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The Abolition of Man (1947)

af C. S. Lewis

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingSamtaler / Omtaler
5,050511,570 (4.02)1 / 55
Both astonishing and prophetic, The Abolition of Man remains one of C. S. Lewis's most controversial works. Lewis sets out to persuade his audience of the ongoing importance and relevance of universal objective values, such as courage and honor, and the foundational necessity of natural law. He also makes a cogent case that a retreat from these pillars of our educational system, even if in the name of "scientism," would be catastrophic. National Review lists it as number seven on their "100 Best Nonfiction Books of the Twentieth Century."… (mere)
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C. S. Lewis es conocido principalmente por ser el autor de «Las Crónicas de Narnia». No obstante, también tuvo un paso muy fructífero por el ensayo. Y este título, si bien no el más célebre, era su predilecto dentro de su producción de no-ficción.

Lewis da el puntapié inicial con una crítica a un libro de texto escolar, en el que se declara que no existen las cosas sublimes, sino que los sublimes son los sentimientos que tales cosas producen en una persona. Lo reconozco, hasta aquí no le ponía demasiadas fichas al libro. No es hasta que introduce la idea de que hay cosas objetivamente buenas y verdaderas, más allá de cualquier opinión, que el libro explota. Es el Tao, «el Camino por el que transcurre el universo» y «el Camino que todo hombre debe pisar». De esta manera, nos va señalando cómo en toda cultura existen valores universales, como la valentía, el honor o el respeto. Es una ley natural, pero además depende de la transmisión por parte de una generación a otra. Y que siempre habrá “innovadores” que tratarán de socavar estas ideas, de hacer una nueva “moral” (que no será más que una corrupción del Tao), «esperando encontrar valores “reales” cuando han despreciado los tradicionales».

Un libro corto, pero denso. Leí la mitad, lo volví a arrancar desde el comienzo y seguramente necesitaré un par de lecturas más en el futuro. Lewis propone aquí varios puntos interesantes que van más allá de un mero descontento por el “mundo moderno” y tocan la esencia del ser humano. ( )
  little_raven | Feb 18, 2021 |
For me, the mark of a good thinker and writer is one with whom I can meaningfully engage even if I disagree with them. This is most assuredly the case with C.S. Lewis. This highly debated work is quintessential Lewis in its wit (see the opening chapter), its encyclopedic knowledge, and its unapologetic anchor in Christian theology. When I read Lewis it feels like a bit of a dance, except that we very much switch off who leads. I step forward and say, "you are appropriating the Tao" and then he steps forward and says, "but am I wrong about eugenics?" He twirls me around with comments like: "...the modern situation permits and demands a new sexual morality: the old taboos served some real purpose in helping to preserve the species, but contraceptives have modified this and we can now abandon many of the taboos" (33) until I realize that he certainly does not agree that women have a choice when it comes to their own bodies.

It is important to realize that these lectures (originally commissioned by the University of Durham) were delivered in 1943, so Lewis's warnings against technological power and creation of an "artificial Tao" are easily understood. Even when he puts aside some of his more fanciful philosophical footwork, he makes statements that resonate profoundly today (and perhaps for evermore): "I am very doubtful whether history shows us one example of a man who, having stepped outside traditional morality and attained power, has used that power benevolently" (66).

It is a potent defense of natural law. I say this not because I agree with him, but because there is a lot here that rings true and has played out in the 80 years since these lectures were published. I wonder what he might think of education today, given his allowance for emotion and and magic as part of his objective truth (or, more accurately, Truth). Certainly if debates that crowd our societal stage today were conducted with the same level of knowledge and thoughtfulness, we'd likely be making more progress (defined broadly). Reading Lewis moves us away from collecting sound bytes and invites us to invest in the true realities of the human condition. ( )
  rebcamuse | Jan 4, 2021 |
I read this book during a C. S. Lewis class taught by Jerry Root. ( )
  resoundingjoy | Jan 1, 2021 |
Lewis constructs a future of fear, dominated by a soulless elite class of ex-humans. He leads through the inexorable defeat of humanity because of careless writing in a now nearly a century old high-school text book.
The shadow of this volume looms large in our current age, far more deadly than the Green Book that inspired it.
I have read this book several times, but this reading was different. Now that I hear the words of Lewis in the mouths of nationalists, white supremacist, radicalized evangelicals and Trumpsters, I can no longer conjure warm feelings for fear Jack, without a shudder.
Another detracting element of this volume is the use of the word Tao. Lewis should have called it God. That's what he is going on about when he ascribes the origin of morality to the Tao.
It's amazing how much of this philosophical text has stuck in our culture. I think we ascribe more authority to C.S. here in the States than in the UK. ( )
  jefware | Dec 30, 2020 |
Clear attack on moral relativism- excellent in some places, goes too far in others, but excellently written. ( )
  askannakarenina | Sep 16, 2020 |
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The Master said, He who sets to work on a different strand destroys the whole fabric.

Confucius, Analects II.16
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Both astonishing and prophetic, The Abolition of Man remains one of C. S. Lewis's most controversial works. Lewis sets out to persuade his audience of the ongoing importance and relevance of universal objective values, such as courage and honor, and the foundational necessity of natural law. He also makes a cogent case that a retreat from these pillars of our educational system, even if in the name of "scientism," would be catastrophic. National Review lists it as number seven on their "100 Best Nonfiction Books of the Twentieth Century."

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