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175. Book Review | Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis

This is the second book by C.S. Lewis that I’ve reviewed. The Abolition of Man is a work that I believe is prophetic, but not just because it described a problem we’d deal with decades later. Rather, the prophecy lies in the ability to predict the end result. It does so by following the logic to its conclusion with tremendous accuracy. Near the end, he says, “But you cannot go on ‘explaining away’ for ever; you will find that you have explained explanation itself away.” If that doesn’t call to mind our current Postmodern culture, I don’t know what does. So, if you’re interested in how Lewis check out this review.

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CS Lewis, Author of Abolition of Man

Problems in Education

Lewis begins this book by calling out a couple of authors of a grammar book, but not for teaching grammar poorly. Instead, he points out that their grammar book was teaching a worldview. When they should have been explaining the rules of language, they were directing students’ word choice in a peculiar way. They do not point out an issue with the grammar, but the way language was used. In this passage, they assert that we merely explain how we feel about something, instead of being able to recognize a quality in an inanimate object. We can easily see how this method has grown and tainted our education system today. Here’s the passage.

“Until quite modern times all teachers and even all men believed the universe to be such that certain emotional reactions on our part could be either congruous or incongruous to it—believed, in fact, that objects did not merely receive, but could merit, our approval or disapproval, our reverence or our contempt.”

-C.S. Lewis

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What is the Abolition of Man?

Basically, the abolition of man that Lewis describes is a scientific religion based on “Man’s conquest of nature.” He doesn’t necessarily use those terms, but he shows that we often think of technology as progress. Offering the airplane, wireless, and contraceptive as examples, he shows that reliance on technology is not conquering in any way. “If I pay you to carry me, I am not therefore myself a strong man,” he says, demonstrating this point. Rather than liberating man from nature, we have a few who advance the technology that the masses rely on. Instead of mastering nature, we have reduced ourselves to the same level as the nature we wish to conquer. And, in doing so, we abolish man.

236. Materialism & The Human Person | The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly Conversation of Our Generation

According to Wikepedia, "Materialism is a form of philosophical monism that holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all things, including mental states and consciousness, are results of material interactions. According to philosophical materialism, mind and consciousness are by-products or epiphenomena of material processes (such as the biochemistry of the human brain and nervous system), without which they cannot exist. This concept directly contrasts with idealism, where mind and consciousness are first-order realities to which matter is subject and material interactions are secondary." Valid Concerns and Good Points At first, it seems to make sense. Much of what we encounter is material. Our food, light, furniture, etc. is all material. It would be easy at first glance to think everything boils down to what is material. But, does that really comport with what we experience and know? Errors of Materialism Materialism leaves out a large chunk of the human experience. First, it fails, like naturalism, to fully account for the supernatural and the spiritual. And, in doing so, it denies free will and many other parts of our experience that are products of the spirit. Also, materialism doesn't allow for the abstract truths we know to be. Moral truths, natural laws, beauty, and even some mathematical truths can't exist if everything is material. So, materialism fails to explain all that we know about the world. Corrections There is more to the world than just the material. It doesn't fit with our understanding of the world. We experience more than just the material in art and music, as well as abstract concepts. We also experience the phenomenon of free will, which is impossible in a materialist world. In order to fully comport with reality, we need to take into account more than material things. In order to fully experience the world, we have to take account for the non-material parts of our lives. Related Episodes in this Series What is Objective Reality? What is Subjective Reality? Unity of Subject and Object The Golden Mean for Understanding Objective and Subjective Reality Naturalism & The Human Person | The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/conofourgen/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/conofourgen/support
  1. 236. Materialism & The Human Person | The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
  2. 235. Naturalism & The Human Person | The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
  3. 234. The Golden Mean for Understanding Objective and Subjective Reality
  4. 233. Is Patriotism Good? | Reflections on the 4th of July
  5. 232. Unity of Subject and Object

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