Tag Archives: C.S. Lewis

Screwtape revisited


This week on Facebook: Any human thoughts on Theism present many different conclusions, as do human thoughts on the subject of Atheism and you must draw your own conclusions. To a certain extent the Inklings shared religious views¹, particularly on Christianity. Views that were certainly more prevalent than they are today, I mention this because their shared religious views was probably the glue that held the Inklings together, that and the friendship between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien)². Read more of this post

Books & my (occasional) anecdote


This week on Facebook: It’s Christmas week —

A Very Happy Christmas

to You All

And

My Best Wishes For The New Year

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The New Silk Road


This week on Facebook: When I first read about The Great Firewall of China I concluded that it was a model that most States would try to find a way of emulating, the rationale being that it was the first step towards securing the political supremacy of a governing oligarchy under the pretext of a democracy. Now China has launched The New Silk Road¹ (OBOR: One Belt One Road) and notionally democratic governments find themselves not only having to consider a trade war with China, but to seriously consider China’s political model as representative of the future. Read more of this post

‘Like you know’ — Christmas 2017


Vagueness is on the march and it isn’t just formal education that has brought this about, firstly television, then the Internet, and now mobile phone texting, all impact on both the written and the spoken word.  Read more of this post

An Internet Brief


This week on Facebook: The media celebrated the 25th anniversary of the world wide web this year, reserving a special accolade for its instigator — British computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee. History may judge the last 25 years to be the time when, in one sense at least, the internet really did make the world a global village. A village where nothing, or very little, remains hidden from those who live in it. Global village neighbours expose themselves — in every sense of the word — both literally and figuratively on social media. A media that enables global neighbours to express opinions and views, within or without laws that may govern another neighbour’s behaviour. Politicians use their public administration to propagandise policy influencing public opinion and in many cases censoring public access to the internet.  Read more of this post

A Letter For Christmas


The genre used by C. S. Lewis in The Chronicles of Narnia, and his friend J. R. R. Tolkien in The Lord Of The Rings is now used to popularize the concept of some supernatural force, contrary to that intended by Lewis and Tolkien who both attributed supernatural forces to the divine.

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“The Piper at the Gates of Dawn”


The recent flooding in Britain brought the author Cowper to mind. No: not the poet William Cowper, nor  John Cowper Powys who was a prolific novelist, essayist, letter writer, poet and philosopher; a writer of enormous scope, complexity, profundity and humour. Rather, John Middleton Murray who mostly wrote science fiction under the pen name of Richard Cowper, writing Profundis with much humour. Read more of this post

Nurturing Education


It seems that the dumbing down in education is not simply an Anglo-Saxon model but a European one. A commonality is to be found in my post ‘Knowledge is not a shovel’, itself prompted by Gesine Schwan remarking  in  Knowledge is not a shovel – Universities and democratic society that:

“The primary aim of education, however one understands it, must be to nurture the ability to reflect, to develop new ideas, and to implement these collectively”.

Gesine Schwan would find much common ground with C S Lewis in saying that:

“Today, discussions about the role of universities concentrate almost exclusively on their contribution to the economic development of a country or region, and more specifically on how universities can contribute to countering unemployment and improving competitiveness. On the whole, the frame of reference for the definition of the role of the university rarely goes beyond this aspect of economic competitiveness”.

In the following extract from ‘Screwtape Proposes a Toast‘ (pdf), C.S. Lewis wrote:

I want to fix your attention on discrediting, and finally the elimination, of every kind of human excellence — moral, cultural, social, or intellectual. The spirit of I’m as good as you’ has already begun more than a generally social influence. It begins to work into their education system. The basic principle of the new education is to be that dunces and idlers must not be made to feel inferior to intelligent and industrious pupils. That would be “undemocratic”.

At universities, examinations must be framed so that nearly all the students get good marks. Entrance examinations must be framed so that all, or nearly all, citizens can go to universities, whether they have any power (or wish) to profit by higher education or not. At schools, the children who are too stupid or lazy to learn languages and mathematics and elementary science can be set to doing things that children used to do in their spare time. Whatever nonsense they are engaged in must have “parity of esteem.” (It’s Hell For Democracy)

When entry to higher education is motivated by the political expediency of taking young people off the unemployment register, and where the educational model is driven by ‘economic competitiveness’ (Schwan), then surely it should lead to employment opportunities. What we actually have, is an education system failing to provide the necessary education at any level. Those seeking employment are not only faced with very limited employment opportunities, but often find themselves competing with better educated applicants from nations where Schwan’s educational aims are still applied.

Educational and political chicanery has duped students and ultimately society. A chicanery that has changed not just an education system but in doing so, society itself. If the educational aims advocated by Schwan were applied, politicians may well fear an electorate endowed with any modicum of intellect. Fortunately for them, and as foreseen by Screwtape, we now have an education system incapable of nurturing the ability to reflect, to develop new ideas, and to implement these collectively. One whose sole purpose is the development of economic growth in the face of global competition.

Diffuse Dissatisfactions


In Lashed by Lash I mentioned  the American social critic Christopher Lasch, credited with coining the term diffuse dissatisfactions. I would express diffuse dissatisfactions as my belief that ‘the world is going to hell in a handcart‘. What other view would I hold, I’m a septuagenarian. I am nevertheless empathetic with Lasch’s argument that the self-awareness movement instead of liberating the personality and helping the individual to understand the world and society, suggests an even more extreme defensive stance, a momentary relief, Prozacs for the proletariat ,  tranquillisers for the bourgeoisie and cocaine for aristocracy. To a layman like me, confirming the abstractions of the socially stressed. Read more of this post

Like – ‘er’, you know, they’re only words.


Education, Education, Education, was the mantra of New Labour in 1997, which certainly appealed to me, having the experience of two boys being educated in a state comprehensive school.  An appeal reinforced by my experience in a military training establishment for adolescent and mature students.  However, 13  years post New Labour’s mantra and some 20 years post the Tories Citizens Charter, it seems that instead of a nation educated and proficient in the use of ‘simple English’, we are now a nation of ‘English simpletons’.

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Martin Widlake's Yet Another Oracle Blog

Oracle performance, Oracle statistics and VLDBs

The Land Is Ours

a Landrights campaign for Britain

The Bulletin

This site was created for members and friends of My Telegraph blog site, but anyone is welcome to comment, and thereafter apply to become an author.

TCWG Short Stories

Join our monthly competition and share story ideas...

The Real Economy

Blogs and stuff from Ed Conway

Public Law for Everyone

Professor Mark Elliott

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