Tag: CS Lewis

“The narrative that old books are worthless is designed to keep you from discovering that they are not.” Spencer Klavan, author of How to Save the West: Ancient Wisdom for Five Modern Crises discusses the West: why it’s so important to preserve it, how its greatest ideas can still help us today, and the limits of science in addressing modern problems.
Spencer Klavan received his PhD in Classics from Oxford and is Associate Editor of the Claremont Review of Books and Features Editor at the American Mind.
His book, How to Save the West: Ancient Wisdom for Five Modern Crises, https://www.regnery.com/9781684513451/how-to-save-the-west/
Dr. Klavan’s podcast, “Young Heretics,” https://youngheretics.com/
“Hey hey ho ho Western Civ has got to go,” https://intellectualtakeout.org/2019/06/hey-hey-ho-ho-western-civ-has-got-to-go/
Spencer on C.S. Lewis’s science fiction novel That Hideous Strength,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdutZEHonLc
More on Plato’s Timaeus, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/plato-timaeus/#:~:text=In%20the%20Timaeus%20Plato%20presents,%2C%20purposive%2C%20and%20beneficent%20agency.
More on Lucretius, a prominent Epicurean philosopher: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/lucretius/
More on Stoicism, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/stoicism/
C.S. Lewis’s The Discarded Image, https://portalconservador.com/livros/C-S-Lewis-The-Discarded-Image.pdf
Wordsworth’s “Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood,” https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45536/ode-intimations-of-immortality-from-recollections-of-early-childhood

Quote of the Day: Fill ‘er Up, Mr. Lewis


Time to fill up this month’s series of three posts looking at C.S. Lewis quotes through the prism of lockdown. (First and second posts here.) The last post left off with brief thoughts on differentiating good and evil. This one explores the use of the good to defeat evil, centering in reverse order on three cornerstones of secular society in this C.S. Lewis quote:

A community “has no higher end than to facilitate and safeguard the family, and friendship, and solitude.”

Quote of the Day: “Grief is the Price We Pay For Love”


These words were spoken by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, to the family members of those who perished on September 11, 2001. And I’ve often thought she must have been channeling C.S. Lewis at the time:

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.–C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

It’s a theme that Lewis fleshed out some more in his reflection on the death of his wife, the American poet Joy Davidman, in the short memoir, A Grief Observed.

Quote of the Day: Drawing from CS Lewis’s Well of Wisdom


Clive Staples Lewis is one of my favorites. The Chronicles of Narnia books were da bomb as a child (still are) and he’s a frequent font of wisdom as an adult. We could probably fill Quotes of the Day for years and not dry out his wisdom well, so deep and clear is his thinking. Not to worry, I picked just a handful I’ve been pondering during lockdown, interspersed with brief narrative tying them together to fill a few days this month. No need for explanation on the correlation between lockdown extremes and these first two:

The greatest evils in the world will not be carried out by men with guns, but by men in suits sitting behind desks.

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https://www.weeklystandard.com/hannah-long/christopher-tolkien-and-the-legacy-of-his-father-j-r-r-tolkien-the-steward-of-middle-earth A brilliant piece on the legacy of Tolkien – not only in work but also in spirit. ‘Frodo Lives’ was scrawled on a subway wall and somehow that tiny sword, glowing with hope found it’s way to me many, many years ago in the Appalachian Mountains. It prompted me to check the books out […]

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About half way to the coffee stop on my exercise walk, a wretched man appeared, coming the other way. His face was darkened by tattoos, grime, and outdoor living. His arms waved about and his bare feet took him on a meandering course. He looked up and about at who knows what, his mouth moving […]

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Of Love and Saucers – and Myths and Christmas


Sex sells, which I suppose is why @ejhill egged me on to write for Ricochet about one David Huggins, an elderly New Jersey man who claims to have long ago lost his virginity to aliens who have been visiting him ever since. (Huggins is the same fellow @majestyk briefly mentioned in his recent piece on UFOs.)

More remarkable than Huggins’s claim that his first girlfriend was an alien named Crescent, or that he served as a stud to sire countless alien progeny, is the fact that Huggins won’t stop painting pictures of it. Yes, Huggins paints alien porn. Alien porn isn’t all he paints – of his hundreds of paintings of encounters with aliens, many, perhaps most, aren’t pornographic. But enough are for one reviewer to dub his oeuvre “the X-rated Files.” Oh, did I mention these paintings are featured in both a coffee-table book and now a documentary movie? The movie, Love and Saucers, is out on DVD just in time to make a last-minute Christmas gift for that hard-to-shop-for relative.

I look at Huggins’s paintings and my first thought is, why? Specifically, what drives a man to make so many oil paintings without, well, becoming a better artist? Many reviewers call the paintings impressionistic or primitivist, but the truth is they’re amateurish, achieving neither realism nor any eye-catching style which would make deviations from realism charming. Oils are a messy medium to master. Painting on canvas is also expensive and bulky – especially when compared to your typical sketchbook. Why oils? The rest of you, though, might wonder less why oils?, and more why aliens?

The Conditioner Class: What’s Really Behind Comey and Clinton


4312391652_ec4bf50b68_mWe are all now familiar with FBI Director James Comey’s decision not to indict Hillary Clinton for her email scandal. In his announcement, not only did Comey contradict a number of Clinton’s claims, he laid out the case of gross negligence and extreme carelessness that would have landed any us in prison.

But not Clinton. Comey fabricated what Charles Krauthammer called a “completely, irrelevant new standard which is ‘malicious intent,’” as a way of absolving her from indictment. You can be grossly negligent and even lie about it, but if you didn’t really mean it, it’s cool. So what’s really behind all of this?

First, we need to understand that the modern age is comprised of two main classes of people, what C.S. Lewis called the “conditioner” and the “conditioned” classes. What he meant by that is that, because the modern age operates according to complex technological and scientific processes, it requires a class of experts and engineers who have the specialized competency and expertise to govern this technocracy. And so, within such a modern matrix, the wider population is conditioned to believe that their health and happiness is dependent upon this ruling class of experts and engineers.

The Ricochet Weekend Essay Assignment


stllewisIn C. S. Lewis’s classic work the Screwtape Letters, you’ll recall, Screwtape, a senior demon, offers advice to Wormwood, his nephew, on the most useful techniques for leading humans, by slow degrees, to hell. Here, just a couple of sentences — and note that when Screwtape refers to “the Enemy” he is writing about God.

“There’s nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human’s mind against the Enemy. He wants men to be concerned with what they do; our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them.”

Your assignment: To demonstrate the applicability of these two sentences (if indeed you see any at all) to the duties of a citizen in a democracy.

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The word chivalry has meant at different times a good many different things–from heavy cavalry to giving a woman a seat in a train. But if we want to understand chivalry as an ideal distinct from other ideals–if we want to isolate that particular conception of the man comme il faut which was the special […]

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