For moderation and diversity (Lewis)

With the family growing from 5 to 6 total, I’ve barely touched the blog or books in the past 3 weeks. I picked up a copy of Lewis’s God in the Dock a while back and have been working through it really slowly. It’s a mix of short (usually 3-5 page) essays on all sorts of topics. Many of the pieces are early, early explorations into what later turned into entire books or at least several chapters worth of material. His thought process is interesting. Lewis is such a clear thinker; I’m always amazed at how little nonsense he speaks compared to other thinkers.

At the same time, It has been a little bit jarring to read a couple of ranting essays that are rather uncharacteristic of him. Some of these were written quickly for the opinion section of the local paper. It’s actually encouraging though to see something from Lewis that isn’t that good.

To keep the blog from growing completely arthritic, I though I would post a few good excerpts from Lewis during the next week or two.

I really like this next passage as an apology for moderation in all things. You can apply this to just about everything imaginable.

The woman who makes a dog the centre of her life loses, in the end, not only her human usefulness and dignity but even the proper pleasure of dog-keeping.  The man who makes alcohol his chief good loses not only his job but his palate and all power of enjoying the earlier (and only pleasurable) levels of intoxication.  It is a glorious thing to feel for a moment or two that the whole meaning of the universe is summed up in one woman—glorious so long as other duties and pleasures keep tearing you away from her. But clear the decks and so arrange your life (it is sometimes feasible) that you will have nothing to do but contemplate her, and what happens?

Of course this law has been discovered before, but it will stand re-discovery. It may be stated as follows: every preference of a small good to a great, or partial good to a total good, involves the loss of the small or partial good for which the sacrifice is made. Apparently the world is made that way…You can’t get second things by putting them first. You get second things only by putting first things first.

-C.S. Lewis, First and Second Things, God in the Dock, p.280