Pruning the Mind During a Crisis - Intercollegiate Studies Institute

Pruning the Mind During a Crisis

“Learning in War-time,” a lecture delivered by C.S. Lewis at Oxford University in October 1939, just after England entered World War II, begins with a provocative—and timely—question: Why should anyone focus on the life of the mind when individual and societal survival is threatened? 

Lewis proposes that, in reality, “human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice…[therefore] if men had postponed the search for knowledge and beauty until they were secure, the search would never have begun.” When he fought in World War I, Lewis had observed that soldiers in the trenches did not spend their time solely, or even mostly, thinking about or talking about the war. When faced with suffering, Lewis argued humans wit and creative expression. We bury our dead with eloquent orations. In other words, a time of crisis is not the time to reduce the human person to its biological needs, as severely threatened as those needs may be. 

Read the rest over at the Hedgehog Review.

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