Friday, April 6, 2012

The Daily Lewis: 04/06/12

The Daily Lewis...infused with Chesteron...and then more Lewis.

Today as I meandered around my campus, I saw a small group of children wandering about...

Suddenly I was pulled out of reality and into the realms of nostalgia!
A beautiful, blinding, and outright brilliant nostalgia in which I thought about the beauty of all the books I read in my childhood. From Little Woman to A Wrinkle In Time to The Scarlet Pimpernel I found one factor that all these books have in common; that factor being the little bits of truth I got out of them.

And so, without further ado, one of my favorite lines from one of works of C.S. Lewis, generally thought to be written for children, but enjoyed by all who dare take them up and read(nota bene St. Augustine conversion story reference):
From The Last Battle:

'You see,' said Aslan, 'They will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their minds, yet they are in that prison, and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out.'

Pure brilliance about what is true close-mindedness.

To continue my narrative:

What did this little passage that I had memorized(I'm crazy) remind me of?
It came to me!

It was Chesteron, from his beautiful work, Orthodoxy,
He is in the clean well lit prison of one idea: he is sharpened to one painful point. 
-From "The Maniac"(Chapter Two).

Then again my mind flew to another brilliant idea from Lewis, namely, his chapter on "Human Wickedness" from The Problem of Pain. 

To classify it as an idea, is perhaps not so accurate. I would say this particular section offers several steps on how to stay OUT of the prison of one idea.
But the illusion has grown, in modern times, so strong, that I must add a few considerations tending to make the reality[of sin/ human wickedness] less credible.
Essentially here Lewis pinpoints eight different ways in which we tend to rationalize away the wrong doings we act.
1.We are deceived by looking on the outside of things. We suppose ourselves to be roughly much worse than Y, whom all acknowledge a decent sort of person, and certainly(though we should not claim it out loud) better than the abominable X...We imply, and often believe, that habitual vices are exceptional single acts, and make the opposite mistake about our virtues-like a bad tennis player who calls his normal form his 'bad days' and mistakes his rare successes for his normal...
 2.  ...We feel ourselves to be involved in a iniquitous social system and to share a corporate guilt...For corporate guilt cannot be, and certainly is not, felt wit hthe same force as personal guilt...
 3. We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin...
4. We must guard against the feeling that there is 'safety in numbers'. It is natural to feel that if all men are as bad as the Christians say, then badness must be very excusable. 
 5. The larger society to which I here contrast the human 'pocket' may not exist according to some people, and at any rate we have no experience of it. We do not meet angels, or unfallen races...From considering how the cruelty of our ancestors looks to us, you may get some inkling on how our softness, worldliness, and timidity would have looked to them, and hence how both must look to God.
6. ...we have become so[an increasingly cruel age] in an attempt to reduce all virtues to kindness. For Plato rightly taught that virtue is one. You cannot be kind unless you have all the other virtues.
7. The Holiness of God is something more and other than moral perfection: His claim upon us is something more and other than the claim of moral duty. I do not deny it: but this conception, like that of corporate guilt, is very easily used as an evasion of the real issue. God may be more than moral goodness: He is not less. The to to the promised land runs past Sinai. The moral law may exist to be transcended: but there is not transcending it for those who have not first admitted its claims upon them, and then tried with all their strength to meet that claim, and fairly and squarely faced the fact of their failure. 
8. Many schools of thought encourage us to shift the responsibility for our behavior from our own shoulders to some inherent necessity in the nature of human life, and thus, indirectly, to the Creator.
This has been a mere summation of just one part of the the beautiful book that is The Problem of Pain...
I have this tendency to want to connect all the things I've ever read, EVER, in my mind, so I hope it made as much sense for you as if did for me... I apologize if the road trip was long, at the very least is was scenic.


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