Monday, October 25, 2010

Highlights from "The Abolition of Man"

The following are from my notes that include analysis and excerpts.

C.S. Lewis in 1943 published The Abolition of Man. It is a collection of three lectures proved prescient by what later transpired: 1) on the coming destruction of early through secondary education, 2) on the nature of natural law, and 3) on revealing the machinations of those he labeled Conditioners.

The last lecture, also titled “The Abolition of Man,” demonstrates how a few of our kind aimed to rise above humanity to claim ownership of all Nature. It is a process which reduces the rest to something less than those who came before. It is a world in which nothing we now call Man remains.

All of the following paragraph numbers refer to the third lecture.

¶16, PF’s synopsis:
        Man may lose his perspective as he studies his kind intently. Once he reduces his kind to a mere natural object, he hands off his self to those whose job it’s become to husband resources, in which category he has placed himself, suitable for processing.

¶18 portion:
        “I am not here thinking solely, perhaps not even chiefly, of those who are our public enemies at the moment. The process which, if not checked, will abolish Man goes on apace among Communists and Democrats no less than among Fascists. The methods may (at first) differ in brutality. But many a mild-eyed scientist in pince-nez, many a popular dramatist, many an amateur philosopher in our midst, means in the long run just the same as the Nazi rulers of Germany. Traditional values are to be `debunked’ and mankind to be cut out into some fresh shape at the will (which must, by hypothesis, be an arbitrary will) of some few lucky people in one lucky generation which has learned how to do it.” The Conditioners declare what is and what is not permissible in a discussion. Worse: substantive words that disclose goals are transmuted to euphemistic alternatives.

¶19 portion
        Deeply significant features of individual things are obscured by making abstractions of them so they fit in categories. Thus, truth gets concealed. "Man’s conquest of himself means simply the rule of the Conditioners over the conditioned human material, the world of post-humanity which, some knowingly and some unknowingly, nearly all men in all nations are at present labouring to produce."

No comments:

Post a Comment

View My Stats