Posts tagged "C.S. Lewis"

Anger at Time Stolen, A Curious Assumption

From Lewis’ Screwtape Letters (ht LB)

9780394815008_custom-606a12ba6a12795a7752919b06aa8b396ccb571e-s6-c30“Men are not angered by mere misfortune but by misfortune conceived as injury. And the sense of injury depends on the feeling that a legitimate claim has been denied. The more claims on life, therefore, that your patient can be induced to make, the more often he will feel injured, and as a result, ill-tempered. Now you will have noticed that nothing throws him into a passion so easily as to find a tract of time which he reckoned on having at his own disposal unexpectedly taken from him. It is the unexpected visitor (when he looked forward to a quiet evening), or the friend’s talkative wife (turning up when he looked forward to a tete-a-tete with the friend), that threw him out of gear. Now he is not yet so uncharitable or slothful that these small demands on his courtesy are in themselves too much for it. They anger him because he regards his time as his own and feel that it is being stolen. You must therefore zealously guard in his mind the curious assumption ‘My time is my own’. Let him have the feeling that he starts each day as the lawful possessor of twenty-four hours. Let him feel as a grievous tax that portion of this property which he has to make over to his employers, and as a generous donation that further portion which he allows to religious duties. But what he must never be permitted to doubt is that the total from which these deductions have been made was, in some mysterious sense, his own personal birthright.”

Another Week Ends: Tribal Morality, Passports to Eden, Reflektor, Spufford in the Times, Social Wiring, Hemingway’s Granddaughter, Anxious Simpsons, and Heisenberg on Ice

Another Week Ends: Tribal Morality, Passports to Eden, Reflektor, Spufford in the Times, Social Wiring, Hemingway’s Granddaughter, Anxious Simpsons, and Heisenberg on Ice

1. Next week, Harvard psychologist Joshua Greene is slated to release a new book on behavioral morality, examining the everyday irrationalities and subconscious biases that Kahneman, Tversky and company have popularized over the last few decades (aside: are all titles/covers copying Malcolm Gladwell?). A common behavioral problem, the “trolley experiment”, asks people to make a hypothetical decision: if a train cannot brake and is about to run over five people, would you pull a lever that would divert it, but cause it to hit one other person? Many people answer ‘yes’. But take the same scenario, and now you have to…

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Lunatic Faith, Computer Digits, & the Myth of Money

Lunatic Faith, Computer Digits, & the Myth of Money

This American Life and Planet Money recently produced an episode titled “The Invention of Money.” You can listen to it here.

The story places the concept of money into the framework of faith, mainly due to the fact that money is no longer a physical object with tangible value like gold. Instead, it is fiction, myth, a number generated on a computer, passing through the internet. With just the push of a button, we’ve got the genesis of currency; something they call in the story “Opening the Fed Window.” The only way this money-myth has value is if people have faith…

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Looking Inward, East of Eden: How a Soul Feels Its Worth

Looking Inward, East of Eden: How a Soul Feels Its Worth

I think this is the best-known story in the world because it is everybody’s story.  I think it is the symbol story of the human soul … the greatest terror a child can have is that he is not loved, and rejection is the hell he fears.

My past two weeks, per usual, have been spent with several college students, weeping, ranting, emoting. A constant theme is the irrational fear of not being loved, of being rejected and then…being alone…forever.  One student has such deep-rooted anxiety about being alone that she has panic attacks unless someone, anyone, is…

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BBC’s Being Human on Human Being

BBC’s Being Human on Human Being

Our loving insight into the world of British pop-fantasy television continues, brought to you by our new contributor, Lynn MacDougall. Begin this video at :36.

Where do I belong? Where do I fit? Who are my people? Where do my loyalties lie? We all choose our tribe – it’s that need to belong, to live within boundaries; because its scary on the outside, on the fringes. You can piss your whole life away trying out who you might be … it’s when you work out who you are that you can really start to live.

What does it mean to be human?…

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C.S. Lewis on Crucified Prayer

C.S. Lewis on Crucified Prayer

A lot of times, in moments of the experience of anxiety, prayer feels as far from us as the faith which feels so temporally impotent. Lewis deals with this in the context of Christ’s Gethsemane prayer, in his short piece on prayer, Letters to Malcolm.

Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith. I don’t agree at all. They are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the Passion of Christ. For the beginning of the Passion–the first move, so to speak–is in…

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Bliss Is Not For Sale: Catastrophic Conversion and the Roots of Protestantism

Bliss Is Not For Sale: Catastrophic Conversion and the Roots of Protestantism

This one comes to us from W.H. Auden, who included it as the entry on Puritanism in “A Certain World: a commonplace book,” his collection of alphabetized wisdom. As beautiful a distillation of the Protestant ‘break-through’ as it may be, the words are actually not Wystan’s. It’s an excerpt from The Oxford History of English Literature, written by none other than Clive Staples Lewis.

