Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Abolition of Man C. S. Lewis

Reflections on education with special 

reference to the teaching of English in 

the upper forms of schools 

The Master said, He who sets to work on a different strand destroys the whole 

— Confucius, Analects II. 16 


Men Without Chests 

The Way 

The AboUtion of Man 

Appendix-Illustrations of the Tao 
Lewis's notes are placed at the bottom of each chapter document. 

Transcriber's notes (and explanations) follow Lewis's. 
Also of interest: Dale Nelson's Commentary on The Abolition of Man 

Chapter 1 


So he sent the word to slay 
And slew the little childer. 


I doubt whether we are sufficiently attentive to the importance of elementary text 
books. That is why I have chosen as the starting-point for these lectures a Uttle 
book on English intended for 'boys and girls in the upper forms of schools'. I do 
not think the authors of this book (there were two of them) intended any harm, 
and I owe them, or their publisher, good language for sending me a 
compUmentary copy. At the same time I shall have nothing good to say of them. 
Here is a pretty predicament. I do not want to pillory two modest practising 
schoolmasters who were doing the best they knew: but I cannot be silent about 
what I think the actual tendency of their work. I therefore propose to conceal their 
names. I shall refer to these gentlemen as Gains and Titius and to their book as 
The Green Book. But I promise you there is such a book and I have it on my 

In their second chapter Gains and Titius quote the well-known story of Coleridge 
at the waterfall. You remember that there were two tourists present: that one 
called it 'sublime' and the other 'pretty'; and that Coleridge mentally endorsed the 
first judgement and rejected the second with disgust. Gains and Titius comment 
as follows: 'When the man said This is sublime., he appeared to be making a remark 
about the waterfall... Actually ... he was not making a remark about the waterfall, 
but a remark about his own feeUngs. What he was saying was really / have feelings 
associated in my mind with the word " Sublime" i or shortly, I have sublime feelings' Yitrt 
are a good many deep questions settled in a pretty summary fashion. But the 
authors are not yet finished. They add: 'This confusion is continually present in 
language as we use it. We appear to be saying something very important about 
something: and actually we are only saying something about our own feelings.'' 

Before considering the issues really raised by this momentous little paragraph 
(designed, you will remember, for 'the upper forms of schools') we must eliminate 
one mere confusion into which Gains and Titius have fallen. Even on their own 
view — on any conceivable view — the man who says This is sublime cannot mean / 
have sublime feelings. Even if it were granted that such qualities as sublimity were 
simply and solely projected into things from our own emotions, yet the emotions 
which prompt the projection are the correlatives, and therefore almost the 
opposites, of the qualities projected. The feelings which make a man call an object 
subUme are not sublime feelings but feelings of veneration. If This is sublime is to 
be reduced at all to a statement about the speaker's feeUngs, the proper translation 
would be / have humble feelings. If the view held by Gaius and Titius were 
consistently applied it would lead to obvious absurdities. It would force them to 
maintain that You are contemptible means / have contemptible feelings ', in fact that 
Your feelings are contemptible means My feelings are contemptible. But we need not 

delay over this which is the very pons asinorum of our subject. It would be unjust to 
Gaius and Titius themselves to emphasize what was doubtless a mere 

The schoolboy who reads this passage in The Green Book will believe two 
propositions: firstly, that all sentences containing a predicate of value are 
statements about the emotional state of the speaker, and secondly, that all such 
statements are unimportant. It is true that Gaius and Titius have said neither of 
these things in so many words. They have treated only one particular predicate of 
value (sublime) as a word descriptive of the speaker's emotions. The pupils are left 
to do for themselves the work of extending the same treatment to all predicates of 
value: and no slightest obstacle to such extension is placed in their way. The 
authors may or may not desire the extension: they may never have given the 
question five minutes' serious thought in their lives. I am not concerned with what 
they desired but with the effect their book will certainly have on the schoolboy's 
mind. In the same way, they have not said that judgements of value are 
unimportant. Their words are that we 'appear to be saying something very 
important' when in reality we are 'only saying something about our own feeUngs'. 
No schoolboy will be able to resist the suggestion brought to bear upon him by 
that word only. I do not mean, of course, that he will make any conscious 
inference from what he reads to a general philosophical theory that all values are 
subjective and trivial. The very power of Gaius and Titius depends on the fact that 
they are dealing with a boy: a boy who thinks he is 'doing' his 'English prep' and 
has no notion that ethics, theology, and politics are all at stake. It is not a theory 
they put into his mind, but an assumption, which ten years hence, its origin 
forgotten and its presence unconscious, will condition him to take one side in a 
controversy which he has never recognized as a controversy at all. The authors 
themselves, I suspect, hardly know what they are doing to the boy, and he cannot 
know what is being done to him. 

