28 October 2007

On a Happier Note. . .

This man is one of my all-time favorite authors. If you would like to learn all about Clive Staples "Jack" Lewis, click here. I have so many favorites among his books. While he is best known for The Chronicles of Narnia, I will list my other favorites of his for you: The Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity, The Four Loves, and The Great Divorce (which is not actually about divorce--it's about heaven and hell).

My love for him has recently returned to memory. In fact, I was actually in the CS Lewis fan club when I was at the BYU. We would get together and just talk about his writings. Those were golden days if ever there were any.

Here is a passage from The Screwtape Letters about humility that has provided great insight for me. The book consists of one demon writing letters of advice to his nephew about how better to tempt the man to whom he is assigned.
But there are other profitable ways of fixing his attention on the virtue of Humility. By this virtue, as by all others, our Enemy wants to turn the man's attention away from self to Him, and to the man's neighbours. All the abjection and self-hatred are designed, in the long run, solely for this end; unless they attain this end they do us little harm; and they may even do us good if they keep the man concerned with himself, and above all, if self -contempt can be made the starting point for contempt of other selves, and thus for gloom, cynicism, and cruelty.

You must therefore conceal from the patient the true end of Humility. Let him think of it, not as self-forgetfulness, but as a certain kind of opinion (namely, a low opinion) of his own talents and character. Some talents, I gather, he really has. Fix in his mind the idea that humility consists in trying to believe those talents to be less valuable than he believes them to be. No doubt they are in fact less valuable than he believes, but that is not the point. The great thing is to make him value an opinion for some quality other than truth, thus introducing an element of dishonesty and make-believe into the heart of what otherwise threatens to become a virtue. By this method thousands of humans have been brought to think that humility means pretty women trying to believe they are ugly, and clever men trying to believe they are fools. And since what they are trying to believe may, in some cases, be manifest nonsense, they cannot succeed in believing it, and we have the chance of keeping their minds endlessly revolving on themselves in an effort to achieve the impossible.
I had just finished listening to this book on tape on my way to school when I turned it off, and on the radio they were talking about how two planes had flown into the twin towers in New York. I looked around and a bunch of other students were sitting in their cars listening to their radios at peril of being late for class, too. That's one book I'll always remember exactly what day I finished. September 11th, 2001. Trippy, I tell you.

And here are two other quotes that really can't help themselves but be posted, since it's Sunday and all:
It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out in to the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

As one of the humans has said, active habits are strengthened by repetition, but passive ones are weakened. The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.
Hope you had a happy Sunday, as I have so far. (Naturally, thinking about my beloved Lewis would have such a result.) I guess I lied about no more book recommendations for awhile. But it's Sunday, so I'll just repent.

PS. I dedicate this post to Pamy, who shares my love of Lewis.

2 comments:

amy said...

im so flattered--a post dedication! this is better than having a celine dion song dedicated to me on the local soft rock station's evening program (delilah listeners, you know who you are...). i do love cs lewis. mere christianity is my favorite for grown-ups, and i also love the chronicles of narnia.

Dansie Family said...

i have only read the chronicles of narnia by him, but i do love them. Tom loves the others. maybe i should give them a try.