You are on page 1of 11

Dr.

DaveyNaugle
AnIntroductiontoandThemesfromC.S.Lewis?s
TheAbolitionofMan
IntroductiontotheBook:
1.HistoricalBackgroundtoTheAbolitionofMan
ThebookoriginatedduringWWIIwhenLewiswasaskedbytheUniversityofDurhamtopresenttheRiddellMemorialLectureson
February2426,1943.Theywereactuallygiven,notinthecityofDurham,butfurthernorthinthevillageofNewcastleUponTyne
intheeveningofthesethreedays.ThelectureswerepublishedinabooklaterthatsameyearbyOxfordUniversityPress.
2.TheThemeofTheAbolitionofMan
Oneofthebestdefensesofthenaturallawtraditioninthe20thcentury.Naturallawisthenotionthatthereisaninnateornative
understandingofrightandwrongthatisthepossessionofeveryhumanbeing.St.Paulexplainstheideain
Romans2:1416.
Rom.2:14ForwhenGentileswhodonothavetheLawdoinstinctivelythethingsoftheLaw,these,nothavingtheLaw,arealaw
tothemselves,Rom.2:15inthattheyshowtheworkoftheLawwrittenintheirhearts,theirconsciencebearingwitness,andtheir
thoughtsalternatelyaccusingorelsedefendingthem,Rom.2:16onthedaywhen,accordingtomygospel,Godwilljudgethe
secretsofmenthroughChristJesus.
Lewissummarizesthenaturallawtradition,?writtenontheheart?inallitsJudeoChristian,GrecoRomanglory,andthushestands
inthetraditionofthegiantsofWesterncivilizationsuchasPlato,Aristotle,Augustine,andThomasAquinas.Healsodrawsupon
thewisdomoftheEast,includingConfuciusandthesagesofHinduism,andevenappropriatestheChinesetermTAOashissymbol
forthenaturallawtradition.
BecausehebelievedthattheWesternworldwasintheprocessofrejectingthisnaturallawtraditionofanobjectiverightandwrong,
andbecausehesawthisrejectionbeingtaughtintheschoolsystemsoftheday,andbecausehebelievedthatanysocietythat
acceptedsuchasystemofeducationthatrejectedthenaturallawtraditionwasdoomed
todestruction,hepennedthisdefenseofthenaturallawtraditionasanattempttosalvageWesternCivilization.
ForhimtheturningpointwastheEnlightenment,whentheWestwentthroughitsmostcatastrophicculturaltransition,passing
throughwhatLewishasreferredtoaptlyas?theunchristeningofEurope,?leadingtothelossofthe?OldEuropean?or?Old
WesternCulture,?andtotheadventofa?postChristian?age.
1

3.TheStructureofTheAbolitionofMan
Chapter1:MenWithoutChests
1
C.S.Lewis,?DeDescriptioneTemporum,?inSelectedLiteraryEssays,ed.Walter(Cambridge:AttheUniversityPress,1969),45,
12.
Debunksthemodernattempttodebunkobjectivevirtuesandthecultivationofappropriatesentimentstoobeythem.Thepurposeof
educationwastoinculcateobjectivevirtuesinpeoplebylinkingthemwiththeproperemotions.Reinforcingvirtuewithemotion
producedsentimentsorhabitsinpeople,supplyingthemwithcheststoprotectthemfromsavagery.However,bydebunkingall
objectivevirtuesandtheemotionsordinatetothem,educatorswereproducingmenwithoutchests,unabletoresisttheirbase
appetites.Thissituationmakescivilizationunsustainable,accordingtoLewis.?Wemakemenwithoutchestsandyetexpectofthem
virtueandenterprise.Wecastrate,andbidthegeldingbefruitful.?
TheGreenBook(ithadagreencover!)=TheControlofLanguage(1940)byAlexKingandMartinKelty(=GaiusandTitus).
Orbilius=TheReadingandWritingofEnglish(1936)byE.G.Biaggini.

Lewisadvocatestheexistenceofanobjectivemoralcodethattranscendstimeandculture.Anhoneststudyofdifferentcultures
showsindicatestheexistenceofauniversalmoralcodewhichLewisreferstoastheTAO.Intheappendixtothebook,hecites
supportfortheexistenceofthisTAO.
Chapter2:?TheWay?
Thosewhodenythevalidityofmoraljudgmentsareselfcontradictory,fortheycannotorescapemakingmoraljudgments
themselves.Theonlywaytoavoidthisisbydenyingobjectivemoraljudgmentsalltogetherandattempttocreateourownasanact
ofthewilltopower!SoNietzsche,butthecureisworsethanthedisease!
Chapter3:?TheAbolitionofMan?
Thepotentialfortyrannyinaworldwheretheelitesnolongerbelieveinobjectivetruth.Everythingisreducedtoastrugglefor
power.Thereisnoconstraintonwhatsocialandpoliticalandculturalelitesmightdotocontrolandreshapesociety.Thequestionis
notwhatisrightorwrong,butwhichgrouphasthemostpowertoimposeitswillonthewhole.Itisthewellspringoftyranny.
C.S.Lewis,TheAbolitionofMan
CentralThemesinChapterOne:

MenWithoutChests

Theme#1:Miseducation.TheproblemsofTheGreenBookandOrbiliusisthatschoolchildrendonotlearntheirlessonsin
literaturethatthesebooksareintendedtoteach(?Anotherlittleportionofthehumanheritagehasbeen
Quietlytakenfromthembeforetheywereoldenoughtounderstand,?25).Insteadtheyaretaughtlessonsinphilosophyinwhich
ethics,theology,andpoliticsareallatstake.Atthesametime,thechildrenhavetheirsoulscutout.Howso?
1.Byvirtueofinstructionin?emotivism,?ortheviewthatallsentencesexpressingvalues(?Thewaterfallissublime?)areaboutthe
emotionalstateofthespeaker,andnotaboutanythingobjectiveinthewaterfall(oranythingelseforthatmatter).
2.Thatallsuchstatementsareunimportant,thatallvaluesaresubjective,relative,andtrivial(?Allemotionsarousedbylocal
associationsarenthemselvescontrarytoreasonandcontemptible,?23).
3.Thesearenottheoriesputdirectlyintothechild?smind,butareassumptionswhichtenyearslater,theiroriginforgottenandtheir
presenceunconscious,willconditionhimtotakeonesideinacontroversywhichhehasneverrecognizedasacontroversyatall.
4.Theseteachershavecutoutthesouloftheschoolchild,longerbeforeheisoldenoughtochoosethepossibilityofhavingcertain
experienceswhichthinkersofmoreauthoritythanthey(GaiusandTitius)haveheldtobegenerous,fruitful,andhumane.
Theme#2:Uncultivatedsouls.WhileitishardtosayexactlywhatGaiusandTitiussoughtastheirpurpose,itmaybethatthey
intentionallysoughttoproducewhatLewiscalls?trouseredapes?and?urbanblockheads.?Thatis,peoplewhohavebeenshorn
cleanoftraditionalvaluesandnoblesentiments,givingthemanewsetofsentimentsandvaluesaltogether.
Theme#3:Rationale.LewisgivesthreereasonswhyhethinksthatGaiusandTitiusdowhattheydointheirbook.One,literary
criticismishard,andit?seasiertodowhattheydiddo,namelydebunktraditionalvaluesandordinateemotion.Two,theyfalsely
thinkyoungpeoplearegiventoemotionalexcess,andthusneedtobefortifiedagainstemotionbyreason.Three,theyrejectthe
doctrineofobjectivemoralvalue,butthisiscontrarytotheWesternand,indeed,worldwideembraceofsuchadoctrine,adoctrine
LewiscallsbytheChinesename,TAO.
Regardingthesecondoftheabovethreepoints,Lewismakestwopointsinresponse.
First,moststudentssufferfromalackofemotion(?coldvulgarity?),notanexcess.Two,thebestcureforfalseemotionsisto
inculcateproperones.Hence,?THETASKOFTHEMODERNEDUCATORISNOTTOCUTDOWNJUNGLES(offalse
emotionsandsentimentality),BUTTOIRRIGATEDESERTS(waterpropersentimentsandemotions).
Theme#4:Objectivemoralvalues.LewisoffersasurveyofrepresentativesfromWesternandworldsourceswhoadvocatethe
objective,universal,timelessprinciplesandtruths,orwhatLewiscallstheTAO(Chinesefor?theway?).Hisexamplesarethe
following:

Shelley?sAeolianHarp
Traherne?snotionofprizingthingsaccordingtotheirvalue
St.Augustine?sordoamoris
Aristotle?seducationaldictumthattheaimofeducationintomakethepupillovewhathe
ought.
Plato?seducatingfutureguardiansandphilosopherkingstohavetherightresponses
basedonmusicandpoeticeducation.
Hinduism?sRta
Chinese

Tao
Jewishlaw

?Itisthedoctrineofobjectivevalue,thebeliefthatcertainattitudesarereallytrue,andothersreallyfalse,tothekindofthingthe
universeis,andthekindofthingsweare.?31
?Andbecauseourapprovalsanddisapprovalsarethusrecognitionsofobjectivevalueorresponsestoobjectiveorder,therefore
emotionalstatescanbeinharmonywithreason,oroutofharmonywithreason....Noemotionis,initself,ajudgment;inthat
senseallemotionsandsentimentsarealogical.ButtheycanbereasonableorunreasonableastheyconformtoReasonorfailto
conform.Theheartnevertakestheplaceofthehead,butitcanandshouldobeyit.?31
Theme#5:EducationinsideoroutsidetheTao.AsLewispointsout,itmakesallthedifferenceintheworldifeducation
proceedsinsideoroutsidetheTao.Thedifferenceisbetween?initiation?intotheuniversalhumanheritageofobjectivevaluesor?
conditioning?toanew
,
subjectivesetofpracticalvaluesbywhichpeoplearemanipulatedpawns.
Forthosewithin,thetaskistotraininthestudenttheresponseswhichareright,regardlessofhowmanydon?tmakesuch
responses,andinlearningtomaketherightresponsestheirtruehumanityconsists.?Itisbutoldbirds(teachers)teachingyoung
birds(students)howtofly.?Itmeanstransmittinghumanity,humanhood,toyoungmenandwomen.
Forthoseoutside,allsentimentsandaffectionsarenonrational,andsotheymusteitherberemoved(cutdownthejungle),orthey
mustbegivennewsentimentswhichhavenothingtodowithtruth,objectivity,orjustness.Buthereteachingisaformof
manipulation,justasapoultrykeeperdealswithyoungbirdsforthemarket.