Before considering the philosophical credentials of the position which Gaius and 
Titius have adopted about value, I should like to show its practical results on the 
educational procedure. In their fourth chapter they quote a silly advertisement of a 
pleasure cruise and proceed to inoculate their pupils against the sort of writing it 
exhibits. 2 The advertisement tells us that those who buy tickets for this cruise will 
go 'across the Western Ocean where Drake of Devon sailed', 'adventuring after the 
treasures of the Indies', and bringing home themselves also a 'treasure' of 'golden 
hours' and 'glowing colours'. It is a bad bit of writing, of course: a venal and 
bathetic exploitation of those emotions of awe and pleasure which men feel in 
visiting places that have striking associations with history or legend. If Gaius and 
Titius were to stick to their last and teach their readers (as they promised to do) 
the art of English composition, it was their business to put this advertisement side 
by side with passages from great writers in which the very emotion is well 
expressed, and then show where the difference lies. 

They might have used Johnson's famous passage from the Western Islands, which 
concludes: 'That man is little to be envied, whose patriotism would not gain force 
upon the plain of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow warmer among the 
ruins of lona.'^ They might have taken that place in The Prelude where Wordsworth 

describes how the antiquity of London first descended on his mind with 'Weight 
and power, Power growing under weight'.'' A lesson which had laid such literature 
beside the advertisement and really discriminated the good from the bad would 
have been a lesson worth teaching. There would have been some blood and sap in 
it — the trees of knowledge and of life growing together. It would also have had the 
merit of being a lesson in literature: a subject of which Gains and Titius, despite 
their professed purpose, are uncommonly shy. 

What they actually do is to point out that the luxurious motor-vessel won't really 
sail where Drake did, that the tourists will not have any adventures, that the 
treasures they bring home will be of a purely metaphorical nature, and that a trip 
to Margate might provide 'all the pleasure and rest' they required. ^ All this is very 
true: talents inferior to those of Gains and Titius would have sufficed to discover 
it. What they have not noticed, or not cared about, is that a very similar treatment 
could be apphed to much good literature which treats the same emotion. What, 
after all, can the history of early British Christianity, in pure reason, add to the 
motives for piety as they exist in the eighteenth century? Why should Mr 
Wordsworth's inn be more comfortable or the air of London more healthy because 
London has existed for a long time? Or, if there is indeed any obstacle which will 
prevent a critic from 'debunking' Johnson and Wordsworth (and Lamb, and Virgil, 
and Thomas Browne, and Mr de la Mare) as The Green Book debunks the 
advertisement, Gaius and Titius have given their schoolboy readers no faintest 
help to its discovery. 

From this passage the schoolboy will learn about Uterature precisely nothing. What 
he will learn quickly enough, and perhaps indelibly, is the belief that all emotions 
aroused by local association are in themselves contrary to reason and 
contemptible. He will have no notion that there are two ways of being immune to 
such an advertisement — that it falls equally flat on those who are above it and 
those who are below it, on the man of real sensibility and on the mere trousered 
ape who has never been able to conceive the Atlantic as anything more than so 
many million tons of cold salt water. There are two men to whom we offer in vain 
a false leading article on patriotism and honour: one is the coward, the other is the 
honourable and patriotic man. None of this is brought before the schoolboy's 
mind. On the contrary, he is encouraged to reject the lure of the 'Western Ocean' 
on the very dangerous ground that in so doing he will prove himself a knowing 
fellow who can't be bubbled out of his cash. Gaius and Titius, while teaching him 
nothing about letters, have cut out of his soul, long before he is old enough to 
choose, the possibility of having certain experiences which thinkers of more 
authority than they have held to be generous, fruitful, and humane. But it is not 
only Gaius and Titius. In another little book, whose author I will call OrbiUus, I 
find that the same operation, under the same general anaesthetic, is being carried 
out. Orbilius chooses for 'debunking' a silly bit of writing on horses, where these 
animals are praised as the 'willing servants' of the early colonists in Austraha.'^ And 
he falls into the same trap as Gaius and Titius. Of Ruksh and Sleipnir and the 
weeping horses of Achilles and the war-horse in the Book of Job — nay even of Brer 
Rabbit and of Peter Rabbit — of man's prehistoric piety to 'our brother the ox' — of 
all that this semi-anthropomorphic treatment of beasts has meant in human 
history and of the Uterature where it finds noble or piquant expression — he has not 

