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Abolition of Man references in SVOTS commencement address

Comprising most of Lewis' writings.

Abolition of Man references in SVOTS commencement address

Postby matdonna » 08 Jun 2007, 20:47

an excerpt from Fr. Thomas Hopko's commencement address at St. Vladimir's Orthodoxy Seminary, NY.

"I would also recommend today, and, again, if I could, I would also insist that all thinking Christians, and surely all seminary students and graduates, be required to read one other book that contains, in my view, the most incisive analysis of what has happened to humanity in the last fifty years. It is C. S. Lewis's prophetic masterpiece written in 1944 called "The Abolition of Man". This slender volume should be read slowly, methodically and carefully many times over. Parts of it, which I have read more than ten times, are still unclear to me. But its main point is crystal clear.

"Lewis says that for human beings to see, know, love, adore and offer fitting thanksgiving for all that is good, true and beautiful in human life, and so to remain fully and truly human, they must possess and cultivate the uniquely human faculty that differentiates them from angels and beasts, and, we must also add today, from the artificial intelligence of electronic technology. Lewis calls this faculty the "Tao." He says that it may also be called the "image of God" or the "spark of divinity" or the Law or the Logos or the Heart. (Today, if he knew Orthodox literature, he might have also said that it may be called the Nous.) Whatever one calls it, it is the faculty whereby human beings intuit and contemplate the basic truths of human being and life that ground all ratiocination, discourse, conversation and disputation. Lewis claimed in 1944 that if the methods of education prevailing in the schools of his day prove to be successful, this uniquely human faculty will be obliterated, and human beings as we have known them will no longer exist. It will literally be "the abolition of man."

"I am convinced that what Lewis foresaw has happened, and is still happening with ever more catastrophic consequences, in our Western and Westernized worlds. It happens that men and women who once were human are simply no longer so. They have become nothing but minds and matter, brains and bodies, computers and consumers, calculators and copulators, constructers and cloners who believe that they are free and powerful but who are in fact being destroyed by the very "Nature" that they wish to conquer as they are enslaved to an oligarchy of "Conditioners" who are themselves enslaved and destroyed by their insane strivings to define, design, manage and manipulate a world and a humanity bereft of the God who boundlessly loves them."
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Postby Sven » 08 Jun 2007, 21:12

Thanks for sharing that, Matdonna!

I like the next paragraph after the bit you quoted, too.

Others have seen and said similar things to what C. S. Lewis saw and said: Fyodor Dostoevsky, Karl Stern, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Thomas Merton, the alleged atheist Anton Chekhov, and my most beloved Flannery O'Connor are among my personal favorites.
Rat! he found breath to whisper, shaking. Are you afraid?
Afraid? murmured the Rat, his eyes shining with unutterable love.
Afraid! Of Him? O, never, never! And yet -- and yet -- O, Mole, I am afraid!
Then the two animals, crouching to the earth, bowed their heads and did worship.
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Postby rusmeister » 09 Jun 2007, 02:49

Assume you mean this one:
Others have seen and said similar things to what C. S. Lewis saw and said: Fyodor Dostoevsky, Karl Stern, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Thomas Merton, the alleged atheist Anton Chekhov, and my most beloved Flannery O'Connor are among my personal favorites.

I've been saying it, too - I went down a unique path in life* that enabled me to see what is being done in the teacher preparation programs and the relentless ideology of pluralism (and its daughters relativism, and watchwords like multiculturalism, diversity and tolerance - they are not mere buzzwords, but the incarnation of the ideology) being invisibly taught to all the children in the nation in the schools. I found that people did not want to hear me (including my own SIL, a ps teacher!), even though I had seen it myself. Basically, the conclusions lead to the need to [CENSORED FOR FEAR OF SHOCKING THE PUBLIC]. Parents can not accept this even if if it true, because it would require a change in lifestyle - they need a babysitter for their kids and often both parents work jobs, and of course, teachers and anyone else dependent on the system for income can't accept it for fairly obvious reasons.

1) public school through 8th grade (exp of public)
2) private Christian (Baptist) high school (exp of private and more importantly, de-schooling; deprogramming from public)
3) military before college - went to college with some maturity
4) extensive exp teaching abroad (4 yrs FT) before entering a state teacher prep program and working in public schools
5) 4 yrs public exp (East and West Coasts, also private sector exp on both)
6) left the public system and the country and ended dependence on it
7)Discovered John Taylor Gatto and John Stormer's works - dovetailed with my own exp.

Most teachers go through 'preparation' never aware that they are being indoctrinated, or with a clue that that in their 13 years in K-12 they were being indoctrinated or that the indoctrination continues at every staff meeting and is embodied in the school rules and indeed, the entire organization of the school. Political correctness is simply the practical application of pluralism. Merely sitting at a desk in a public school won't enable you to see any of this. I would never have seen this if I had followed a 'normal' career path.

Lewis's Abolition of Man is super, and also, the part on education in "Screwtape Proposes a Toast" is precisely what I saw. Gatto has a couple of odd things in his educational research, but it mostly nails everything I saw.
"Eh? Two views? There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there's never more than one."
Bill "The Blizzard" Hingest - That Hideous Strength
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Re: Abolition of Man references in SVOTS commencement address

Postby msd1835 » 06 Sep 2009, 20:09

I couldn't agree more with everything you two have said. I have not read "Abolition of Man", but I now I plan to. I have noticed of late, how modern society tries to force their "religion"(pluralism, relativism, etc.); and I am really anxious about it now that my son is in the public school system. There are times when intolerance is a virtue. In my opinion if someone is behaving in a way that corrupts society; it is the a person's job to be intolerant. By making everyone tolerant, modern culture creates intolerence towards holiness. Modern culture actually becomes what it is trying to weed out. Anyone who does not believe the exact way they believe becomes instantly labeled as intolerant.

When I say it is "a person's job to be intolerant" I in no way am encouraging violence or hatred; even though on another blog/forum I would be instantly charged with it. I am just saying that for communities to remain in tact and strong there must be a common belief of what is acceptable and what is not. It seems to me that when ancient societies reached the climax of their tolerance and inclusiveness; they began to fall. Correct me if I am wrong.
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Re: Abolition of Man references in SVOTS commencement address

Postby matdonna » 06 Sep 2009, 23:57

wow, I had forgotten all about this thread-- was it really 2007 that I posted the starter? Strangely enough, my husband was recently asked to write an article/review of some sort about Abolition of Man. He ran it up with his usual alacrity, but I'm not sure the person who requested it actually had a place for publishing it sorted out......
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