Jash Dholani Profile picture
Mar 16 13 tweets 6 min read
C.S. Lewis almost died in the trench warfare of WW-I

Became best friends with Tolkien

Sold 100 million books

On the cusp of WW-II, he gave an iconic lecture at Oxford University (1939)

His question:

Does beauty matter when bombs start falling?

THIS is his profound answer👇🏻 Image
1/ The permanent human situation is endless strife, chaos and pain

C.S. Lewis:

“Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice. Human culture has always had to exist under the shadow of something infinitely more important than itself”

Yet culture breaks out Image
2/ If we waited for peace to create art the first cave painting would still not be made

Always some “imminent danger” looking more important than culture

Lewis: “If men had postponed the search for knowledge and beauty until they were secure, the search would never have begun” Image
3/ Insect life v/s Human Life

CS Lewis:

“The insects have chosen a different line: they have sought first the material welfare and security of the hive, and presumably they have their reward. Men are different”

We demand not just mere continuity but variety, growth, adventure ImageImage
4/ C.S. Lewis on why humans are a truly unique species:

"Men propound mathematical theorems in beleaguered cities, conduct metaphysical arguments in condemned cells, make jokes on scaffolds, and comb their hair at Thermopylae. This is not panache; it is our nature." ImageImage
5/ Right on the “front line,” soldiers don’t talk of the “allied cause” or the “progress of the campaign”

They’re instead concerned with stories, myths, fateful open-ended questions

They desire “aesthetic satisfactions”

If they wont “read good books” they will "read bad ones” Image
6/ CS Lewis on good ideas:

“Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered. The cool intellect must work not only against cool intellect on the other side, but against the muddy heathen mysticisms which deny intellect altogether”
7/ The soul feeds on truth and beauty like the body feeds on food:

“God makes no appetite in vain. We can therefore pursue knowledge and beauty in the sure confidence that by so doing we are either advancing to the vision of God ourselves or indirectly helping others to do so” Image
8/ C.S. Lewis on why we must study the past:

“Not that the past has any magic about it, but because we cannot study the future, and yet need something to set against the present, to remind us that the basic assumptions have been quite different in different periods” ImageImage
9/ Past as immunity from new-age BS:

“A man who has lived in many places is not likely to be deceived by the local errors of his village; the scholar has lived in many times and is therefore…immune from the great cataract of nonsense that pours from the press of his own age.” Image
10/ Don’t wait for spare time to know what you want to know and to chase what you want to chase

C.S. Lewis: “The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.” Image
C.S. Lewis was a brilliant thinker

Always rewarding to read

I've been reading his classic books along with his obscure lectures, and collecting the insights in one place: memod.com/jashdholani/bo…

Find inside:

• The nature of hell
• Wisdom v/s Science

And more!
Thank you for reading fren!

I appreciate your time

If you enjoyed this thread

Do RT👇🏻

And C.S. Lewis-Pill your TL!

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More from @oldbooksguy

Mar 15
Hell is betraying a friend. In Divine Comedy there are 9 circles of hell, and the lowest is divided into 4 parts, and the worst spot, where Satan himself eats you alive, is reserved for those who betray their friends and masters. That's what Brutus got for back-stabbing Caesar Image
The name Caesar became the dream of men for the rest of history, a name that came to mean righteous authority, a name that has had spin offs like Tzar, Kaiser, and so on

The name brutus became "brutal' - the lowest a man can sink, something almost less than human Image
If traitors and backstabbers are the most evil, then that means loyalty and fealty to the rightful king is the most noble thing a man can do Image
Read 9 tweets
Mar 10
Skepticism is destroying your will to act. Cynicism is making you a frozen spectator of life. Thomas Carlyle wrote that skepticism contains "a whole Pandora's box of miseries." Since skepticism is OVERVALUED today, understanding its corrosive power is all the more important👇🏻
1/ Carlyle is clear that he doesn't advocate blind faith

He writes: "Doubt, truly, is not itself a crime. Certainly we do not rush out, clutch up the first thing we find, and straightway believe that!"

So what's the problem?
2/ The big problem with skepticism is this:

Asking questions goes from being a MEANS to an end (the answers)

To an END itself

People define themselves by their permanently doubtful attitude

A "chronic atrophy" of the acting impulse sets in

"I don't know" becomes a virtue
Read 12 tweets
Mar 8
H.P. Lovecraft transformed the horror genre, wrote 100,000+ letters to frens, and was, above all, a soulful aristocrat. Let's explore his attacks on democracy, his critique of our modern priorities, and what he believed civilization MUST aim at👇🏻
1/ A great society is only built when the most gifted contribute

And for their contribution, the aristocrats must be rewarded:

“Since the only human motive is a craving for supremacy, we can expect nothing in the way of achievement unless achievement be rewarded by supremacy”
2/ Civilization must create valuable “thoughts and objects” and aristocracy “alone” can do this

Democracies live “parasitically on the aristocracies they overthrow”

And over time, democracies use up “the aesthetic and intellectual resources which autocracy bequeathed them”
Read 15 tweets
Mar 3
Humans fight a holy war against thinking machines in Dune

This war is called the "Butlerian Jihad"


The war is named after a real 19th century English author:

Samuel Butler

Butler issued prophetic warnings against technology in a 1872 novel

His disturbing insights👇🏻
1/ A Dune prequel tells us that in the future

Humans let "efficient machines" execute almost all "everyday tasks"

Machines meant to save labor and time start eroding our humanity:

"Gradually, humans ceased to think, or dream...or truly live"

The danger of outsourcing life?
2/ Samuel Butler who obsessed with a question: "What sort of creature" will follow us as the ruler of Earth? Life went from minerals to plants to animals - who says we're the ultimate culmination of this process? No rational basis to saying “animal life is the end of all things”
Read 13 tweets
Mar 2
When heads literally rolled in the French Revolution, one of them belonged to the grandfather of a boy called Alexis Tocqueville. Years later, in his quest to understand the true nature of equality, Alexis would visit America and write "the best book ever written on democracy"👇🏻
1/ Tocqueville's Democracy In America is now assigned reading at all colleges worldwide. He correctly predicts the growth of the nanny state, our atomized lives, the dysfunction of democracy, and Rupi Kaur’s poetry (literally). It is a tour de force of political foresight
2/ Human lust for equality overpowers our love for freedom:

“Democratic communities have a natural taste for freedom. But for equality, their passion is insatiable: they call for equality in freedom; and if they cannot obtain that, they still call for equality in slavery”
Read 15 tweets

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