a word to say.^ Even of the problems of animal psychology as they exist for science 
he says nothing. He contents himself with explaining that horses are not, secundum 
litteram, interested in colonial expansion.*^ This piece of information is really all 
that his pupils get from him. Why the composition before them is bad, when 
others that lie open to the same charge are good, they do not hear. Much less do 
they learn of the two classes of men who are, respectively, above and below the 
danger of such writing — the man who really knows horses and really loves them, 
not with anthropomorphic illusions, but with ordinate love, and the irredeemable 
urban blockhead to whom a horse is merely an old-fashioned means of transport. 
Some pleasure in their own ponies and dogs they will have lost; some incentive to 
cruelty or neglect they will have received; some pleasure in their own knowingness 
will have entered their minds. That is their day's lesson in English, though of 
English they have learned nothing. Another Uttle portion of the human heritage 
has been quietly taken from them before they were old enough to understand. 

I have hitherto been assuming that such teachers as Gaius and Titius do not fully 
realize what they are doing and do not intend the far-reaching consequences it will 
actually have. There is, of course, another possibility. What I have called 
(presuming on their concurrence in a certain traditional system of values) the 
'trousered ape' and the 'urban blockhead' may be precisely the kind of man they 
really wish to produce. The differences between us may go all the way down. They 
may really hold that the ordinary human feeUngs about the past or animals or large 
waterfalls are contrary to reason and contemptible and ought to be eradicated. 
They may be intending to make a clean sweep of traditional values and start with a 
new set. That position will be discussed later. If it is the position which Gaius and 
Titius are holding, I must, for the moment, content myself with pointing out that 
it is a philosophical and not a literary position. In filling their book with it they 
have been unjust to the parent or headmaster who buys it and who has got the 
work of amateur philosophers where he expected the work of professional 
grammarians. A man would be annoyed if his son returned from the dentist with 
his teeth untouched and his head crammed with the dentist's obiter dicta on 
bimetallism or the Baconian theory. 

But I doubt whether Gaius and Titius have really planned, under cover of teaching 
English, to propagate their philosophy. I think they have slipped into it for the 
following reasons. In the first place, literary criticism is difficult, and what they 
actually do is very much easier. To explain why a bad treatment of some basic 
human emotion is bad Uterature is, if we exclude all question-begging attacks on 
the emotion itself, a very hard thing to do. Even Dr Richards, who first seriously 
tackled the problem of badness in literature, failed, I think, to do it. To 'debunk' 
the emotion, on the basis of a commonplace rationalism, is within almost anyone's 
capacity. In the second place, I think Gaius and Titius may have honestly 
misunderstood the pressing educational need of the moment. They see the world 
around them swayed by emotional propaganda — they have learned from tradition 
that youth is sentimental — and they conclude that the best thing they can do is to 
fortify the minds of young people against emotion. My own experience as a 
teacher tells an opposite tale. For every one pupil who needs to be guarded from a 
weak excess of sensibility there are three who need to be awakened from the 
slumber of cold vulgarity. The task of the modern educator is not to cut down 

jungles but to irrigate deserts. The right defence against false sentiments is to 
inculcate just sentiments. By starving the sensibility of our pupils we only make 
them easier prey to the propagandist when he comes. For famished nature will be 
avenged and a hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head. 

But there is a third, and a profounder, reason for the procedure which Gaius and 
Titius adopt. They may be perfectly ready to admit that a good education should 
build some sentiments while destroying others. They may endeavour to do so. But 
it is impossible that they should succeed. Do what they will, it is the 'debunking' 
side of their work, and this side alone, which will really tell. In order to grasp this 
necessity clearly I must digress for a moment to show that what may be called the 
educational predicament of Gaius and Titius is different from that of all their 