ExampleofaRomanfatherteachinghissonthatitisasweetandseemlythingtodieforhiscountry.Lewisevaluatesthisinside
andoutsidetheTao.
Theme#6:Trainedemotions.Withouttheaidoftrainedemotions,theintellectormindwhichknowswhattodoispowerless
againsttheanimalorganism.Whilethemindknowsrightandwrongalmostinstinctively,ifthereisnotacorrespondingdesirein
theheart,therightaffections,therightloveordispositiontoDOwhatisright,thennoamountofgoodreasoningwillleadtodoing
therightthing.
Itisbetter(thatis,lessrisky)toplaycardswitha?gentleman?whofeelstherearesomethingsthata?gentleman?simplydoesnot
do,thantoplaywithaphilosophertrainedbyGaiusandTitius!
Thehead(whichknowsrightandwrong)rulesthebelly(animalappetites)throughthechest(ordinateemotionsandjustaffections)!
Thatis,onlyasthechest,theseatofemotionsandsentiments,isrightlytrainedtorespondinaccordancewithobjectivemoral
values,willitbeabletocontrolthebaserappetitesofthebelly.
Theme#7:Menwithoutchests.Thechest,thatis,thehumanheart,isthe?

liaison
?officer
betweencerebral,thinkingmanandvisceral,sensateman.Onlyasthe?chest?or?heart?is
trainedinthepropersentiments,thatis,itsdesertisproperlyirrigated,willitbeabletocontrolthe
lowerdesires.Butmoderneducation,GaiusandTitiusandcompanyareproducing?menwithout
chests,?thatis,withouttheformationofthepropermiddleelementbywhichapersonisaperson,

amanamanorawomanawoman.Itisthedefectoffertileandgenerousemotion.Itiswhat
GaiusandTitiusthemselveslack.Theyarethemselvesmenwithoutchests.
Theme#8:Moralirony.Giventhemoralcollapseofourculture,weclamourforthequalitiesthat
wemakeitimpossibletoobtain.WecryoutinapostColumbinecultureforvalues,andyetwe
aredestroyingthefoundationsbywhichsuchvaluescouldbeestablished.
?Weremovetheorgananddemandthefunction.??Wecastrateandbidthegeldingsbe
fruitful.?
Summary:GaiusandTitiusdebunkordinateemotionsandpropersentimentsbasedon
objective

values
andtherebydestroyhumanity,andintheprocesssetthecultureonthe
roadtoethical,religious,andpoliticaldisasterwherethepoisonofsubjectivismreigns.
C.S.Lewis,TheAbolitionofMan
CentralThemesinChapterTwo:
TheWay

Theme#1:Subjectivedestructionofsociety.Aneducationinmoralsubjectivismwill
eventuallydestroythesocietywhichacceptsit.Lewisisclear,however,thatitspragmaticfailure
isnoproofofitsfalsehood.Indeed,truedoctrines,ifapplied,mayleadtoourdeath.Forexample:
?Takeupyourcross,andfollowMe!?Pragmatismisnotestfortruth.Inthislecture,Lewiswants
topointouttheTHEORETICALdifficultiesinthephilosophyofGaiusandTitius,thatis,whyitis
wrongrationally.
Theme#2:SeriouscontradictionsinGaiusandTitiusphilosophy.WhileGaiusandTitius
espousemoralsubjectivism,theysimultaneouslypromotecertainobjectivevalues.Whilethey
overtlypromoterelativism,theysubtlyembracetheirownversionofabsolutism.Theirphilosophy
is?selfdefeating?or?selfreferentiallyincoherent?asphilosopherssay.Whataretheexplicit
contradictions?
Theywritetoproducecertainstatesofmindinyoungpeople(conditioningthem)
becausetheythinkthatsuchstatesofmindwillbethemeanstoabettersocietythanthe
onewehavenow.
TheGreenBookhasaclear,specificendthatitisseekingtopromote,andendthathas
absolutevalueintheauthors?eyes.Eveniftheycalltheirendbyaeuphemismsuchas
?necessary,??progressive,?or?efficient,?theystillhaveacertain,indisputablegoalfor
theirwork.Theybelieveittobe?goodforitsownsake,?andinsomewaythinkit?validor
correct.?Theyholdtoacompletesystemofvalueswithan?uncriticaldogmatism,?
especiallyasystemofvaluesprominentbetweenWWIandWWII.Thereisno
subjectivismhere!
TheirskepticismisonlyatooltheyusetoattacktraditionalmoralityortheTao,thatisthe
beliefsofotherpeople.Theyarenotskepticalabouttheirownviewpoints!Theydebunk
otherpeoples?values,butcertainlynottheirown.
Theme#3:ThefailureofUTILITARIANISMasagroundsforthenewmorality(andtheis/oughtfallacy).Ifthetraditional,
absolutemoralityoftheTAO,whichLewisequateswithgenuineReason,isrejected,whatthencanserveasthebasisforanewset
ofvalues?Lewisusestheexampleofdulceetdecorm,aphrasefromtheOdesofHoracethatmeantthatitisasweetandbecoming
todieforone?scountry.HealsoinvokesJesus?sphrasefromJohnthatgreaterlovehasnomanthanthathelaydownhislifeforhis
friend.Ifthesevaluesarenotreal,true,absolute,objective,andrational,thenonwhatbasismighttheybepromoted?Whydiefor
yourcountryoryourfriendifitisnot,indeed,arightandgoodandtrulynoblethingtodo?Lewissaysthattwoplatformsare
possible,butneithersucceed:

