Reflections on today’s culture inspired by C.S.Lewis. By PETER CORNEY
The Lewis quotation that inspired this reflection comes from his essay “The Abolition of man”.
“Such is the tragi – comedy of our situation, we clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible….”
Currently we constantly hear the call for political and commercial leadership with more honesty and integrity, with less pride and avarice, and in the case of our politics, less of the ugly and sterile quest for revenge. The recent Royal Commission has also called for a new corporate culture of honesty and transparency in our Banks and financial enterprises.
And yet – “In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”
As Lewis points out with his graphic metaphor of castration our present culture renders these qualities and virtues impossible because we have made our culture morally sterile. We have turned away from the belief in moral absolutes and the transcendent origin of the highest values and virtues. We are now lost in a confusion of Post Modern relativism, radical individualism and a false view of personal freedom that is really the desire for individual choice unrestrained by any boundaries of truth, reason and reality.
The sense of moral and spiritual accountability to God has been steadily eroded by the secularists who reject any reality beyond the material and physical world. They want to enclose us all in their well-lit, tightly locked but windowless room, and yet they have no satisfying answers to our most enduring questions about meaning, morality, the highest good and our ultimate purpose.
To change the metaphor we are a “cut flower culture” that has severed our values and virtues from their roots and so it should not surprise us that the flowers of the moral virtues are slowly withering and dying.