Monday, August 22, 2011

Wednesday 22nd August 1945, Marks Hall

My dear,
              I am sorry to have my fears confirmed about the slowness of my letters to you. But things seem to be back to normal now as your letter of Sunday evening arrived here yesterday. One is grateful for the telephone as it helps to bridge these awkward gaps.

              Your theological outburst has my full sympathy and I am very pleased that we have been spared any official thanksgiving in this unit. Your various question are answered very cleverly by Prof. Whitehead in his 'Adventures of Ideas'. If I understand correctly his rather difficult arguments, the fault with Christian theology is that while the world needs God, God does not need the world since he is conceived as being aloof and omnipotent. Logically it follows from this concept that God is completely responsible for all that happens in the world and, with the world as we see it now, that does not give us any high opinion of God. Whitehead obviously favours a very different notion of a Deity which needs the world for self expression and who is represented as the persuasive force behind all great ideals. Whitehead maintains that such an idea has been completely set out by Plato for whom he has an enormous respect. God for Plato was manifest in Ideas which were continually struggling for expression in the material world - "torturing the unwilling dross" as Shelley puts it. And Whitehead thinks that this notion of God as a persuasive force only and not as an omnipotent compulsion is the only one feasible from a philosophical viewpoint.  Such a theory of course gives man full liberty to destroy himself if he is sufficiently pig-headed, and that is obviously the way Man is tending.

                 So there you are. It's not as exhilarating as escaping from fowler's snares and not as comforting as the thought that God is always on the side of the Anglo-Saxons, but it seems more likely to be nearer the truth.

                The above reminds me of the stuff I used to write to you from Lochranza in our strenuously intellectual days. Our life has been strangely divided into different periods but I am certain that the period which we shall be entering on soon will be the happiest and most carefree of them all. I am longing for it to begin.

                 Griffiths has just called to invite me to go with him and his wife and family to Colchester for the afternoon. So that will pass another few hours. The Griffiths family are established at an inn in Halstead for a few weeks and Griff is travelling to and from duty in his car.

              It's grand to hear that you are feeling so well and less troubled by heartburn. As you say, you should be well for, thanks to your fortunate position with your family, you are enjoying every advantage. It must be rather a dismal business for a woman to have to live alone at this trying time and I'm glad to hear you are having so much to keep you interested. I only wish I was there also to do my share in looking after you.

             In a few weeks now I'll be getting ready for leave. And after that I hope I'll soon be taking  a single railway warrant to Glasgow. And then to a delightful saturnalia of moving furniture, throwing out rubbish, whitewashing, rubbing down walls, washing nappies and walking the floor at nights. Fie on this quiet life, I want work!


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