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Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis Quotes on Art


“The Guide sang: The new age, the new art, the new ethic and thought, And fools crying, Because it has begun It will continue as it has begun! The wheel runs fast, therefore the wheel will run Faster for ever, The old age is done, We have new lights and see without the sun. (Though they lay flat the mountains and dry up the sea, Wilt thou yet change, as though God were a god?)”

– Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, Pilgrim’s Regress


“Every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from love of the thing he tells to love of the telling till, down in Deep Hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about Him.”

– Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, The Great Divorce

Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis Quotes about Evilness & Devils

Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis Quotes about Evilness & Devils   “If we are going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things — praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts — not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They might break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, On Living in an Atomic Age


“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, The Screwtape Letters “I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of “Admin.” The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid “dens of crime” that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the offices of a thoroughly nasty business concern.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
“Of course a war is entertaining. The immediate fear and suffering of the humans is a legitimate and pleasing refreshment for our myriads of toiling workers. But what permanent good does it do us unless we make use of it for bringing souls to Our Father Below? When I see the temporal suffering of humans who finally escape us, I feel as if I had been allowed to taste the first course of a rich banquet and then denied all the rest. It is worse than not to have tasted it at all. The Enemy, true to His barbarous methods of warfare, allows us to see the short misery of His favourites only to tantalize and torment us — to mock the incessant hunger, which, during this present phase of great conflict, His blockade is admittedly imposing.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis
“Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis
“The safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis
“It is the magician’s bargain: give up our soul, get power in return. But once our souls, that is, ourselves, have been given up, 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.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, The Abolition of Man Top

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Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis quotes about Life, Evilness and Religion

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Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis Quotes on Imagination


  “For me, reason is the natural organ of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning. Imagination, producing new metaphors or revivifying old, is not the cause of truth, but its condition.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, Bluspels and Flalansferes: A Semantic Nightmare
“Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, On Living in an Atomic Age Top

Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis Quotes on Judgement


“Only the skilled can judge the skilfulness, but that is not the same as judging the value of the result.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis
“Mr. Neo-Angular – I am doing my duty. My ethics are based on dogma, not on feeling. Vertue-I know that a rule is to be obeyed because it is a rule and not because it appeals to my feelings at the moment.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, Pilgrim’s Regress
“You must show that a man is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong. The modern method is to assume without discussion that he is wrong and then distract his attention from this (the only real issue) by busily explaining how he became so silly. In the course of the last fifteen years I have found this vice so common that I have had to invent a name for it. I call it “Bulverism”. Some day I am going to write the biography of its imaginary inventor, Ezekiel Bulver, whose destiny was determined at the age of five when he heard his mother say to his father—who had been maintaining that two sides of a triangle were together greater than a third—”Oh you say that because you are a man.” “At that moment”, E. Bulver assures us, “there flashed across my opening mind the great truth that refutation is no necessary part of argument. Assume that your opponent is wrong, and the world will be at your feet. Attempt to prove that he is wrong or (worse still) try to find out whether he is wrong or right, and the national dynamism of our age will thrust you to the wall.” That is how Bulver became one of the makers of the Twentieth Century.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, Bulverism
“Suppose I think, after doing my accounts, that I have a large balance at the bank. And suppose you want to find out whether this belief of mine is “wishful thinking.” You can never come to any conclusion by examining my psychological condition. Your only chance of finding out is to sit down and work through the sum yourself. When you have checked my figures, then, and then only, will you know whether I have that balance or not. If you find my arithmetic correct, then no amount of vapouring about my psychological condition can be anything but a waste of time. If you find my arithmetic wrong, then it may be relevant to explain psychologically how I came to be so bad at my arithmetic, and the doctrine of the concealed wish will become relevant—but only after you have yourself done the sum and discovered me to be wrong on purely arithmetical grounds. It is the same with all thinking and all systems of thought. If you try to find out which are tainted by speculating about the wishes of the thinkers, you are merely making a fool of yourself. You must first find out on purely logical grounds which of them do, in fact, break down as arguments. Afterwards, if you like, go on and discover the psychological causes of the error.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, Bulverism Top

Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis Quotes on Life

Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis Quotes about Life “Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis


