Friday, November 14, 2008

I Don't Like to Post Quotes but....

The master of any claim I might have to heterosexuality has a post up here.
Go there and read, weep, point and laugh, or sit in stupefied disbelief.
When you are done, return and read these few quotes from C.S. Lewis' essay Lilies that Fester.
I don't think that I would ever have said this.... but Jason shares a solid insight with St. Clive.


"The loftier the pretensions of the power, the more meddlesome, inhuman, and oppressive it will be. Theocracy is the worst of all possible governments."

"Anything transcendental or spiritual, or even anything very strongly ethical, in its pretensions is dangerous and encourages it to meddle with our private lives."

"There are, as in piety, so in culture, states which, if less culpable, are no less disastrous. In the one we have the “Goody-goody”; the docile youth who has neither revolted against nor risen above the routine pietisms and respectabilities of his home. His conformity has won the approval of his parents, his influential neighbours, and his own conscience. He does not know that he has missed anything and is content. In the other, we have the adaptable youth to whom poetry has always been something” Set” for” evaluation”. Success in this exercise has given him pleasure and let him into the ruling class. He does not know what he has missed, does not know that poetry ever had any other purpose, and is content.
Both types are much to be pitied: but both can sometimes be very nasty. Both may exhibit spiritual pride, but each in its proper form, since the one has succeeded by acquiescence and repression, but the other by repeated victory in competitive performances. To the pride of the one, sly, simpering, and demure, we might apply Mr. Allen’s word” smug” (especially if we let in a little of its older sense). My epithet for the other would, I think, be “swaggering”. It tends in my experience to be raw, truculent, eager to give pain, insatiable in its demands for submission, resentful and suspicious of disagreement. Where the goody-goody slinks and sidles and purrs (and sometimes scratches) like a cat, his opposite number in the ranks of the cultured gobbles like an enraged turkey. And perhaps both types are less curable than the hypocrite proper. A hypocrite might (conceivably) repent and mend; or he might be unmasked and rendered innocuous. But who could bring to repentance, and who can unmask, those who were attempting no deception? who don’t know that they are not the real thing because they don’t know that there ever was a real thing?
Lastly I reach the point where my objections to Theocracy and to Charientocracy are almost identical. “Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.” The higher the pretensions of our rulers are, the more meddlesome and impertinent their rule is likely to be and the more the thing in whose name they rule will be defiled. The highest things have the most precarious foothold in our nature. By making sanctity or culture a moyen de parvenir [means of arriving, ed.] you help to drive them out of the world. Let our masters leave these two, at least, alone; leave us some region where the spontaneous, the unmarketable, the utterly private, can still exist."

8 comments:

Matthew N. Petersen said...

I called you Lysias in my last comment. But for all his faults, the Fox was not condemned by Psalm 1:1.

Evan B. Wilson said...

At least he who made Lysias warmed up my seat.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

The proscription of the seat in question is not due to previous owners.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

Or I suppose I could say:

"And think not to say within yourselves, We have Lewis to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Lewis."

Evan B. Wilson said...

If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
if you scoff, you alone will bear it.
Proverbs 9:12

Matthew N. Petersen said...

"da sapienti et addetur ei sapientia doce iustum et festinabit accipere"

Proverbia 9:9

Tom G. said...

Interesting quotes from Lewis, Evan. I'd be happy to sit down sometime and discuss your views on how they relate to Logos.
Blessings.

Evan B. Wilson said...

Welcome to the Abbey, Tom! It would be great to sit down sometime. I don't know if you have read the full essay but I would recommend it for educators in the classical movement. I have lectured on it at SCL conferences in fact. Lilies that Fester is in They Asked for a Paper and some other collections. If you would like I could send you a PDF.