Until quite modern times all teachers and even all men believed the universe to be 
such that certain emotional reactions on our part could be either congruous or 
incongruous to it — believed, in fact, that objects did not merely receive, but could 
merit., our approval or disapproval, our reverence or our contempt. The reason why 
Coleridge agreed with the tourist who called the cataract sublime and disagreed 
with the one who called it pretty was of course that he believed inanimate nature 
to be such that certain responses could be more 'just' or 'ordinate' or 'appropriate' 
to it than others. And he beheved (correctly) that the tourists thought the same. 
The man who called the cataract sublime was not intending simply to describe his 
own emotions about it: he was also claiming that the object was one which merited 
those emotions. But for this claim there would be nothing to agree or disagree 
about. To disagree with This is pretty if those words simply described the lady's 
feelings, would be absurd: if she had said I feel sick Coleridge would hardly have 
replied No; I feel quite well. When Shelley, having compared the human sensibiUty 
to an Aeolian lyre, goes on to add that it differs from a lyre in having a power of 
'internal adjustment' whereby it can 'accommodate its chords to the motions of 
that which strikes them',^ he is assuming the same behef. 'Can you be righteous', 
asks Traherne, 'unless you be just in rendering to things their due esteem? All 
things were made to be yours and you were made to prize them according to their 

St Augustine defines virtue as ordo amoris, the ordinate condition of the affections 
in which every object is accorded that kind of degree of love which is appropriate 
to it." Aristotle says that the aim of education is to make the pupil like and dislike 
what he ought. '^ When the age for reflective thought comes, the pupil who has 
been thus trained in 'ordinate affections' or 'just sentiments' will easily find the first 
principles in Ethics; but to the corrupt man they will never be visible at all and he 
can make no progress in that science.'^ Plato before him had said the same. The 
little human animal will not at first have the right responses. It must be trained to 
feel pleasure, liking, disgust, and hatred at those things which really are pleasant, 
likeable, disgusting and hateful.'^ In the Republic, the well-nurtured youth is one 
'who would see most clearly whatever was amiss in ill-made works of man or ill- 
grown works of nature, and with a just distaste would blame and hate the ugly 
even from his earhest years and would give delighted praise to beauty, receiving it 
into his soul and being nourished by it, so that he becomes a man of gentle heart. 

All this before he is of an age to reason; so that when Reason at length comes to 
him, then, bred as he has been, he will hold out his hands in welcome and 
recognize her because of the affinity he bears to her.''^ in early Hinduism that 
conduct in men which can be called good consists in conformity to, or almost 
participation in, the Rta — that great ritual or pattern of nature and supernature 
which is revealed alike in the cosmic order, the moral virtues, and the ceremonial 
of the temple. Righteousness, correctness, order, the Rta, is constantly identified 
with satya or truth, correspondence to reality. As Plato said that the Good was 
'beyond existence' and Wordsworth that through virtue the stars were strong, so 
the Indian masters say that the gods themselves are born of the Rta and obey it.'* 

The Chinese also speak of a great thing (the greatest thing) called the Tao. It is the 
reality beyond all predicates, the abyss that was before the Creator Himself. It is 
Nature, it is the Way, the Road. It is the Way in which the universe goes on, the 
Way in which things everlastingly emerge, stilly and tranquilly, into space and 
time. It is also the Way which every man should tread in imitation of that cosmic 
and supercosmic progression, conforming all activities to that great exemplar.'^ 'In 
ritual', say the Analects, 'it is harmony with Nature that is prized.'"^ The ancient 
Jews likewise praise the Law as being 'true'.'' 

This conception in all its forms, Platonic, AristoteUan, Stoic, Christian, and 
Oriental alike, I shall henceforth refer to for brevity simply as 'the Tao'. Some of 
the accounts of it which I have quoted will seem, perhaps, to many of you merely 
quaint or even magical. But what is common to them all is something we cannot 
neglect. It is the doctrine of objective value, the behef that certain attitudes are 
really true, and others really false, to the kind of thing the universe is and the kind 
of things we are. Those who know the Tao can hold that to call children delightful 
or old men venerable is not simply to record a psychological fact about our own 
parental or fihal emotions at the moment, but to recognize a quality which 
demands a certain response from us whether we make it or not. I myself do not 
enjoy the society of small children: because I speak from within the Tao I 
recognize this as a defect in myself — just as a man may have to recognize that he is 
tone deaf or colour bUnd. And because our approvals and disapprovals are thus 
recognitions of objective value or responses to an objective order, therefore 
emotional states can be in harmony with reason (when we feel liking for what 
ought to be approved) or out of harmony with reason (when we perceive that 
liking is due but cannot feel it). No emotion is, in itself, a judgement; in that sense 
all emotions and sentiments are alogical. But they can be reasonable or 
unreasonable as they conform to Reason or fail to conform. The heart never takes 
the place of the head: but it can, and should, obey it. 

