I know I have said this many times over the years I have been blogging, but not all current reader have been around that long; and it is terribly important to understand!
(To see what I have previously written - word-search 'coming to a point'.)
In the public domain, the mass media, the politics-government, in education and all other major social systems we are seeing 'things coming to a point' - this process is very far advanced, continues, is apparently accelerating.
The phrase comes from That Hideous Strength by CS Lewis, which is available free online at Project Gutenberg in Canada; it means much the same as what people imply by the misuse of the word 'polarisation' - it means that Good and evil are becoming so extreme as to lose the grey areas and be starkly separated; it means that there is no neutrality and every-thing of any possible public significance is now-and-increasingly either positively/ actively/ purposively-Good or positively/ actively/ purposively-evil.
This creates all kinds of problems, suffering, hardship, But in a world such as this one, coming to a point is a Good-thing. By 'Good' I mean in a spiritual and eternal sense - not a materialist and this-worldly sense. The process is Good for our souls, even when it is bad for our minds and bodies.
It is Good because it is better than the alternative; which is more of the same as we have been getting for the past fifty years; and which has led-to, is leading to ever-more, materialism, hedonism, short-termism, hopelessness, cowardice, despair... and consequently the active-embrace-and-propagation of lies, ugliness, sin and all other forms of evil.
The news, the law, the workplace, the schools and colleges, the mainstream churches - are pushing the evil agenda more and more aggressively, extremely, and rapidly. Whether this is because they can't help themselves, or because they feel that all opposition has now been crushed - or whether they fear that people might wake-up and push back (or from some blend of these) doesn't really matter: It Is Happening.
Because things are coming to a point, it gets easier to notice and understand what is happening; and this a Good because it is something that each individual can only do For Himself. If he does not do it For Himself, then it merely passive, therefore it has Not Actually Happened.
Of course, so far, things have been coming to a point, Good and evil are ever-more-clearly distinct - and people have been choosing evil en masse. So be it. People have agency, people can choose evil, and they are apparently doing so in very large numbers. If so, they have made their choice and Will live with that choice (unless or until they repent it, which usually gets harder with time).
This is a test for everyone: it is a test for Christians. Christians are confronted with worldly-expediency versus spiritual virtue again and again, every day and in multiple situations; and their response (I mean their response in their own thinking) will necessarily go one way, or the other way.
Our true motivation is recurrently being tested, hence refined and strengthened.
This is Good and we ought to be grateful; because this is exactly theosis; it is how we grow in divinity (or the opposite).
Excerpt from Chapter 4 of That Hideous Strength, giving the origin of the concept of 'Things coming to a point':
"Have you ever noticed," said Dimble, "that the universe, and every little bit of the universe, is always hardening and narrowing and coming to a point?"
His wife waited as those wait who know by long experience the mental processes of the person who is talking to them.
"I mean this," said Dimble, in answer to the question she had not asked. "If you dip into any college, or school, or parish, or family--anything you like--at a given point in its history, you always find that there was a time before that point when there was more elbow-room and contrasts weren't quite so sharp; and that there's going to be a time after that point when there is even less room for indecision and choices are even more momentous. Good is always getting better and bad is always getting worse: the possibilities of even apparent neutrality are always diminishing. The whole thing is sorting itself out all the time, coming to a point, getting sharper and harder. Like in the poem about Heaven and Hell eating into merry Middle Earth from opposite sides . . . how does it go? Something about 'eat every day . . . till all is somethinged away.' It can't be eaten, that wouldn't scan. My memory has failed dreadfully these last few years. Do you know the bit, Margery?"
"What you were saying reminded me more of the bit in the Bible about the winnowing fan. Separating the wheat and the chaff. Or like Browning's line: 'Life's business being just the terrible choice.'"
"Exactly! Perhaps the whole time-process means just that and nothing else. But it's not only in questions of moral choice. Everything is getting more itself and more different from everything else all the time. Evolution means species getting less and less like one another. Minds get more and more spiritual, matter more and more material. Even in literature, poetry and prose draw further and further apart."
Mrs. Dimble with the ease born of long practice averted the danger, ever present in her house, of a merely literary turn being given to the conversation.
"Yes," she said. "Spirit and matter, certainly. That explains why people like the Studdocks find it so difficult to be happily married."
"The Studdocks?" said Dimble, looking at her rather vaguely. The domestic problems of that young couple had occupied his mind a good deal less than they had occupied his wife's. "Oh, I see! Yes. I dare say that has something to do with it. But about Merlin: what it comes to, as far as I can make out, is this. There were still possibilities for a man of that age which there aren't for a man of ours. The earth itself was more like an animal in those days. And mental processes were much more like physical actions. And there were--well, Neutrals, knocking about."
"I don't mean, of course, that anything can be a real neutral. A conscious being is either obeying God or disobeying Him. But there might be things neutral in relation to us."
"You mean eldils--angels?"
"Well, the word angel rather begs the question. Even the Oyéresu aren't exactly angels in the same sense as our guardian angels are. Technically, they are Intelligences. The point is that while it may be true at the end of the world to describe every eldil either as an angel or a devil, and may even be true now, it was much less true in Merlin's time. There used to be things on this earth pursuing their own business, so to speak. They weren't ministering spirits sent to help fallen humanity, but neither were they enemies preying upon us. Even in St. Paul one gets glimpses of a population that won't exactly fit into our two columns of angels and devils. And if you go back further . . . all the gods, elves, dwarfs, water-people, fate, longaevi. You and I know too much to think they are just illusions."
"You think there are things like that?"
"I think there were. I think there was room for them then, but the universe has come more to a point. Not all rational things perhaps. Some would be mere wills inherent in matter, hardly conscious. More like animals. Others--but I don't really know. At any rate, that is the sort of situation in which one got a man like Merlin."
"It all sounds rather horrible to me."
"It was rather horrible. I mean even in Merlin's time (he came at the extreme tail end of it), though you could still use that sort of life in the universe innocently, you couldn't do it safely. The things weren't bad in themselves, but they were already bad for us. They sort of withered the man who dealt with them. Not on purpose. They couldn't help doing it. Merlinus is withered. He's quite pious and humble and all that, but something has been taken out of him. That quietness of his is just a little deadly, like the quiet of a gutted building. It's the result of having laid his mind open to something that broadens the environment just a bit too much. Like polygamy. It wasn't wrong for Abraham, but one can't help feeling that even he lost something by it."
"Cecil," said Mrs. Dimble, "do you feel quite comfortable about the Director's using a man like this? I mean, doesn't it look a little bit like fighting Belbury with its own weapons?"
"No. I had thought of that. Merlin is the reverse of Belbury. He's at the opposite extreme. He is the last vestige of an old order in which matter and spirit were, from our modern point of view, confused. For him every operation on Nature is a kind of personal contact, like coaxing a child or stroking one's horse. After him came the modern man to whom Nature is something dead--a machine to be worked, and taken to bits if it won't work the way he pleases. Finally come the Belbury people, who take over that view from the modern man unaltered and simply want to increase their power by tacking on to it the aid of spirits--extra-natural, anti-natural spirits. Of course they hoped to have it both ways. They thought the old magia of Merlin, which worked in with the spiritual qualities of Nature, loving and reverencing them and knowing them from within, could be combined with the new goeteia--the brutal surgery from without. No. In a sense, Merlin represents what we've got to get back to in some different way. Do you know that he is forbidden by the rules of his order ever to use any edged tool on any growing thing?"