Utilitarianism:doitbecauseitworks!Itsavessociety!Somemustdieforthebenefitofothers.Ithelps,itworks.Butjustbecause
thishelpsorworksisnobasisforMElayingdownMYlifeforcountryorfriend!Ifitisnotarightthingtodo,whyshouldIdoit
andnotsomeoneelse?Letotherssacrificeformeratherthanmeforothers!
Is/oughtfallacy:Ifthismartyrdomispracticed,anditisbysome,thenitwillworkanditwillpreservesociety.Thereforeitoughtto
bedone.ButLewissaysthatjustbecausesomethinghelpsorworksorisdoneisnorationaljustificationorbasisthatitoughttobe
done,mustbedone,hastobedone.Somethingtrulyabsolutelike?societyoughttobepreserved?asarationalfoundationforaction
isnecessarytomovepeopletosuchselfsacrifice,notjustthatitworksandhelps.
Hence,ifGaiusandTitiusproposallacksasolidfoundationinReason,thenwhatalternativefoundationislefttothemtoestablish
theirnewprogramofethics.Lewissaysitmustbethedoctrineofinstinct.
Theme#4:ThefailureofINSTINCTasagroundsforthenewmorality.Ifthenewmoralitycannotbegroundedinreason,forit
isthebasisoftheoldmorality,andifutilitarianismfailsasabasisaswell,thenwhatotheroptionremains?Lewisproposes
INSTINCTasthelastresort:
followinganunreflectiveorspontaneousimpulsewidelyfeltbymembersofaspecieasthebasisforvalues.ButLewisoffers
severalcritiquesofinstinctasabasisforvalues:
1.Ifinstinctisanatural,inescapableimpulsethatisnaturallyobeyed,whywritebooksliketheGreenBookexhortingustoobey
instinct?Whypraisethosewhohavesubmittedtothatwhichtheycannotavoid?
2.Toassertthatifpeopleobeyinstinct,theywillbehappyandsatisfied.Butinthecaseofdyingforcountryorfriendsas
instinctual,suchhappinessandsatisfactionisachievedonlywhenwearedead,andhenceisnosatisfactionorhappinessatall.
3.IfinstinctOUGHTtobeobeyed,why?Whatisthebasisforobeyinginstinct?Anotherinstinct?Whyobeythatinstinct?Thereis
nofinalfoundationforobeyinginstinct.
4.Someinstinctsoughttoberesisted,notobeyed.Infact,therearemanyinstincts,likepeople,tellinguswhattodo.Theyareat
war.Howdowechoosewhichonestoobeyandnotobey?Thereisaneedforacriterionorabasisfordeterminingwhichinstincts
toobeyandwhichnottoobey.Somethingoutsideinstinctisneededinordertodeterminewhichinstinctstoobeyandwhichto
suppress.
5.Finally,regardingthetestcaseofdyingforcountryorfriends,thereseemstobenosuchinstinctatall.Lewishasnosuch
impulse.Mostonlyhaveaninstinctorimpulsetosacrificeforone?sownchildrenorgrandchildren,notposterityandnotforfuture
generations.Youneedanotherlawoutsideofinstincttoencourageustosuchaction.
6.CONCLUSION:Neitherutilitarianismorinstinctisanadequatebasisforthenewmorality!ButitisfoundalreadyintheTAO
itself.
Theme#5:TheunavoidablesupremacyoftheTAOasthebasisforallmoralvalues.WhattheInnovatorislookingforasa
justificationforhis/hernewmoralityisalreadyfoundintheTAOitself.Itisthefoundational,axiomatic,selfevidentsetoffirst
principlesforallmorality,nottheoutcomeofmoralargumentsbutthebasisforallmoralarguments.Also:
AnyattackontheTaopresupposestheTao.Thereisnowaytoremoveoneselffromthe
Taoortoselectcertainthingsfromitandrejecttherest.Ifacceptparts,mustacceptwhole;ifrejectparts,mustrejectthewhole,but
thiscannotbedone!
TheTaothereforeisthebasisofallvaluesystems.Ifitisrejected,allvalueisrejected.Ifanyvalueisretained,itisretained.No
newvaluesystemcanbeerectedexceptonthebasisoftheTao.AllsucheffortswillmerelybefragmentsfromtheTaoitself.
RebellionagainsttheTaoisarebellionofthebranchesagainstthetreeoritstrunk(seeepigramatthebeginningofthischapter).
Therearenonewprimarycolors,oranewsunorskyinwhichitmaymove.
Theme#6:DevelopmentswithintheTao.CanhumanunderstandingoftheTaobeimproved?Orisitamoralcodesetinstone?
Canitbeobeyed?Aren?tthevariousarticulationsofitEastandWest,ChristianandnonChristiancontradictory?Lewisthinksthat
ourunderstandingoftheTaocanbeimproved,requiringcriticism,removalofcontradictions,andrealdevelopmentinperception.
Buttherearetwowaystogoaboutthis:fromwithoutandfromwithintheTao:

Itisparalleltothewayatheoreticianandpoettreatlanguage.Theformerasdetachedcritic,surgicallyifyouwill,andthelatterasa
genuinelover,inakindoforganicway.
TherearegenuineadvanceswithintheTaoillustratedinJesus?notionofthegoldenrule(apositiveformulation)overConfucius?(a
negativeformulation).Ontheotherhand,Nietzsche?sethicisaninnovation,thatis,anattemptatsomethingtotallynewwhere
traditionalmoralityisrejectedalongwiththefoundationforanyvaluewhatsoever.Agenuineadvanceislikeonewholovesfresh
vegetablesanddecidestogrowhisownratherthanpurchasethematthestore.Aninnovationwouldmeanrejectingvegetables
totallyandtryingtoeatbricksandcentipedes.
OnlythosesympathetictotheTao,wholoveitandseektoobeyit,canreallymakeanadvancewithinitaccordingtoitsgenuine
spiritanddirection(soConfucius,Aristotle,andtheBibleinJohn7:49;11:51).
?Anopenmind,inquestionsthatarenotultimate,isuseful.ButanopenmindaboutultimatefoundationseitherofTheoreticalorof
PracticalReasonisidiocy!?
LewisadmitsthatthematterofmakingadvanceswithintheTaoaredifficult,buttheonethingthatcannotbedoneistorejectitin
hopesofmakinganadvanceonit:?YoumustnotholdapistoltotheheadoftheTao?andexpecttohaveanybasisformorality!
Adisclaimer:LewisadmitsheisaChristiantheist,butalsoisnotattemptinganargumentfortheism,Christianorotherwisehere.
Rather,heisseekingtoshowthatifhumankindistohaveanyvaluesatall,thenwemustacceptthevalidityoftheTao.Whetheror
notitmusthaveatheologicalbasisisanothertopicforanotherday.
Theme#7:ConquestoftheTao.Butacriticmightsay:iftheTaoissimplyapartofnature,whynotconqueritlikewehaveall
otherpartsofnature?Sciencehasconqueredeverythingelse,andcanconquerthismostrecalcitrantaspectofnatureaswell!
Humankindcandowhatitpleaseswithnothingtopleaseexceptitself.Letusremakelifeandletusremakemanaccordingtoour
ownspecifications.Letusmastertheenvironmentandnowourselvesandchooseourownteleologyorpurpose.Butwhatwill
happenwhenwerejectvaluesalltogether?Whatwillourfuturebe?Seethenextlecture!
C.S.Lewis,TheAbolitionofMan
CentralThemesinChapterThree:
TheAbolitionofMan
Theme#1:Man?sconquestofnature.OrasafriendofCSLputit:?Manhasnaturewhacked?
(eventhoughironicallythemanwhosaidthiswasdyingoftuberculosis:mortalityhasnotbeen
whacked).Whileappreciatingtheaccomplishmentsofmodernscienceandwithoutdisparagingit,
CSLisstillveryconcernedtounderstandwhatthisagendatoconquernaturereallymeans.He
wantstorelateittotheoverallthemeofthebook:themorallaw,theTao.Hencehisgoalinthis
chapteristoclarifyEXACTLYwhatallisimplied,whatisthetruemoralsignificanceoftheidea
thatmanisthepossessorofincreasingpowerovernature.
Theme#2:Man?spowerovernatureisreallythepowerofsomepeopleoverothersusing
natureasaninstrumenttowieldthatpower.CSLoffersthreeexamplesofhowthe
developmentofscientifictechnologyinradios,airplanes,andcontraceptivedevicesisreallythe
powerofsomepeopleoverothers.Wearenotpowerfulourselvesjustbecauseweusethese
conveniences.Why?
First,youfirsthavetobeabletoPAYfortheuseofthesethings.Ifyoudon?thavethe
money,youdon?thavethepowerthesethingsprovide.
?AnyorallofthesethreethingsIhavementionedcanbewithheldbysomemen
overothermenbythosewhosell,orthosewhoallowthesale,orthosewho
ownedthesourcesofproduction,orthosewhomakethegoods.?66
Second,evenifyoucanpayforthem,thesethingsarereallymorepowerfulthanyou:ifI