“We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, On Living in an Atomic Age
“When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis
“Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, “On Three Ways of Writing for Children” (1952)
“Courtship is the time for sowing those seeds which will grow up ten years into domestic hatred.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis
“The cardinal difficulty,” said MacPhee, “in collaboration between the sexes is that women speak a language without nouns. If two men are doing a bit of work, one will say to the other, ‘Put this bowl inside the bigger bowl which you’ll find on the top shelf of the green cupboard.’ The female for this is, ‘Put that in the other one in there.’ And then if you ask them, ‘in where?’ they say, ‘in there, of course.’ There is consequently a phatic hiatus.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, The Great Divorce
“And I say also this. I do not think the forest would be so bright, nor the water so warm, nor love so sweet, if there were no danger in the lakes.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, Hyoi
“Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free-wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis
“All mortals tend to turn into the thing they are pretending to be.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis
“There is only one way fit for a man – Heroism, or Master-Morality, or Violence. All the other people in between are ploughing the sand.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, Pilgrim’s Regress
“The Guide sang: Nearly they stood who fall; Themselves as they look back See always in the track The one false step, where all Even yet, by lightest swerve Of foot not yet enslaved, By smallest tremor of the smallest nerve, Might have been saved. Nearly they fell who stand, And with cold after fear Look back to mark how near They grazed the Siren’s land, Wondering that subtle fate, By threads so spidery fine, The choice of ways so small, the event so great, Should thus entwine. Therefore oh, man, have fear Lest oldest fears be true, Lest thou too far pursue The road that seems so clear, And step, secure, a hair-breadth bourne, Which, being once crossed forever unawares, Denies return.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, Pilgrim’s Regress
“I wish I had never been born,” she said. “What are we born for?” “For infinite happiness,” said the Spirit. “You can step out into it at any moment…” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, The Great Divorce Top

Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis Quotes on Religion

Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis Quotes about Religion “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else…” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, Is Theology Poetry


“I call this Divine humility because it is a poor thing to strike our colours to God when the ship is going down under us; a poor thing to come to Him as a last resort, to offer up “our own” when it is no longer worth keeping. If God were proud He would hardly have us on such terms: but He is not proud, He stoops to conquer, He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him, and come to Him because there is “nothing better” now to be had.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, The Problem of Pain
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, God in the Dock
“In the long run the answer to all those who object to the doctrine of hell, is itself a question: What are you asking God to do? To wipe out their past sins and, at all costs, to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty and offering every miraculous help? But He has done so, on Calvary. To forgive them? They will not be forgiven. To leave them alone? Alas, I am afraid that is what He does.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, The Problem of Pain
‘The Spirit of the Age wishes to allow argument and not to allow argument. … If anyone argues with them they say that he is rationalizing his own desires, and therefore need not be answered. But if anyone listens to them they will then argue themselves to show that their own doctrines are true. … You must ask them whether any reasoning is valid or not. If they say no, then their own doctrines, being reached by reasoning, fall to the ground. If they say yes, then they will have to examine your arguments and refute them on their merits: for if some reasoning is valid, for all they know, your bit of reasoning may be one of the valid bits.’ – Clive Staples (C.S.), Pilgrim’s Regress
“What would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happened to like, “What does it matter so long as they are contented?” We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven — a senile benevolence who, as they say, “liked to see young people enjoying themselves” and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, “a good time was had by all”.” – Clive Staples (C.S.), Pilgrim’s Regress
“It is Christ Himself, not the Bible, who is the true Word of God. The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good teachers, will bring us to Him.” – Clive Staples (C.S.), Letters of C. S. Lewis (1966)
“There have been men before … who got so interested in proving the existence of God that they came to care nothing for God himself… as if the good Lord had nothing to do but to exist. There have been some who were so preoccupied with spreading Christianity that they never gave a thought to Christ.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, The Great Divorce
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” – Clive Staples (C.S.), Letters of C. S. Lewis (1966)
“Then those people are right who say that Heaven and Hell are only states of mind? “Hush,” he said sternly. “Do not blaspheme. Hell is a state of mind — ye never said a truer word. And every state of mind, left to itself, every shutting up of the creature within the dungeon of its own mind — is, in the end, Hell. But Heaven is not a state of mind. Heaven is reality itself. All that is fully real is Heavenly.” – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, The Great Divorce Top

Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis Quotes on Society


“And all the time — such is the tragi-comedy of our situation — we continue to clamor for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more “drive”, or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or “creativity”. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. 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.” – Clive Staples (C.S.), The Abolition of Man
“There is something which unites magic and applied science while separating both from the wisdom of earlier ages. For the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to reality, and the solution had been knowledge, self-discipline, and virtue. For magic and applied science alike the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of men.” – Clive Staples (C.S.), The Abolition of Man
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations — these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. – Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, On Living in an Atomic Age Top

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