C.S. Lewis: “The scholar has lived in many times…”

The scholar has lived in many times and is therefore in some degree immune from the nonsense that pours from the press of his own age.

–  C.S. Lewis

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Shadowlands: the movie

Lewis’ religion was reduced to the only level Hollywood can muster:  vague ramblings about “faith” and “God” and “another realm”.     And since there was little actual Christianity, there was little intellectual content to Lewis’ character, and so the screenwriters had no raw material for the fierce friendly swordplay we associate with the Inklings.

Take away the Incarnation and Vicarious Suffering and Resurrection of the Body and there are no swords and nothing to fight or play about.   So the screenwriters had no story, other than two nice people falling in love, her dying, and he trying to figure out how to go on.   That’s poignant, but it is a common story.   It was not Jack and Joy’s story, which was aparently too scandalous in its cruciform particulars to keep in the script.

C.S. Lewis: on children’s fears

“Those who say that children must not be frightened may mean two things. They may mean (1) that we must not do anything likely to give the child those haunting, disabling, pathological fears against which ordinary courage is helpless: in fact, phobias. His mind must, if possible, be kept clear of things he can’t bear to think of. Or they may mean (2) that we must try to keep out of his mind the knowledge that he is born into a world of death, violence, wounds, adventure, heroism and cowardice, good and evil. If they mean the first I agree with them: but not if they mean the second. The second would indeed be to give children a false impression and feed them on escapism in the bad sense. There is something ludicrous in the idea of so educating a generation which is born to the…atomic bomb. Since it is so likely that they will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.”

Would appreciate any info on the source of the quote.

UPDATE:  Thanks to commenter Steve:

Tim,

It looks like the quote comes from a book entitled “Of Other Worlds” linked here http://www.amazon.com/Other-Worlds-Essays-Stories/dp/0156027674/ref=si3_rdr_bb_product.

Try the search feature. I found the quote on page 31.

C.S. Lewis: “…my desire for Paradise…”

..[W]e remain conscious of a desire which no natural happiness will satisfy. But is there any reason to suppose that reality offers any satisfaction to it? ‘Nor does the being hungry prove that we have bread.’ But I think it may be urged that this misses the point. A man’s physical hunger does not prove that man will get any bread; he may die of starvation on a raft in the Atlantic. But surely a man’s hunger does prove that he comes of a race which repairs its body by eating and inhabits a world where eatable substances exist. In the same way, though I do not believe (I wish I did) that my desire for Paradise proves that I shall enjoy it, I think it a pretty good indication that such a thing exists and that some men will. A man may love a woman and not win her; but it would be very odd if the phenomenon called ‘falling in love’ occurred in a sexless world.

from The Weight of Glory

First they came for the gods, but I wasn’t one, so…

Sage – Leithart.com

He adds, “In an essay called ‘The Empty Universe,’ C. S. Lewis, who understood intimately the cultural effects of the assumptions undergirding modern science, observed:’At the outset the universe appears packed with will, intelligence, life and positive qualities. . . . [Yet] [t]he advance of knowledge gradually empties this rich and genial universe: first of its gods, then of its colours, smells, sounds and tastes, finally of solidity itself as solidity was imagined. . . . The same method which has emptied the world now proceeds to empty ourselves. The masters of the method soon announce that we were just as mistaken (and mistaken in much the same way) when we attributed “souls,” or “selves” or “minds” to human organisms, as when we attributed Dryads to the trees. . . .’

 

Alan Jacobs: that dialogue is between persons, not words on a page

Goodbye, Blog – Books & Culture

I find myself meditating on a passage from a book by C. S. Lewis. In his great work of literary history, Poetry and Prose in the Sixteenth Century, Lewis devotes a passage to what he describes, with a certain savageness, as “that whole tragic farce which we call the history of the Reformation.” For Lewis, the issues that divided Catholics and Protestants, that led to bloodshed all over Europe and to a seemingly permanent division of Christians from one another, “could have been fruitfully debated only between mature and saintly disputants in close privacy and at boundless leisure.” Instead, thanks to the prevalence of that recent invention the printing press, and to the intolerance of many of the combatants, deep and subtle questions found their way into the popular press and were immediately transformed into caricatures and cheap slogans. After that there was no hope of peaceful reconciliation.

This is really quite a remarkable point. The Web is notorious for nastiness in dialogue (cf “flame war”). There is now distance between the persons in the conversation, and this distance allows us to get away with, now, what we never could in face-to-face talk.

It’s not that the technology causes the nastiness.  The natural corruption in the heart of man is facilitated by the technology, which allows him to function subpersonally.  Schism is facilitated. And – and! – this had a parallel in the emergence of the printing press, which allowed people to combat disembodied opinions, wordy ghosts with whom there was no real covenantal obligation to come through disagreement to Christian unity.

Bonhoeffer called forgiveness without cost “cheap grace”. This cold polemics is cheap in the same way; you get the feeling of having “contended for the truth”, without the cost of loving.  The perennial agon of love, that which makes it love and not just words on a page, is  having to hold unity during a difficult conversation, without either compromising or verbally killing.  Success here results in new truth and new friends.  The other way just makes another denomination, with your name on it.