Friday, July 15, 2005


But to surrender to a self-will inflamed and swollen with years of usurpation is a kind of death. We all remember this self-will as it was in childhood: the bitter, prolonged rage at every thwarting, the burst of passionate tears, the black, Satanic wish to kill or die rather than to give in. Hence the older type of nurse or parent was quite right in thinking that the first step in education is 'to break the child's will'. Their methods were often wrong: but not to see the necessity is, I think, to cut oneself off from all understanding of spiritual laws. And if, now that we are grown up, we do not howl and stamp quite so much, that is partly because our elders began the process of breaking or killing our self-will in the nursery, and partly because the same passions now take more subtle forms and have grown clever at avoiding death by various 'compensations'. Hence the necessity to die daily: however often we think we have broken the rebellious self we find it alive. That this process cannot be without pain is sufficiently witnessed by the very history of the word 'Mortification'.
~C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, Chapter 6: Human Pain, (1940)

1 Comment(s):

At Fri Jul 15, 04:55:00 PM EST, Blogger MrKimi said...

I struggle with this kind of thing. It relies on the notion of original sin, which Lewis seems very aware of, and I find difficult. I would rather presume people are good and sometimes be dissapointed than the reverse.

In my experience those who have positive encouraging childhoods grow up happy and fulfilled, the others often end up in prison.

Notwithstanding I am well aware of some my own failings, probably not all of them.


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