payyoutocarryme,youhavepowerovermeastheonewhocarriesme!
Third,thesethreeformsoftechnologycanbeusedagainstyou:airplanesbomb,radios
propagandize,contraceptivesdenyexistenceorproduceselectivebreeding.Hence,
man?spowerovernatureisthepowerofsomeoverothersinthesethreeways.
Theme#3:Thetotalremakingofhumanitybysomehumanbeingsiswhatisreallymeant
bythephrase?Man?spoweroverNature.?CSLiscarefultoclarifythatwhatheistalkingabout
isnotjusttheabuseorcorruptionofscienceandtechnologyitscorrectionbytheapplicationof
themorallaw.Rather,bylookingaheadintimetofuturegenerations,itmeans?thepowerof
earliergenerationsoverlaterones.?ThinkingintermsofTIMEisthekey.CSLanticipates?one
dominantage,?anda?mastergeneration,?whichlikeallagesandgenerations,willmodifythe
powerofthepreviousageandgenerationandtheonetofollow.Heseemsespeciallyconcerned
aboutthatgenerationequippedwiththepowerofEUGENICSANDSCIENTIFICEDUCATION:
Inreality,ofcourse,ifanyoneagereallyattainsbyeugenicsandscientificeducation,the
powertomakeitsdescendantswhatitpleases,allmenwholiveafteritarethepatients
ofthatpower.Theyareweaker,notstronger:forthoughwemayhaveputwonderful
machinesintheirhandswehavepreordainedwhotheyaretousethem.Andif,asis
almostcertain,the[master]agewhichhadthusattainedmaximumpoweroverposterity
werealsotheagemostemancipatedfromtradition[Tao],itwouldbeengagedin
reducingthepowerofitspredecessorsalmostasdrasticallyasthatofitssuccessors
[thatis,ithaspoweroverthepastaswellasthepresent].68
ForCSL,thelaterorevenlastgenerationwillbetheleastpowerfulsinceitisthe
recipientoftheorderingforcesofthosewhohavegonebeforeit:they?willbeofallmen
mostsubjecttothedeadhandofthegreatplannersandconditionersandwillthemselves
exerciseleastpoweruponthefuture.?69
HereishowCSLsumsupthesituationinhispropheticbestofONEDOMINANTAGE
ANDONEMASTERGENERATION,onesetofSCIENTIFICPLANNERSthatwill
remakehumankind:
?Therealpictureisthatofonedominantage,letussupposethehundredthcenturyA.D.
whichresistsallpreviousagesmostsuccessfully[tossesouttheTao,etc.]and
dominatesallsubsequentagesmostirresistibly,andthusistherealmasterofthehuman
species.Butevenwithinthismastergeneration(itselfaninfinitesimalminorityofthe
species)thepowerwillbeexercisedbyaminoritysmallerstill.Man?sconquestover
Nature,ifthedreamsofsomescientificplannersarerealized,meanstheruleofafew
hundredsofmenoverbillionsuponbillionsofmen.Thereneitherisnorcanbeany
simpleincreaseofpoweronMan?sside.Eachnewpowerwonbymanisapowerover
manaswell.Eachadvanceleaveshimweakeraswellasstronger.Ineveryvictory,
besidestherebeingthegeneralwhotriumphs,heisalsotheprisonerwhofollowsthe
triumphalcar.?69
Theme#4:ThefinalstageinMan?sconquestofNature,thatis,ofMan?sremakingofMan
byEUGENICS,islikelynotfaroff.
ThefinalstageiscomewhenManbyeugenics,byprenatalconditioning,andbyan
educationandpropagandabasedonaperfectappliedpsychology,hasobtainedfull
controloverhimself.HumannaturewillbethelastpartofNaturetosurrendertoMan.
Thebattlewillthenbewon.Weshallhave?takenthethreadoflifeoutofthehandof
Clotho?ANDBEHENCEFORTHFREETOMAKEOURSPECIESWHATEVERWE
WISHITTOBE.Thebattlewill,indeed,bewon.Butwho,precisely,willhavewonit?...
ForthepowerofMantomakehimselfwhathepleasesmeans,aswehaveseen,the
powerofsomementomakeothermenwhattheyplease.70

Theme#5:Thetwofolduniquenessofthiscominggenerationofpower.Whilethispower
hasalwaysbeenexercisedbyonegenerationoveranotherinsomewayshapeorform,this
particularsituationofthecomingdominantage,mastergeneration,andsetofscientificplanners
willbeuniqueintwoways:
One,theywillbesupportedbythepowersofan

omnicompetent
stateandan
irresistiblescientifictechnique.Beingundergirdedbythisuniquepoliticalandscientific
power,thissetof?manmoulders?and?raceofconditioners?canmakefuturegenerations
intowhatevertheywant,thatis,?cutoutallposterityinwhatshapetheyplease.?71
Two,theywillhaverejectedtheTAOcompletelyandwillbetotallyfreetodoto
humankindwhatevertheywantphysiologicallyandmorally:theywillevenremakethe
TAOitselfintowhatevertheywant:
?Intheoldersystemsboththekindofmantheteacherswishedtoproduceand
theirmotivesforproducinghimwereprescribedbytheTao?anormtowhichthe
teachersthemselvesweresubjectandfromwhichtheyclaimednolibertyto
depart.Theydidnotcutmentosomepatterntheyhadchosen.Theyhandedon
whattheyhadreceived:theyinitiatedtheyoungneophyteintothemysteryof
humanitywhichoverarchedhim[student]andthem[teachers]alike.Itwasbut
oldbirdsteachingyoungbirdstofly.
?Thiswillbechanged.Valuesarenowmerenaturalphenomena.Judgementof
valuearetobeproducedinthepupilaspartoftheconditioning.WhateverTao
thereiswillbetheproduct,notthemotive,ofeducation.Theconditionershave
beenemancipatedfromallthat.ItisonemorepartofNaturewhichtheyhave
conquered.Theultimatespringsofhumanactionarenolonger,forthem,
somethinggiven.Theyhavesurrendered?likeelectricity:itisthefunctionofthe
Conditionerstocontrol,notobeythem[theultimatespringsofhumanaction].
Theyknowhowtoproduceconscienceanddecidewhatkindofconsciencethey
willproduce.Theythemselvesareoutside,above.Forweareassumingthelast
stageofMan?sstrugglewithNature.Thefinalvictoryhasbeenwon.Human
naturehasbeenconquered?and,ofcourse,hasconquered,inwhateversense
thosewordsmaynowbear.?7172.
Theme#6:Theinventionofanew,manmade,artificialTao.Iftheconditionershaverejected
allvaluesandthebasisofallvalues,wherewillthenewvaluescomefromandwhatwillbeitor
theirbasis?TheyhaveassumedtheGodlikeroleofcreatingthemotivesforhumanbehavior
andofmotivatingpeopletobehaveinacertainway.Butwhatisthebasisfortheirownmotivation
project?LewissuggeststhatforawhileatleastitwillprobablybetheremnantsoftherealTao
itselfthatwillbethebasisandmotivationforcreatinganewbasisandmotivationforbehavior:
theyhavea?duty?todothehumanrace?good.?Butthiscannotandwillnotlastforlongbecause
itisobjective?duty?andnotionsofthe?good?whichtheyhaveconqueredandrejected.
Willtheythendecideiftherestofusshouldbeconditionedtoembracedutyandtheold
reactionstoit?Andyetdutyitselfcannotdecidethatsincedutyisnolongerabsolute.Itis
itselfupfortrial(whybedutiful?)soitcannotbethebasisforthisjudgment.Goodisin
thesameboat.Theyknowhowtoproducegoodinus,butwhichconceptionofthegood.
Goodcannothelpthemdecidethatsinceitisupforgrabs.Adebarredjudgecannot
decidehisowncase!
Thebottomline:rejectingtheTaoleavesnofoundationuponwhichtodecideanewone.
Thisisnoshamdilemma,thatis,factitiouswhichmeanssomething?producedartificially
ratherthanbyanaturalprocess.?