Over against this stands the world of The Green Book. In it the very possibility of a 
sentiment being reasonable — or even unreasonable — has been excluded from the 
outset. It can be reasonable or unreasonable only if it conforms or fails to conform 
to something else. To say that the cataract is sublime means saying that our 
emotion of humility is appropriate or ordinate to the reality, and thus to speak of 
something else besides the emotion; just as to say that a shoe fits is to speak not 
only of shoes but of feet. But this reference to something beyond the emotion is 
what Gaius and Titius exclude from every sentence containing a predicate of 

value. Such statements, for them, refer solely to the emotion. Now the emotion, 
thus considered by itself, cannot be either in agreement or disagreement with 
Reason. It is irrational not as a paralogism is irrational, but as a physical event is 
irrational: it does not rise even to the dignity of error. On this view, the world of 
facts, without one trace of value, and the world of feeUngs, without one trace of 
truth or falsehood, justice or injustice, confront one another, and no rapprochement 
is possible. 

Hence the educational problem is wholly different according as you stand within 
or without the Tao. For those within, the task is to train in the pupil those 
responses which are in themselves appropriate, whether anyone is making them or 
not, and in making which the very nature of man consists. Those without, if they 
are logical, must regard all sentiments as equally non-rational, as mere mists 
between us and the real objects. As a result, they must either decide to remove all 
sentiments, as far as possible, from the pupil's mind; or else to encourage some 
sentiments for reasons that have nothing to do with their intrinsic 'justness' or 
'ordinacy'. The latter course involves them in the questionable process of creating 
in others by 'suggestion' or incantation a mirage which their own reason has 
successfully dissipated. 

Perhaps this will become clearer if we take a concrete instance. When a Roman 
father told his son that it was a sweet and seemly thing to die for his country, he 
believed what he said. He was communicating to the son an emotion which he 
himself shared and which he beUeved to be in accord with the value which his 
judgement discerned in noble death. He was giving the boy the best he had, giving 
of his spirit to humanize him as he had given of his body to beget him. But Gaius 
and Titius cannot believe that in calling such a death sweet and seemly they would 
be saying 'something important about something'. Their own method of 
debunking would cry out against them if they attempted to do so. For death is not 
something to eat and therefore cannot be duke in the literal sense, and it is unlikely 
that the real sensations preceding it will be dulce even by analogy. And as for 
decorum — that is only a word describing how some other people will feel about 
your death when they happen to think of it, which won't be often, and will 
certainly do you no good. There are only two courses open to Gaius and Titius. 
Either they must go the whole way and debunk this sentiment like any other, or 
must set themselves to work to produce, from outside, a sentiment which they 
believe to be of no value to the pupil and which may cost him his life, because it is 
useful to us (the survivors) that our young men should feel it. If they embark on 
this course the difference between the old and the new education will be an 
important one. Where the old initiated, the new merely 'conditions'. The old dealt 
with its pupils as grown birds deal with young birds when they teach them to fly; 
the new deals with them more as the poultry-keeper deals with young birds — 
making them thus or thus for purposes of which the birds know nothing. In a 
word, the old was a kind of propagation — men transmitting manhood to men; the 
new is merely propaganda. 

It is to their credit that Gaius and Titius embrace the first alternative. Propaganda 
is their abomination: not because their own philosophy gives a ground for 
condemning it (or anything else) but because they are better than their principles. 

They probably have some vague notion (I will examine it in my next lecture) that 
valour and good faith and justice could be sufficiently commended to the pupil on 
what they would call 'rational' or 'biological' or 'modern' grounds, if it should ever 
become necessary. In the meantime, they leave the matter alone and get on with 
the business of debunking. But this course, though less inhuman, is not less 
disastrous than the opposite alternative of cynical propaganda. Let us suppose for 
a moment that the harder virtues could really be theoretically justified with no 
appeal to objective value. It still remains true that no justification of virtue will 
enable a man to be virtuous. Without the aid of trained emotions the intellect is 
powerless against the animal organism. I had sooner play cards against a man who 
was quite sceptical about ethics, but bred to believe that 'a gentleman does not 
cheat', than against an irreproachable moral philosopher who had been brought up 
among sharpers. In battle it is not syllogisms that will keep the reluctant nerves 
and muscles to their post in the third hour of the bombardment. The crudest 
sentimentalism (such as Gaius and Titius would wince at) about a flag or a 
country or a regiment will be of more use. We were told it all long ago by Plato. As 
the king governs by his executive, so Reason in man must rule the mere appetites 
by means of the 'spirited element'. ^o The head rules the belly through the chest — 
the seat, as Alanus tells us, of Magnanimity,^! of emotions organized by trained 
habit into stable sentiments. The Chest-Magnanimity-Sentiment — these are the 
indispensable liaison officers between cerebral man and visceral man. It may even 
be said that it is by this middle element that man is man: for by his intellect he is 
mere spirit and by his appetite mere animal. 

