The Abolition of Man
This is a collection in essay form of three lectures. 80+ pages. A prophetic book if one considers it was first published in 1944. The subtitle, 'Reflections on Education', is more obvious in the first part, which works as an eye-opener to the kind of education we are sponsoring today (today indeed). It is not an easy book, but the more one digs underneath the surface one finds a treasure of wisdom and common-sense, one sees our present culture x-rayed. The warning that this essay gives us is that we have set our society in a very dangerous course. We are set to conquer Nature, and not just Nature but Human Nature, as if one step closer (progressiveness?) to become lords of our own destiny. This conquering of Human Nature takes place by abolishing Natural Law (the Tao), traditional values, and accepting what he calls the 'magician's bargain: give up our soul, get power in return ... but "the power thus conferred will not belong to us. We shall in fact be the slaves and puppets of that to which we have given our souls." By conquering Nature we dehumanize ourselves. A very good analogy: "We have been trying, like Lear, to have it both ways: to lay down our human prerogative and yet at the same time to retain it. It is impossible."
One sees the relevance of Lewis's warning today in the ever growing power of the states through the tentacles of welfare and the media. "But the man-moulders of the new age will be armed with the powers of an omnicompetent state and an irresistible scientific technique." These man-moulders are also called the Conditioners. Their function is... "to control, not to obey them -the natural phenomena-. They know how to produce conscience and decide what kind of conscience they will produce." In other words, indoctrination.
The philosophy of the moulders, or Conditioners, is the following: "Let us decide for ourselves -not Nature- what man is to be and make him into that ... because we want him to be such... let us now master ourselves and choose our own destiny." Do you identify this with any political tendency today? Then guess who are the "we" and "him" in "we want him to be such". Sounds like the old saying 'to the people, for the people but without the people'.
There are plenty of sentences that reveal the wisdom of this man in just a few words. Take this one: "We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst." Quite a stupid contradiction. The essay is not religious, it is not a apology of Christianity as one would expect of Lewis, but each person can make his own evaluation of the implications this essay may have. But if traditional values and morality are to be abolished in this new society that pretty much removes Christianity, and all monotheistic religions, from the picture. Of course those who live by the motto 'eat and drink for tomorrow we die" and those who cry "peace, peace, peace!" are not to lift a finger to defend freedom or be granted any peace that is not earned.