When you have no thoughts of your own, quote Lewis

I know I’m quoting too much from my current reading, The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, but I burned my brain out last night, and I was impressed with this passage today, from a July 20, 1940 letter to his brother Warren:

Humphrey came up to see me last night… and we listened to Hitler’s speech together. I don’t know if I’m weaker than other people: but it is a positive revelation to me how while the speech lasts it is impossible not to waver just a little. I should be useless as a schoolmaster or a policeman. Statements which I know to be untrue all but convince me, at any rate for the moment, if only the man says them unflinchingly. The same weakness is why I am a slow examiner: if a candidate with a bold, mature handwriting attributed Paradise Lost to Wordsworth, I shd. feel a tendency to go and look it up for fear he might be right after all.

I know just how he felt.

This, by the way, is from the same letter, where he mentions, later on, in reference to going to church on Sunday morning…

Before the service was over – one cd. wish these things came more seasonably – I was struck by an idea for a book wh. I think might be both useful and entertaining. It wd. be called As one Devil to Another and would consist of letters from an elderly retired devil to a young devil who has just started work on his first ‘patient’….

6 thoughts on “When you have no thoughts of your own, quote Lewis”

  1. The latter letter is dated July 20th thank you very much! My birthday (though many many moons later of course) It tickles me to share a birthdate with one of my favorite books.

    Have you found the bit where he compares the noises overhead to a seduction scene involving a reluctant hippo? I need to find that again…

  2. “I don’t know if I’m weaker than other people: but it is a positive revelation to me how while the speech lasts it is impossible not to waver just a little. – Statements which I know to be untrue all but convince me, at any rate for the moment, if only the man says them unflinchingly. – I shd. feel a tendency to go and look it up for fear he might be right after all.”

    You said, “I know just how he felt.”

    *******

    Sorry, duh, I’m slow. After re-reading this, I think that I am just now getting this. Are you relating this to your Sunday morning church speaker? Are you rethinking that event? OR, second option, the liberal media propaganda machine that beats us over the head 24/7 – so it must be true…? and/or both?

    Surely you aren’t more skeptical than me?

  3. Omie, I think this is a veiled attack on the other blogger here. Lars is saying that when he hears the Calvinist distortions of the other blogger, he is persuaded for the moment before sanity returns to him. Naturally, I’m offended. 🙂

  4. Thanks for bringing me up to speed, Phil. It is true what I told our mutual friends, MW & PW, that you guys are well versed, well read, articulate, and way above my head intellectually. I’m cute, but I hate being blonde.

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