The Abolition Of Man In Essay


The Abolition of Man in Summary
With the end of World War II and the mounting of the Cold War, the
world was bitterly divided along ideological and political lines. The
extent of horrors seen and the tension between value systems and power
demands projected into the immediate future would provokes such works as
C.S. Lewis' 1943 text, The Abolition of Man.
The text begins deceptively as a discussion on instruction in the
English language but soon careens into a dramatic philosophical
hypothetical. This is well captured by the conflict which is introduced
during the opening discussion on English, where Lewis derides the
grammarian for his dogmatic approach to instruction. Here, Lewis accuses,
"it is not a theory they put into his mind but an assumption, which ten
years hence, its origin forgotten and its presence unconscious, will
condition him to take one side in a controversy which he has never
recognized as a controversy at all." (5) In a manner, Lewis enters into a
discussion on the threat of ethnocentrism as provoked by linguistic
instruction. This leads him to a key precept of the text, that grammar
education is far too deeply biased by its philosophical conceits, rendering
it a poor educational standard in both disciplines.
Such is the launching point for the larger focal point of the text,
which revolves upon the argument that natural law such as that implicated
by Judeo-Christian and Eastern philosophical value systems must be
preserved against the dehumanizing impact of exclusively rationalist
thought. This drives a vision of the future which echoes the presentation
in such seminal dystopian texts as Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New
World. As with these familiar texts, Lewis describes a bleak future in
which rationalism has shifted into aggressive social, psychological and
behavioral control which essentially relieves us of our humanity.
At the crux of the text is a somewhat alarmist and emotionally driven
discourse that transitions from a meditation on education into a missive on
the need to preserve traditional values, classical thought and humanizing
interaction with one another.

Works Cited:

Lewis, C.S. (1943). The Abolition of Man. Harper One.

Cite this Document:

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