Theme#7:Thelossofgenuinehumanityandthecultivationofapsuedohumanity.Itisnot
thattheseconditionersinLewis?sestimationarebadmen:THEYARENOTTRUEMENATALL!
?WhyshouldIsupposetheywillbesuchbadmen??ButIamnotsupposingthemtobe
badmen.Theyare,rather,notmen(intheoldsense)atall.Theyare,ifyoulike,men
whohavesacrificedtheirownshareintraditionalhumanityinordertodevotethemselves
tothetaskofdecidingwhat?Humanity?shallhenceforthmean.?Good?and?bad,?applied
tothem,arewordswithoutcontent:Foritisfromthemthatthecontentofthesewordsis
henceforthtobederived.73
Theychoosewhattheythinktherestofuswant(food,drink,sex,entertainment,art,
science,longlife).Butwhoistosaythattherestofuswantthesethings.Andevenifwe
did,whyshouldwedutifullymakethesethingsavailabletoourselvesandtoour
posterity?What?duty?compelsustosuchaction?Preservationofthespecies?Theycan
findnogroundtostandon,elsetheybegthequestionoftheTaoitself.
?Itisnotthattheyarebadmen.theyarenotmenatall.SteppingoutsidetheTao,they
havesteppedintothevoid.Noraretheirsubjects(theconditionedones)necessarily
unhappymen.Theyarenotmenatall:theyare

artifacts
.Man?sfinalconquesthas
provedtobethe
abolition
ofMan!74

Theme#8:Radicalsubjectivismasthebasisofmorality.Theonlymotivationleftformorality
istheconditioners?feltemotion?and?pleasure.?ButimpulsesstrippedoftheTaoforguidanceis
rarelybenevolentornoble.AndhistoryshowsthatfewifanyrulersstrippedoftheTaohasused
theirpowerbenevolently(WWIandWWIIisinthebackground).Chanceistheonlybasisofhope
foragoodsociety,thattheconditionerswillchoosebenevolenceasthebasisforit,butthereis
noguarantee.
?Mypointisthatthosewhostandoutsidealljudgmentsofvaluecannothaveanyground
forpreferringoneoftheirownimpulsestoanotherexcepttheemotionalstrengthofthat
impulse.?75
?Theirextremerationalism,by?seeingthrough?all?rational?motivesleavesthem
creaturesofwhollyirrationalbehavior.IfyouwillnotobeytheTao,orelsecommit
suicide,obediencetoimpulse(andtherefore,inthelongrun,tomerenature)istheonly
courseleftopen.?76
Sidebarconjecture:Theconditionerswillhatetheconditionedbecauseatleasttheyhave
thesemblanceofmeaningintheirliveswhereastheconditionershavenonejustlike
eunuchenvyrealmen.
Theme#9:Man?sconquestofNatureturnsouttobeNature?sconquestofman.Thatis,the
naturalimpulsesoftheconditionersturnouttocondition?man,?includingthemanhoodofthe
conditionersthemselves.Nature,untrammeledbyvalues,rulestheconditionersand,through
them,allhumanity.
TheconditionersappearedtobeontopofNature:
Conditioners
Nature
Butasitturnsout,Natureactuallyisontopoftheconditioners:
Nature
Conditioners
Andtheconditionersareontopoftheconditioned:
Nature
Conditioners
Conditioned
SoeverythingandeveryoneissubjecttotheunrestrainedimpulsesofNature.Sounds

suspiciouslylikeourownsocietytoday!
Theme#10:The?disenchantment?ofnature,includingman.Beforetherewasasensethat
therewassomethingmoretonaturethanjustnature.

