of entering into a world that would be transcendent over normal reality. Only reflecting later do I think that for Lewis, or many in Europe and America, geography does not present such a world.

Earlier this week, I was hiking in the Bitterroot Mountains, the largest wilderness area in the Lower 48. The hike I was going on was a short day hike, only four or five miles total from the trailhead. It was also along a creek, meaning that it was not a mountain climb as such, but was more rugged and steeper than I expected. Four miles in the mountains means nothing like what four miles means other times, and by the time I was half way in, I was quite tired. I hoped to make it to the end of the trail, where the creek we were following plunged down in a waterfall up to some mountain lakes. After several hours of walking, we only made it to where we could see the waterfall. Although I enjoyed the hike as much as my fatigue would let me, I felt no great feeling of penetrating deeper into a mystery as I approached the divide of the Bitterroot Mountains. I wonder if I could, as is said "run without ever getting tired", and had made it up to the top of the range, and into those high lakes, if I would have felt a great feeling of transformation. But beyond that arduous hike, there was no secret walled garden where answers would present themselves to me: instead there would have just been the descent into hungry, fatiguing Idaho wilderness, for many a mile.

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