Posts tagged ‘reason’

November 27, 2015

in the universal darkness of his mind he could only follow the first odd finger that pointed

Instead of going to the right places …he systematically went to the wrong places. …He defended this crazy course quite logically. He said that if one had a clue this was the worst way; but if one had no clue at all it was the best. …Somewhere a man must begin, and it had better be just where another man might stop.
…He had already decided that in the universal darkness of his mind he could only follow the first odd finger that pointed; and this finger was odd enough.

Chesterton in “The Blue Cross” from The Innocence of Father Brown.

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July 18, 2015

if we cannot persuade our friends by reasons we must be content

One of his maxims was that if we cannot persuade our friends by reasons we must be content “and not bring a mercenary army to our aid.” (He meant passions.)

Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold by C.S. Lewis (speaking of the Greek adviser and teacher, the Fox).

July 10, 2013

as full of reason as it is of wonder

From The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald (chapter 4):

I suspect there is nothing a man can be so grateful for as that to which he has the most right.

…But the story of the evening was too solemn for Curdie to come out with all at once. He must wait until they had had their porridge, and the affairs of this world were over for the day.

…They were the happiest couple in that country, because they always understood each other, and that was because they always meant the same thing, and that was because they always loved what was fair and true and right better, not than anything else, but than everything else put together.

…It is not for me to say whether you were dreaming or not if you are doubtful of it yourself; but it doesn’t make me think I am dreaming when in the summer I hold in my hand the bunch of sweet peas that make my heart glad with their colour and scent, and remember the dry, withered-looking little thing I dibbled into the hole in the same spot in the spring. I only think how wonderful and lovely it all is. It seems just as full of reason as it is of wonder. How it is done I can’t tell, only there it is! And there is this in it, too, Curdie—of which you would not be so ready to think—that when you come home to your father and mother, and they find you behaving more like a dear, good son than you have behaved for a long time, they at least are not likely to think you were only dreaming.

March 29, 2013

photo of the Shroud

C.S. Lewis in a letter to Sister Penelope from Oct 9, 1941:

…Thank you very much for the photo of the Shroud. It raises a whole question on which I shall have to straighten out my thought one of these days.
Yours sincerely,
Clive Lewis

February 20, 2012

starving the sensibility of our pupils

By starving the sensibility of our pupils, we only make them easier prey to the propagandist when he comes.

From The Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), page 27. This gem from Lewis was quoted in an essay by Jean Bethke Elshtain about The Abolition of Man, of which these passages stood out:

His essay The Abolition of Man, published in 1944 and subtitled Or, Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools, would seem at first glance to have little to do with the grave matters with which I have begun. Not so. Lewis sees pernicious tendencies in, of all places, elementary textbooks.

…For Lewis, when “ordinary human feelings” are set up as “contrary to reason,” we are on dangerous ground indeed, for a botched treatment of “some basic human emotion” is not only bad literature but is moral treachery to boot. “By starving the sensibility of our pupils, we only make them easier prey to the propagandist when he comes.”

“…When Martin Luther King delivered his great speech, he cried, ‘I have a dream,’ not ‘I have a preference.’ How do you explain this? Is there a difference?” The somewhat flustered young man indicated that what King was calling a dream was at base just another preference, and so that was no different in principle from, say, debating marginal alterations in the price of commodities. This way of thinking makes hash of our moral sentiments, of our God-given capacity to reason about what is good, as Lewis asserts.

This, surely, is what he feared in 1944: that something precious and irreparable was being lost.

“The Abolition of Man: C.S. Lewis’s Prescience Concenring Things to Come” by Jean Bethke Elshtain in C. S. Lewis as Philosopher: Truth, Goodness and Beauty edited by Baggett et al (p. 87 to 90).

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