Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Book of the Month

The abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis.

Since I read fiction for my March book of the month I decided to step outside my comfort zone and read something a bit more difficult (although The Fisherman's Lady was very thought provoking - I'll have to post some great quotes later)

I just got through the first chapter this afternoon and I'm having a hard time absorbing it all. I've underlined so much that I wanted to go back and ponder I might as well just go back and re-read every page.

This book is no "Mere Christianity". Where as "Mere Christianity" is a conversational approach to religion, TAOM starts with education.

Some great quotes so far:

The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts. The right defense against false sentiments is to inculcate just sentiments. By starving the sensibility of our pupils we only make them easier prey to the propagandist when he comes. For famished nature will be avenged and a hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head.

(This in response to the educator that seeks to fortify the young person against being led astray by his emotions by teaching him not to be so emotional.)

He goes on to argue that there is nothing wrong with emotions

"Can you be righteous" asks Traherne, " unless you be just in rendering to things their due esteem?"

and later

"St. Augustine defines virtue as ordo amoris, the ordinate condition of the affections in which every object is accorded that kind and degree of love which is appropriate to it."


"No emotion is, in itself a judgement: in that sense all emotions and sentiments are alogical. But they can be reasonable or unreasonable as they conform to Reason or fail to conform. The heart never takes the place of the head: but it can and should obey it."

(I haven't finished reading the Wiki summary of the book but I think it will help me understand his premise a bit better)

Ahhh ... so much good stuff in just the first chapter! It's been good especially since recently I have found myself constantly trying to present a logical argument as to why one or the other of my kids shouldn't feel what they feel about a particular situation. Maybe instead l I should teach them how to respond properly to a situation and help them exercise the self control necessary to allow their heads to rule their hearts.

Maybe, just maybe it's time for me to let go of the tight reign I have been holding over my emotions and let my self "weep with those that weep" as well as rejoice with those that rejoice. One of the hardest things about being pregnant for me is that at times I actually flush out my tear ducts inadvertently. It invariably is a humiliating experience (especially when Zak and Eliannah who have never seen me cry, keep bringing up the time I lost it in Costco and sobbed my eyes out to a deer-in-the-headlights- manager that didn't know what to do with me --- but that's another story) but aren't emotions one of those unique features that make us human? Something for me to think about while re-reading chapter 1!

1 comment:

joy said...

Heart vs. head--the battle continues. And, man, the verbage in your quoted passages is hard core. I had to re-read it several times since I haven't read that kind of language in awhile. I've grown lazy.

Good things to think about. Growing up, I never felt that I was allowed to feel what I felt--I could only feel what was allowed in my home. As a result, I totally stifled my feelings and really have had to learn not to totally stifle them. But, it is hard because we're not supposed to be ruled by our emotions. Good stuff. How ya feeling these days?

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