Five decades beyond C. S. Lewis’s death on that fateful November 22, 1963, the fashion in some precincts is to describe the man as “quirky,” as though the folds, edges and concealments of his character and of his mind are…
Many are the voices suggesting there has been a failure of vision by the intellectual class, that there is currently a lack of vision to guide culture forward, out of this period of intellectual and cultural chaos. Towards what might…
I should start by saying that, although this philosophy symposium is about the search for meaning, discussions which rely on the term “meaning” in talking about the human search for a meaningful life seem to me to be largely modern…
What advice would C S Lewis offer us in today’s world? The 21st Century is the setting wherein powerful forces are set to meet and perhaps to clash. Self and the search for meaning are at the heart of these putative clashes. They include, but are not limited to, (a) the emerging of so called intelligent information technology, (b) the impact of psychological theories on everyday life and (c) the continuing thirst by people for a spiritual dimension to their lives, including the search for some meaning in life and for satisfaction with life. Take each in turn. This is a dialogue between a cognitive scientist (RA) and an arts scholar (MG) who both share the same communion at St Edward’s King & Martyr, Cambridge, England.
Along with content knowledge and pedagogical skill, teachers’ personal qualities impact their classrooms and their work with depth and significance. The moral qualities that teachers bring with them into the classroom inform decisions, direct practice, and guide the culture of the learning community. Hope is an important virtue and motivation for teachers in every teaching situation and context, for hope pervades every aspect of the experience of teaching.
So far as I can tell, virtually no has commented on the connections between C. S. Lewis and Emmanuel Levinas-one possible exception being Pope John Paul II, a great admirer of both writers (see Hooper xii; John Paul II 36). But the connections are profound and undeniable. I’ve found no evidence that Levinas read Lewis’s work, nor any that Lewis was acquainted directly with the thought of Levinas, though Levinas became an important figure in French philosophical circles following World War II. The affinity between Lewis and Levinas must be explained in some way other than direct influence.
The body of C.S. Lewis’ work, from his essays to his fiction, plumbs key problems caused in higher education by Modernists. In both The Screwtape Letters and The Abolition of Man, he delineates the devolution of human souls deprived of meaning and dependent only on material fact. In the third book of his science fiction trilogy, That Hideous Strength, he creates vivid scenes of battle between two warring factions, the Progressives versus the obstructionists, at the fictional Bracton College. His essays and fiction consistently present his belief that the Modernist agenda is founded on a bankrupt philosophy for which its ultimate end is little more than a struggle for power.
In an age when technology has caught up with our literary imaginations, film makers are faced with many decisions about how to adapt works of fantasy for the silver screen. Since the beginning of story-telling, the quest for something greater than self has permeated our stories, infusing them with elements of the supernatural and the divine. As we seek a greater Other, we are also seeking ourselves and a deeper understanding of what it means to inhabit this earthly realm while longing for the numinous elsewhere.
In a short paper all I can do is whet your appetite, if you have a taste for philosophical investigations. In other words, the best I can do is tease you. By ‘a taste for philosophical investigations’, I mean a fascination with certain questions-questions about ultimate meaning, but whose meaning is, ultimately, the question. For example, “What is truth?”; “What is reality?”; “What is knowledge?”; “What is the self?”; “What is meaning?” These are philosophical questions, both because the answers we give to them will shape the way we live our lives (and in that sense are ultimately meaningful), and because they are questions whose meanings are themselves so puzzling.
All paths seemingly lead to despair as Harry Potter and his two closest friends sit in the drab tent they have been living in for several weeks, continually on the run from servants of the evil Lord Voldemort. Harry’s primary mission-to destroy Voldemort and his power over the wizarding world-seems impossible as he, Ron, and Hermione feel more alone than ever. Suddenly, they hear familiar voices on the radio, voices that belong to “those friends of Harry Potter’s who are suffering for their allegiance” (Deathly Hallows 441; ch. 22).