?
Natureenchanted:quality,consciousness,auton
omy,values,finalcauses.
?
Naturedisenchanted:spatial,temporal,quantity,objects,bound,novalues,efficient
causes
.
Butmodernsciencehasreducedeverything,includinghumanbeings,tomerenaturebyits
analysisandquantification.Bodiesandtreesareexamples,buttheycanbecomejustabodyand
justatreestrippedoftheirgenuinequalities.Wereducethingstonaturetoconquerthem,butwe
becomeapartofthatnature,andthenironicallywegetconquered.Peoplebecomemere
objects,likeeverythingelse,formanipulation.Natureandmanbecomethesamething!
?Butassoonaswetakethefinalstepofreducingourownspeciestothelevelofmere
Nature,thewholeprocessisstultified,forthistimethebeingwhostoodtogain(man)
andthebeingwhohasbeensacrificed(nature)areoneandthesame.79
?ItisinMan?spowertotreathimselfasamere?naturalobject?andhisownjudgementsof
valuerawmaterialforscientificmanipulationtoalteratwill....Therealobjectionisthatif
manchoosestotreathimselfasrawmaterial,rawmaterialhewillbe:notrawmaterialto
bemanipulated,ashefondlyimagined,byhimself,butbymereappetite,thatis,mere
Nature,inthepersonofthedehumanizedConditioners.?80
Theme#11:Either/ordilemma:NaturalismorTaoism!?Eitherwearerationalspiritobligedfor
evertoobeytheabsolutevaluesoftheTao,orelsewearemerenaturetobekneadedandcut
intonewshapesforthepleasuresofmasterswhomust,byhypothesis,havenomotivebuttheir
own?natural?impulses.OnlytheTaoprovidesacommonhumanlawofactionwhichcan
overarchrulersandruledalike.Adogmaticbeliefinobjectivevalueisnecessarytotheveryidea
ofarulewhichisnottyrannyoranobediencewhichisnotslavery?8081.
Theme#12:ThisprocessappliesnotjusttoCommunistsandNazisbuttoallsocieties
thathaverejectedtheTao.Ithasjustgoneonfasterintheformersettingsthanindemocratic
ones,butitisandwillhappenindemocraticsocietiesaswell.81
Theme#13:Thisprocessoftheabolitionofmanshowsupintheeverydayuseof
language,especiallyinredefiningtermsandincommodification.
Killedbadmen=liquidateunsocialelements.
Virtue=integration
Diligence=dynamism
Boysworthyofacommission=potentialofficermaterial
Thriftandtemperanceandintelligence=salesresistance(commodification)8182.
Abortion=prochoice
Babyinwomb=fetus
Legaljustice=dreamteamoflawyers
Moralformation=selfhelp
Virtues=personalvalues
Sin=indiscretion
Sexualimmorality=hookingup.
Theme#14:Humanizationordehumanizationagain.
Humanization:?IntheTaoitself,aslongasweremainwithinit,wefindtheconcreterealityinwhichtoparticipateistobetruly
human:therealcommonwillandcommonreasonofhumanity,alive,andgrowinglikeatree,andbranchingout,asthesituation

varies,intoevernewbeautiesanddignitiesofapplication.WhilewespeakfromwithintheTaowecantrulyspeakofManhaving
poweroverhimselfinasensetrulyanalogoustoanindividual?sselfcontrol.
Dehumanization:?ButthemomentwestepoutsideandregardtheTaoasameresubjectiveproduct,thispossibilityhas
disappeared.Whatisnowcommontoallmenisamereabstractuniversal,anH.C.F.,andMan?sconquestofhimselfmeanssimply
theruleoftheConditionersovertheconditionedhumanmaterial,theworldofposthumanitywhich,someknowinglyandsome
unknowingly,nearlyallmeninallnationsareatpresentlabouringtoproduce.?82
Theme#15:Theprostitutionofscience.ForCSL,insteadofpursuingscienceinitspurestsenseforthesakeoftrueknowledge
andwisdom,itispursuedforthesakeofpowerovernatureasifitwereakindofmagic.
PeoplewillthinkofLewisasaLuddite(onewhoopposesscienceandtechnology).Notsohesays.Genuinenaturalphilosophers,
thatis,thosewhopursuescienceinaphilosophicalsenseinquestforgenuineknowledgeandwisdomasavalueinandofitself,
knowsthatCSLindefendingvaluesdefendsknowledgeatthesametime.Ifyoudestroyvalue,youdestroyknowledge
simultaneously.Infact,CSLthinksthattruesciencemightbethesourceoftherealcureforalltheproblemshehasraised(moreon
thislater).
Strangeasitmayseem,scienceismorelikemagicthanrealscience.Magicwaslessprominentinthemiddleagesandmore
prominentatthetimeofthebirthofmodernscience.
?Intheolddays,wisdom,notmagicorsciencewastheprimaryconcern:?Forthewisemenofoldthecardinalproblemhadbeento
conformthesoultoreality,andthesolutionhadbeenknowledge,selfdiscipline,andvirtue.Formagicandappliedsciencealikethe
problemishowtosubduerealitytothewishesofmen(realitytothesoul):thesolutionisatechnique;andboth(magicandscience)
inthepracticeofthistechnique,arereadytodothingshithertoregardedasdisgustingandimpious....?834
Faustus(whostruckadealwiththedevilforgold,girls,andguns=power)andBacon(thefounderofmodernsciencewhosaid
knowledgewasnotvaluableforitsownsakebutforpower)havemoreincommonthanwethink!Hence,Lewiscallsforanew
science!
Theme#16:Thecallforanewscience.ItisscienceinthecontextoftheTao,sciencethatpursuesgenuineknowledge,science
thatrespectsnature,sciencethatentersappreciativelyandrespectfullyintothethingknown,etc.
Theme#17:TheabsoluteindispensabilityoftheTaoorthelossofeverything.Youcan?texplaineverythingaway:ifyoudo,
youhavenogroundtostanduponandindoingsoyoudestroyitall.TheTaoisthefirstprinciple,andwithoutityouhavenothing.