Saturday, May 20, 2006

The abolition of man

…Righteousness, correctness, order, the Rta, is constantly identified with satya or truth, correspondence to reality. As Plato said that the Good was "beyond existence" and Wordsworth that through virtue the stars were strong, so the Indian masters say that the gods themselves are born of the Rta and obey it. The Chinese also speak of a great thing (the greatest thing) called the Tao. It is the reality beyond all predicates, the abyss that was before the Creator Himself. It is Nature, it is the Way, the Road. It is the Way in which the universe goes on, the Way in which things everlastingly emerge, stilly and tranquilly, into space and time. It is also the Way which every man should tread in imitation of that cosmic and supercosmic progression, conforming all activities to that great exemplar. "In ritual," say the Analects, "it is harmony with Nature that is prized." The ancient Jews likewise praise the Law as being "true."

in The Abolition of Man

Moving past Parks, today I picked up The Abolition of Man, by C. S. Lewis. That man is a smart guy. Unfortunately, much of what he writes is difficult for me to understand. This is probably due to some combination of his use of British idioms, the date of the text, and ubiquitous allusions to literature I’ve never studied. Oh yeah, and that it’s just thick stuff. Regardless, I always find it a pleasure to consider his thoughts. I’ve had this book for over 10 years (as part of a Lewis set) and today was the first time I’ve read it. I usually go back to favorites I’ve read in the past. But perusing this today turned out to be quite apropos.

Comments on my Parks posts reminded me that I’ve noticed two disparate views on the homosexual condition. Proponents of one view seem to hold a relativistic philosophy in general. Love, truth, and good are all to be discovered from within. Lewis doesn’t mention homosexuality a single time, so the application to this topic is purely my own. But I would hold that Lewis would object to such views. Lewis believes in natural moral law—independent of preference or dislike. And I find it difficult to consider the alternate view as plausible, based on the explanations I’ve heard.

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