Learning as a Necessary Weapon

C. S. Lewis, in The Weight of Glory  gives the answer to the question of simplicity in the face of a crafty enemy –

“If all the world were Christian, it might not matter if all the world were uneducated.  But, as it is, a cultural life will exist outside the Church whether it exists inside or not.  To be ignorant and simple now – not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground – would be to throw down our weapons, and to betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defence but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen.  Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered. The cool intellect must work not only against cool intellect on the other side, but against the muddy heathen mysticisms which deny intellect altogether.  Most of all, perhaps, we need intimate knowledge of the past.  Not that the past has any magic about it, but because we cannot study the future, and yet need something to set against the present, to remind us that the basic assumptions have been quite different in different periods and that much which seems certain to the uneducated is merely temporary fashion.  “

Author: Doctor Faustus

Logic and Rhetoric instructor at the Classical School of Wichita. Former Marine, member of the US Army Chorus, published video game developer, military simulation designer, and international opera singer. Bachelor of Science, humanities, The New School, New York NY.

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