C. S. Lewis on Orthodoxy and on our times

United Socialists of AmericaJust a little blogpost about Lewis, raw and unrevised. I just felt conscience-bound today to ensure that you had the benefit of these things on the chance that it could be helpful at some point.

On Orthodoxy:

“My model here is the behaviour of the congregation at a ‘Russian Orthodox’ service, where some sit, some lie on their faces, some stand, some kneel, some walk about, and no one takes the slightest idea of what anyone else is doing. That is good sense, good manners, and good Christianity” (C. S. Lewis in a letter to a Mrs. Johnson, 13 March 1956 [CLIII 720]).“What pleased me most about a Greek Orthodox Mass I once attended was that there seemed to be no prescribed behaviour for the congregation. Some stood, some knelt, some sat, some walked; one crawled about the floor like a caterpillar. And the beauty of it was that nobody took the slightest notice of what anyone else was doing. I wish we Anglicans would follow their example. One meets people who are perturbed because someone in the next pew does, or does not, cross himself. They oughn’t even to have seen, let alone censured. ‘Who art thou that judgest Another’s Servant?’” (C. S. Lewis, LM 19-20).

“Greek priests impress one very favourably at sight – much more so than most Protestant or R.C. clergy. And the peasants all refuse tips” (C. S. Lewis in a letter, 23 May 1960 [CLIII, 1154]).

On our times:

“Tolkien once remarked to me that the feeling about home must have been quite different in the days when a family had fed on the produce of the same few miles of country for six generations, and that perhaps this was why they saw nymphs in the fountains and dryads in the woods – they were not mistaken for there was in a sense a real (not metaphorical) connection between them and the countryside. What had been earth and air & later corn, and later still bread, really was in them.We of course who live on a standardised international diet (you may have had Canadian flour, English meat, Scotch oatmeal, African oranges, & Australian wine to day) are really artificial beings and have no connection (save in sentiment) with any place on earth. We are synthetic men, uprooted. The strength of the hills is not ours” (C. S. Lewis in a letter to Arthur Greeves, 22 June 1930).

Thirdly, a painfully relevant plus deeply cathartic video by Fr. Thomas Hopko drawing from C. S. Lewiss The Abolition of Man and other authors. (Shortest hour and a half of my life!)

For reference: the Greek word νους or nous (British: pron.: /ˈnaʊs/; US: /ˈnuːs/), sometimes equated to intellect or intelligence, has served as a philosophical term for the faculty of the human mind which is described in classical philosophy as necessary for understanding what is true or real, similar in meaning to intuition. It is also often described as a form of perception which works within the mind (the minds eye,” sometimes equated to the brains pineal gland since it appears to be an atrophied eye [which is of a pine cone shape, whence pineal]), rather than only through the physical senses. The three commonly used philosophical terms are from Greek, νοῦς or νόος, and Latin intellectus and intelligentia respectively. As you may have guessed, nous is where we get noetic, which means having to do with heavenly or higher matters (which in the East, unlike the West, is not quite coextensive with mortuary or eschatological [each of which also covers a different field] [since the point of mysticism, asceticism, liturgy and morality–actually everything the Church does-is to tap into higher things by experiencing death here and now], though there is certainly overlap).

(Other communicators he might easily have sourced on the key points certainly include Aldous Huxley, George Orwell and a contemporary intellectual heir apparent to them, one Alex E. Jones [who, be warned, is without question a voice crying out].)


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