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The Abolition of Man Paperback – April 7, 2015
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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From the Back Cover
In The Abolition of Man, C. S. Lewis sets out to persuade his audience of the importance and relevance of universal values such as courage and honor in contemporary society. Both astonishing and prophetic, this book is one of the most debated of Lewis's extraordinary works. National Review chose it as number seven on their "100 Best Nonfiction Books of the Twentieth Century."
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It is small - not much more than pamphlet size - so I thought I would read it before bedtime. One week later, I am still enjoying (savoring) each sentence and do believe it will be finished tomorrow. When it is, I shall wait a week - then read it again.
C.S.Lewis has always been an easy read for me. Each paragraph in 'The Abolition of Man' causes me to stop and think - and solidify my thought before I go on. It is a magnificent polemic that has made me recognize and review much of my culture I took for granted. Some trends that Lewis has pointed out to me, I now knowingly embrace - others, I carefully reject.
I would recommend this book to anyone!
He also wrote books that make you stop and THINK, such as "The Abolition of MAN."
If you stop and think, you will become a wise human.
If you read this book, your mind will lead you to get "The Problem of Pain."
And on and on through all of Professor Lewis's books (There is even a list in the front of any of his books)
In a modern world where technology now messes with genetic pre-dispositions, created human beings will not be in many senses human beings. If vices are eliminable, diseases conquerable, pain controllable, will this radical disruption in the incentive systems of humanity change what it means to be human? And is modern thinking -- already accomplishing a divorce from the traditional wisdoms -- going to complete the project of creating a new man?
Written in a manner that will engage, this short book captures the fears of many, atheist or theist, believer in humanism or God, that some central irreducible element of what it means to be human is now in play, at risk, fungible, and controllable, by technologies or even what Simmel called the modern defining categorical view of living -- the decision to forgo categorization. The will to ignore the Tao, to find work arounds, to locate a new human software, now colors who we will allow our children to be.
As a corrective to the fans of the concept of a Singularity, there could not be a better book. As we change man, we create men without chests, and wander afar into the world of unintended consequences.
Viewing everything through the lens of political correctness and equal outcomes, and by chopping those who achieve down to size, our political leaders are governing precisely as they were educated. They will continue to pinch, tuck and mold man so that he is in *their* image, and no longer in the image of the Creator; no longer bound by what Lewis calls the Tao - the law instilled in man from the beginning.
The two most telling quotes from this work:
"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."
"At the moment, then, of Man's victory over Nature, we find the whole human race subjected to some individual men, and those individuals subjected to that in themselves which is purely 'natural' -- to their irrational impulses. Nature, untrammeled by values, rules the Conditioners and, through them, all humanity. Man's conquest of Nature turns out, in the moment of its consummation, to be Nature's conquest of Man."
If the 20th century was horrific because of the loud bang of its wars, the 21st century may well be more horrific from the faint whisper of its surrender. Out of all Lewis' works, this is probably the most unsettling.
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