I just reread That Hideous Strength, and was caught again by the scene near to the end when all the ladies of St. Anne’s on the Hill are dressed by each other in the great wardrobe of Logres. Each pick out the gowns that the others will wear, and are only able to see themselves in the reactions of the ladies around them. None of them would have chosen the gown they wear for themselves; all are revealed in the fullness of the splendor of their beauty. Their splendor, however, is not and cannot be for themselves. There are no mirrors.
It is interesting to think about this in relation to all the previous posts on praise. It is part of the stuff of love to share others with themselves, to sing about someone to them. It’s foundational to mutual joy.
This should serve as a moderator, I think, to anyone who is tempted to become a praise-o-phobic, a very similar vice to that of the praise-o-centric. Either way you go, it constitutes an obsession with the stuff, either as vigilance to obtain it or as vigilance to divert it.
Ah, for a world where we could sing of and be sung of in love rather than idolatry! Ah, for a world with no mirrors.