The operation of The Green Book and its kind is to produce what may be called 
Men without Chests. It is an outrage that they should be commonly spoken of as 
Intellectuals. This gives them the chance to say that he who attacks them attacks 
Intelligence. It is not so. They are not distinguished from other men by any 
unusual skill in finding truth nor any virginal ardour to pursue her. Indeed it 
would be strange if they were: a persevering devotion to truth, a nice sense of 
intellectual honour, cannot be long maintained without the aid of a sentiment 
which Gaius and Titius could debunk as easily as any other. It is not excess of 
thought but defect of fertile and generous emotion that marks them out. Their 
heads are no bigger than the ordinary: it is the atrophy of the chest beneath that 
makes them seem so. 

And all the time — such is the tragi-comedy of our situation — we continue to 
clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open 
a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs 
is more 'drive', or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or 'creativity'. In a sort of ghastly 
simpUcity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without 
chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are 
shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful. 


1 The Green Book, pp. 19, 20. 

2 Ibid., p 53. 

3 Journey to the Western Islands (Samuel Johnson). 

4 The Prelude, viii, 11. 549-59. 

5 The Green Book, pp. 53-5. 

6 Orbilius' book, p 5. 

7 Orbilius is so far superior to Gaius and Titius that he does (pp. 19-22) contrast a piece of 
good writing to animals with the piece condemned. Unfortunately, however, the only 
superiority he really demonstrates in the second extract is its superiority in factual truth. The 
specifically literary problem (the use and abuse of expressions which are false secundum 
litteram) is not tackled. Orbilius indeed tells us (p. 97) that we must 'learn to distinguish 
between legitimate and illegitimate figurative statement', but he gives us very little help in 
doing so. At the same time it is fair to record my opinion that his work is on quite a different 
level from The Green Book. 

8 Ibid., p 9. 

9 Defence of Poetry. 

10 Centuries of Meditations, i, 12. 

1 1 De Civ. Dei, xv. 22. Cf. ibid. ix. 5, xi. 28. 
\2Eth. Nic. 1104b. 

13 Ibid. 1095 b. 

14 Laws, 653. 

15 Republic, 402 a. 

16 A. B. Keith, s.v. 'Righteousness (Hindu)' Enc. Religion and Ethics, vol. x. 

17 Ibid., vol. ii, p. 454 h; iv. 12 b; ix. 87 a. 

18 The Analects of Confucius, trans. Arthur Waley, London, 1938, i. 12 

19 Psalm 119:151. The word is erneth, 'truth'. Where the Satya of the Indian sources 
emphasizes truth as 'correspondence', erneth (connected with a verb that means 'to be firm') 
emphasizes rather the reliability or trustworthiness of truth. Faithfulness and permanence are 
suggested by Hebraists as alternative renderings. Erneth is that which does not deceive, does 
not 'give', does not change, that which holds water. (See T. K. Cheyne in Encyclopedia Biblica, 
1914, s.v. 'Truth'.) 

20 Republic, 442 b, c. 

21 Alanus ab Insulis. De Planctu Naturae Prosa, iii. 

Transcriber's Notes 

Bimetallism - use of two precious metals (e.g. gold and silver) as the standard of 

Baconian theory - theory that holds Francis Bacon to have written the plays 
attributed to Shakespeare 

Elemetary text-books - (1940's British) equivalent to high school-level books 

Dulce (sweet) Decorum (seemly or honorable) from the Roman saying duke et 
decorum estpropatria mori "It is sweet and seemly to die for one's country." 

Margate - resort area on the southeastern coast of England 

Marathon... lona Marathon is a plain in southeast Greece, where the Athenians 
defeated Persian invaders in 490 B.C. and saved Western civilization. lona is a 
remote island west of Scotland, where despite many hazards monks preserved the 
Christian faith and much of Western learning. Samuel Johnson meant that seeing 
these famous sites, scenes of the greatest human dedication, should inspire a good 
person to greater love of his own country and religious faith. 

