Clare Cannon's Reviews > The Abolition of Man

The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis
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Aug 21, 11

bookshelves: non-fiction, adults, young-adult
Recommended for: Young Adults & Adults
Read from August 11 to 21, 2011

How could I have done an Arts degree without reading this book?! Lewis was a genius, and everything he writes here feels indescribably relevant to the present time. I had goosebumps while reading it.

So many voices call for the abandonment of all value systems except their own, wishing somehow to 'free' society from the laws that have governed it only to impose their own, more arbitrary code.

Every humanities student (not to mention teacher) must read it.
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Quotes Clare Liked

C.S. Lewis
“You can’t go on “seeing through” things forever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it. To “see through” all things is the same as not to see.”
C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

C.S. Lewis
“For every one pupil who needs to be guarded against a weak excess of sensibility there are three who need to be awakened from the slumber of cold vulgarity. The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts. The right defence 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.”
C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

C.S. Lewis
“The Tao, which others may call Natural Law or Traditional Morality or the First Principles of Practical Reason or the First Platitudes, is not one among a series of possible systems of value. It is the sole source of all value judgments. If it is rejected, all value is rejected. If any value is retained, it is retained. The effort to refute it and raise a new system of value in its place is self-contradictory. There has never been, and never will be, a radically new judgment of value in the history of the world. What purport to be new systems or…ideologies…all consist of fragments from the Tao itself, arbitrarily wrenched from their context in the whole and then swollen to madness in their isolation, yet still owing to the Tao and to it alone such validity as they posses.”
C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

C.S. Lewis
“The very power of [textbook writers] depends on the fact that they are dealing with a boy: a boy who thinks he is ‘doing’ his ‘English prep’ and has no notion that ethics, theology, and politics are all at stake. It is not a theory they put into his mind, but an assumption, which ten years hence, its origin forgotten and its presence unconscious, will condition him to take one side in a controversy which he has never recognized as a controversy at all.”
C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

C.S. Lewis
“It is not excess of thought but defect of fertile and generous emotion that marks them out. Their heads are no bigger than the ordinary: it is the atrophy of te chest beneath that makes them seem so.”
C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man


Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Sherwood (new) - added it

Sherwood Smith Oh, that's a good one


Clare Cannon I agree! I think I'll re-read it at least once a year


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