“Theologically, Protestantism was either a recovery, or a development, or an exaggeration (it is not for the literary historian to say which) of Pauline theology… In the mind of a Tyndale or Luther, as in the mind…

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Mockingbird (Conference) at the Movies: Hollywood’s Love Affair with Love

Mockingbird (Conference) at the Movies: Hollywood’s Love Affair with Love

C.S. Lewis described four kinds of love (based on the four Greek words): affection, friendship, romance, and charity (unconditional love). Since I’m about half as smart as him, I’ll say that, at the root, there are two kinds of love: love that requires something, and love that requires nothing. In this break-out session at the upcoming Mockingbird Conference (Friday, April 20th at 2:30pm), we’ll look at these two loves through the celluloid eyes of Hollywood.

In their effort to get us to put cash on the barrelhead at theaters across the country, the movies often tempt us with stories of love….

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A Problem to Ourselves? Robert Bales and the Astonishing Mixture of Virtue and Depravity

A Problem to Ourselves? Robert Bales and the Astonishing Mixture of Virtue and Depravity

Holy Smokes! Talk about low-hanging fruit. Another unbelievable, doubletake-inducing column from David Brooks in the Times this morning, this time dealing with Robert Bales, “When the Good Do Bad,” in which he articulates the Mockingbird anthropology with remarkable accuracy (and courage), using none other than John Calvin, G.K. Chesteron and C.S. Lewis to back him up. Wild! I’m almost tempted to replace our glossary entry on “anthropology” with a link to this column. Is Brooks becoming the prophet of the age? The one compassionate voice crying in the wilderness of positive thinking and the American inflated sense of self, speaking…

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Too Sick To Pray? Another One From Clive Staples

Too Sick To Pray? Another One From Clive Staples

Twice in one week – and on the same subject! Unplanned, I can assure you. But who knows, maybe there is something to this Lent thing after all… From C.S. Lewis’ Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer:

Meantime, however, we want to know not how we should pray if we were perfect but how we should pray being as we now are. And if my idea of prayer as “unveiling” is accepted, we have already answered this. It is no use to ask God with factitious earnestness for A when our whole mind is in reality filled with the desire for…

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Another Week Ends: Moonrise Kingdom, Foolish Folly, Conflicted Lewis Worship, Tiger Moms and Snake Handlers, Hitchens on Dickens, and New Shins

Another Week Ends: Moonrise Kingdom, Foolish Folly, Conflicted Lewis Worship, Tiger Moms and Snake Handlers, Hitchens on Dickens, and New Shins

1. A couple of hot-off-the-presses reasons for living. First, pre-registration for the 2012 NYC Mockingbird Conference (4/19-21) opens on Monday! Again, the theme this year is “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts: Honesty, Humility and the Grace of God” and our keynote speaker will be none other than Michael Horton, Reformation Impresario Numero Uno and all around Gospel guru. He’ll be joined by Aaron Zimmerman, myself and a host of other birds of various stripes. Keep an eye on our events page. Second, and equally important, the trailer for Wes Anderson’s new film, Moonrise Kingdom, hit the web yesterday and it’s world-class….

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C.S. Lewis on Kicking, Screaming, and Conversion

C.S. Lewis on Kicking, Screaming, and Conversion

From Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, ht JZ:

You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not then see what is now…

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Batman: The Agony of Loss and the Madness of Desire, Pt 3

Batman: The Agony of Loss and the Madness of Desire, Pt 3

We come now to part three of Jeremiah Lawson’s epic exploration of Batman mythology, particularly as it relates to the Caped Crusader’s groundbreaking animated series (part one and part two). Many consider the episode discussed below, “Heart of Ice,” not only to be the best of the series, but a highwater mark of animated television, period. This editor being one – it is a work of Art:

PART THREE: HEART OF ICE, HEART OF WRATH

If a great hero is defined by a great villain, and Batman boasts the most famous villains in the history of comics, does that make him the…

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A Harry Potter Heresy? In Defense of Draco

A Harry Potter Heresy? In Defense of Draco

Who would think of naming someone other than the belovedly scar-ridden H.P. the hero of J.K. Rowling’s famous tales of witchcraft and wizardry? This is precisely the claim coming from the mouth of Jason Isaacs, who plays Lucius Malfoy, father of privileged bad boy and Slytherin typecast, Draco, in the film adaptation of Harry Potter. Don’t curse us just yet, Gryffindor. Isaacs’ comment isn’t meant to derail the entire Potter fantasy, nor take away from the golden child that is Harry Potter, but to reinstate the luster lost within a character so commonly perceived as sinister. Isaacs sheds light [Lumos!]…

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Another Week Ends: Parental Blindspots, Damsel Reviews, Rand Abolishing Lewis, Doublethink, Higher Ground and The Magnificent Ambersons

Another Week Ends: Parental Blindspots, Damsel Reviews, Rand Abolishing Lewis, Doublethink, Higher Ground and The Magnificent Ambersons

1. A couple of regretful if relevant instances of control backfiring when it comes to children. The first was reported in The NY Times Motherlode blog:

“A newly released poll from the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital finds that parents look at their children with blinders on, while looking at other children accusingly.”

If you read the comments, you’ll find a sad litany of parental judgment/overinvolvement shutting down the lines of communication with their children, which in turn feeds substance abuse. Not that parents can ever “get this right,” just that there appears to be a relationship between inflated views…

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