26 November 2008

C. S. Lewis: 'Hedonics'

Lewis' last paragraph in the essay "Hedonics" in the volume Present Concerns:

We have had enough, once and for all, of Hedonism - the gloomy philosophy which says that Pleasure is the only good. But we have hardly yet begun what may be called Hedonics, the science or philosophy of Pleasure. And I submit that the first step in Hedonics is to knock the Jailer down and keep the keys henceforward in our own possession. He has dominated our minds for thirty years or so, and specially in the field of literature and literary criticism. He is a sham realist. He accuses all myth and fantasy and romance of wishful thinking: the way to silence him is to be more realist than he - to lay our ears closer to the murmur of life as it actually flows through us at every moment and to discover there all that quivering and wonder and (in a sense) infinity which the literature that he calls realistic omits. For the story which gives us the experience most the experiences of living is not necessarily the story whose events are most like those in a biography or a newspaper.

--pp. 54-55


Eric said...

The great thing about this quote is that Lewis actually did this in his fiction - he's not just talking about it. Read Narnia, and you get that more realistic joy he's talking about.

Dane Ortlund said...