Pons asinorum - bridge of asses, a basic geometric theorem 

Obiter dicta - incidental judgements or opinions 

Ordo amoris - order of love 

Ruksh, Sleipnir, etc. - majestic or lovable animals of literature 

Secundum literam - literally true 

Stick to their last - stick to their proper job, from the expression "Shoemaker, 
stick to your last" (the last is a model of the human foot, made of wood or metal) 

Upper forms of schools (1940's British) equivalent to American upper grades 

Chapter 2 


It is upon the Trunk that a gentleman works. 

— Analects of Confucius, 1.2 

The practical result of education in the spirit of The Green Book must be the 
destruction of the society which accepts it. But this is not necessarily a refutation 
of subjectivism about values as a theory. The true doctrine might be a doctrine 
which if we accept we die. No one who speaks from within the Tao could reject it 
on that account: '£v 5s cpasi kqi '5A£aaou. But it has not yet come to that. There 
are theoretical difficulties in the philosophy of Gains and Titius. 

However subjective they may be about some traditional values, Gains and Titius 
have shown by the very act of writing The Green Book that there must be some 
other values about which they are not subjective at all. They write in order to 
produce certain states of mind in the rising generation, if not because they think 
those states of mind intrinsically just or good, yet certainly because they think 
them to be the means to some state of society which they regard as desirable. It 
would not be difficult to collect from various passages in The Green Book what 
their ideal is. But we need not. The important point is not the precise nature of 
their end, but the fact that they have an end at all. They must have, or their book 
(being purely practical in intention) is written to no purpose. And this end must 
have real value in their eyes. To abstain from caUing it good and to use, instead, 
such predicates as 'necessary' or 'progressive' or 'efficient' would be a subterfuge. 
They could be forced by argument to answer the questions 'necessary for what?', 
'progressing towards what?', 'effecting what?'; in the last resort they would have to 
admit that some state of affairs was in their opinion good for its own sake. And this 
time they could not maintain that 'good' simply described their own emotion about 
it. For the whole purpose of their book is so to condition theyoung reader that he 
will share their approval, and this would be either a fool's or a villain's undertaking 
unless they held that their approval was in some way vahd or correct. 

In actual fact Gains and Titius will be found to hold, with complete uncritical 
dogmatism, the whole system of values which happened to be in vogue among 
moderately educated young men of the professional classes during the period 
between the two wars.' Their scepticism about values is on the surface: it is for use 
on other people's values; about the values current in their own set they are not 
nearly sceptical enough. And this phenomenon is very usual. A great many of 
those who 'debunk' traditional or (as they would say) 'sentimental' values have in 
the background values of their own which they beUeve to be immune from the 
debunking process. They claim to be cutting away the parasitic growth of emotion, 
religious sanction, and inherited taboos, in order that 'real' or 'basic' values may 
emerge. I will now try to find out what happens if this is seriously attempted. 

Let us continue to use the previous example — that of death for a good cause — not, 

of course, because virtue is the only value or martyrdom the only virtue, but 
because this is the experimentum crucis which shows different systems of thought in 
the clearest light. Let us suppose that an Innovator in values regards duke et 
decorum and greater love hath no man as mere irrational sentiments which are to be 
stripped off in order that we may get down to the 'reaUstic' or 'basic' ground of this 
value. Where will he find such a ground? 

First of all, he might say that the real value lay in the utiUty of such sacrifice to the 
community. 'Good', he might say, 'means what is useful to the community.' But of 
course the death of the community is not useful to the community — only the death 
of some of its members. What is really meant is that the death of some men is 
useful to other men. That is very true. But on what ground are some men being 
asked to die for the benefit of others? Every appeal to pride, honour, shame, or 
love is excluded by hypothesis. To use these would be to return to sentiment and 
the Innovator's task is, having cut all that away, to explain to men, in terms of pure 
reasoning, why they will be well advised to die that others may live. He may say 
'Unless some of us risk death all of us are certain to die.' But that will be true only 
in a Umited number of cases; and even when it is true it provokes the very 
reasonable counter question 'Why should I be one of those who take the risk?' 

