More Meditations in a Toolshed
...it is perfectly easy to go on all your life giving explanations of religion, love, morality, honour, and the like, without having been inside any of them. And if you do that, you are simply playing with counters. You go on explaining a thing without knowing what it is. That is why a great deal of contemporary thought is, strictly speaking, thought about nothing--all the apparatus of thought busily working in a vacuum.
The other objection is this: let us go back to the toolshed. I might have discounted what I saw when looking along the beam (i.e. the leaves moving and the sun) on the ground that it was 'really only a strip of dusty light in a dark shed'. That is, I might have set up as 'true' my 'side vision ' of the beam. But then that side vision is itself an instance of the activity we call seeing. I could allow a scientist to tell me that what seemed to be a beam of light in a shed was 'really only an agitation of my own optic nerves'. And then, where are you?
In other words, you can step outside one experience only by stepping inside another. Therefore, if all inside experiences are misleading, we are always misled. Where is the rot to end?
The answer is that we must never allow the rot to begin. We must, on pain of idiocy, deny from the very outset the idea that looking at is, by its own nature 'intrinsically truer or better than' looking along. One must look both along and at everything.
~C.S. Lewis, "Meditation in a Toolshed", 1st published in The Coventry Evening Telegraph (17 July 1945)
Timely Link of the Day: Brain Scanners Can Probe Your Politics
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