(In the spirit of “people should blog more” posts going around, I feel inspired to try my hand at some informal writing, of “thinking aloud in public”. No resolutions here — I may or may not continue this habit. Okay, enough meta-blogging. On with the show)
I’ve been meaning to reread C.S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man, especially after reading its fictional counterpart, That Hideous Strength, last year, so it seems fortuitous that Richard Beck is writing a blog series about reading it for the first time. After addressing his own misconception that Lewis’s phrase, “men without chests”, has something to do with masculinity (which is an interesting misconception in the first place, one that I feel deserves its own post), he explains that Lewis’s essay has to do with forming emotions that correspond to objective values. “Men without chests” are not necessarily cowardly or timid, they are just devoid of properly formed feelings.
I think Abolition’s vision of a technocratic society that disregards any correlation between affections and real value has, in many respects, come true. It’s eerily prescient. Equally prescient, I think, was Thrice’s song of the same name, released in 2003. Dustin Kensrue screams, “The abolition of man is within the reach of science; but are we so far gone that we’ll try it?” I think the ensuing decades since that song’s release have seen an onslaught of attempts at that very thing.