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  • Undeceptions Series

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on December 14th, 2020 (All posts by )

    C.S.Lewis wrote about self-deception throughout his career. It was his belief that the illusions we embraced did not only damage us spiritually, but impaired our ability to reason. Under the influence of personally convenient myths, we gradually can no longer even know simple things. Ideas which appear at first glance to be intellectual errors are revealed under examination to be something more emotional, more spiritual, more psychological. When I first began reading him I recognised not only the errors of others, but very quickly, favorite little theories of mine that were exploded in a minute under the force of his logic. His logic is a force, yes. Not always pleasant, but often profitable. In my twenties I considered it a challenge to my courage whether I would pick up another of his books.

    Enjoyable, though. Fun, even, and quite quotable. You can use him to expose the ideas of others even if you have an ability to dart sideways yourself.

    Not everyone here is a fan of Lewis, so I have no intention of cluttering up the front page here with a series of essays on him. However, I do link to the whole group for those who have interest.

    1. Undeceptions 

    2. Undeceptions II – Biographical Notes 

    3. Self-Deception 

    4. Undeceptions III 

    5. Undeceptions IV – The Ransom Trilogy and The Great Divorce

    6. Undeceptions V 

    7. Undeceptions VI – Till We Have Faces 

    8. That Hideous Strength.  Not actually part of the series but added in for convenience

    9. Self-Deception Anecdote. A later addition.

     

    4 Responses to “Undeceptions Series”

    1. Tim Wolter Says:

      I’ll have to man up and tackle those Lewis references. I acknowledge the flaws of That Hideous Strength but it contains some great dialog….does anyone manage to put more barbs and needles into an everyday conversation? But it contains one magnificent chapter, The Descent of the Gods.

      It describes the coming to Earth of mighty angelic forces who are represented by and steersmen of, the planets. It is some of the best English prose I’ve ever read. A brief and pallid extract:

      “Tears ran down Ransom’s cheeks. He alone knew from what seas and what islands that breeze blew. Merlin did not; but in him also the inconsolable wound with which man is born waked and ached at this touching….As the whole of her virtue seized, focussed, and held that spot of the rolling Earth in her long beam, something harder, shriller, more perilously ecstatic, came out of the center of that softness. Both the humans trembled – Merlin because he did not know what was coming, Ransom because he did……They could not bear that it should continue. They could not bear that it should cease. So Perelandra, triumphant among planets, whom men call Venus, came and was with them in the room.”

      Compare if you can without profound sadness, to the quality of writing that we endure today.

      T Wolter

    2. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

      Yes, that is why it is treasured and more often quoted than the others in the series or indeed, most of his fiction at all. If you liked the book there are a few of the links you will find gratifying.

    3. Jonathan Says:

      A worthy topic, thanks.

      In the first Market Wizards book Ed Seykota quipped that you should be careful to distinguish intuition from “into wishing”. Trading financial instruments with your own money is a good test of one’s capacity for self-deception.

    4. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

      Ooh, good real life example. I used to win minor contests against the business majors at William and Mary in the stock-buying games, especially in the ones that lasted a year (my stepfather was CEO of David L. Babson mutual fund, and while I never humbled myself enough to ask him his opinions, I did learn some things from listening to him talk to his friends in both Manchester and Sudbury). But when it came to my own money, I couldn’t pull the trigger, took no risks, and my own investment choices were well below average. The map is not the territory.