Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Our characteristic blindness

“We may be sure that the characteristic blindness of the twentieth century - the blindness about which posterity will ask, "But how could they have thought that?" - lies where we have never suspected it... None of us can fully escape this blindness, but we shall certainly increase it, and weaken our guard against it, if we read only modern books. Where they are true they will give us truths which we half knew already. Where they are false they will aggravate the error with which we are already dangerously ill. The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books.”
C.S. Lewis, On the Incarnation


Gregory said...

This is a great introduction to a great book. Lewis' advice on reading "old books" is priceless and brings to mind Swift's "Battle of the Books".

I can think of no better book, ancient or modern, that best describes and explains the mystery of the Incarnation than St. Athansius' "On the Incarnation". More Christians need to discover this ancient treasure.

Bilbo said...

I remembef buying the book just because it had Lewis's preface. I had difficulty reading it, though, and never finished it. The one idea I remember getting from it was that we had been created in the Image of God and that this image in us had been corrupted, and that the Image of God had to be incarnated in order to renew the image of God in us.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Yes, I had to read a book from 1839 to find out that Sparta was called a Republic by Cicero. When everybody called Sparta an oligarchy and I was attacked by saying Sparta was a republic, it was nice to find that Karl Otfried Mueller, a German Classicist, pointed out that Cicero himself called Sparta, respublica Lacedaemoniorum. Sparta is a Republic.

I had to read an over 100 year old book to find out that Cicero called Sparta a republic. And another reason why I like reading old books is that old books are not tainted with political correctness, and socialist/marxist methodology of criticisms, theories, slant, obscurantism etc., ad nausem.

B. Prokop said...

"old books are not tainted with ... socialist/marxist methodology"

Hmm... Isn't The Communist Manifesto an "old book" (1848)?

B. Prokop said...

And if 1848 isn't old enough for you, then there's City of the Sun by Tomasso Campanella (1601). About as "socialist" as they come. Stalin urged that the book be on every Communist Party member's bookshelf!

Ilíon said...

"About as "socialist" as they come. Stalin urged that the book be on every Communist Party member's bookshelf!"

Poor, poor, leftist willful ignoramus, the man said "socialist/marxist methodology of criticisms"; he wasn't dissing socialism per se, but rather the anti-rational "reasoning" by which most socialists "think".