At this point the Innovator may ask why, after all, selfishness should be more 
'rational' or 'intelligent' than altruism. The question is welcome. If by Reason we 
mean the process actually employed by Gaius and Titius when engaged in 
debunking (that is, the connecting by inference of propositions, ultimately derived 
from sense data, with further propositions), then the answer must be that a refusal 
to sacrifice oneself is no more rational than a consent to do so. And no less 
rational. Neither choice is rational — or irrational — at all. From propositions about 
fact alone no practical conclusion can ever be drawn. This will preserve society 
cannot lead to do this except by the mediation of society ought to be preserved. This 
will cost you your life cannot lead directly to do not do this: it can lead to it only 
through a felt desire or an acknowledged duty of self-preservation. The Innovator 
is trying to get a conclusion in the imperative mood out of premisses in the 
indicative mood: and though he continues trying to all eternity he cannot succeed, 
for the thing is impossible. We must therefore either extend the word Reason to 
include what our ancestors called Practical Reason and confess that judgements 
such as society ought to be preserved (though they can support themselves by no 
reason of the sort that Gaius and Titius demand) are not mere sentiments but are 
rationality itself; or else we must give up at once, and for ever, the attempt to find 
a core of 'rational' value behind all the sentiments we have debunked. The 
Innovator will not take the first alternative, for practical principles known to all 
men by Reason are simply the Tao which he has set out to supersede. He is more 
likely to give up the quest for a 'rational' core and to hunt for some other ground 
even more 'basic' and 'realistic'. 

This he will probably feel that he has found in Instinct. The preservation of 
society, and of the species itself, are ends that do not hang on the precarious 
thread of Reason: they are given by Instinct. That is why there is no need to argue 
against the man who does not acknowledge them. We have an instinctive urge to 
preserve our own species. That is why men ought to work for posterity. We have 

no instinctive urge to keep promises or to respect individual life: that is why 
scruples of justice and humanity — in fact the Tao — can be properly swept away 
when they conflict with our real end, the preservation of the species. That, again, 
is why the modern situation permits and demands a new sexual morahty: the old 
taboos served some real purpose in helping to preserve the species, but 
contraceptives have modified this and we can now abandon many of the taboos. 
For of course sexual desire, being instinctive, is to be gratified whenever it does 
not conflict with the preservation of the species. It looks, in fact, as if an ethics 
based on instinct will give the Innovator all he wants and nothing that he does not 

In reality we have not advanced one step. I will not insist on the point that Instinct 
is a name for we know not what (to say that migratory birds find their way by 
instinct is only to say that we do not know how migratory birds find their way), for 
I think it is here being used in a fairly definite sense, to mean an unreflective or 
spontaneous impulse widely felt by the members of a given species. In what way 
does Instinct, thus conceived, help us to find 'real' values? Is it maintained that we 
must obey Instinct, that we cannot do otherwise? But if so, why are Green Books 
and the like written? Why this stream of exhortation to drive us where we cannot 
help going? Why such praise for those who have submitted to the inevitable? Or is 
it maintained that if we do obey Instinct we shall be happy and satisfied? But the 
very question we are considering was that of facing death which (so far as the 
Innovator knows) cuts off every possible satisfaction: and if we have an instinctive 
desire for the good of posterity then this desire, by the very nature of the case, can 
never be satisfied, since its aim is achieved, if at all, when we are dead. It looks 
very much as if the Innovator would have to say not that we must obey Instinct, 
nor that it will satisfy us to do so, but that we ought to obey it.^ 

But why ought we to obey Instinct? Is there another instinct of a higher order 
directing us to do so, and a third of a still higher order directing us to obey it} — an 
infinite regress of instincts? This is presumably impossible, but nothing else will 
serve. From the statement about psychological fact 'I have an impulse to do so and 
so' we cannot by any ingenuity derive the practical principle 'I ought to obey this 
impulse'. Even if it were true that men had a spontaneous, unreflective impulse to 
sacrifice their own lives for the preservation of their fellows, it remains a quite 
separate question whether this is an impulse they should control or one they 
should indulge. For even the Innovator admits that many impulses (those which 
conflict with the preservation of the species) have to be controlled. And this 
admission surely introduces us to a yet more fundamental difficulty. 

Telling us to obey Instinct is like telling us to obey 'people'. People say different 
things: so do instincts. Our instincts are at war. If it is held that the instinct for 
preserving the species should always be obeyed at the expense of other instincts, 
whence do we derive this rule of precedence? To listen to that instinct speaking in 
its own cause and deciding it in its own favour would be rather simple-minded. 
Each instinct, if you listen to it, will claim to be gratified at the expense of all the 
rest. By the very act of listening to one rather than to others we have already 
prejudged the case. If we did not bring to the examination of our instincts a 
knowledge of their comparative dignity we could never learn it from them. And 

that knowledge cannot itself be instinctive: the judge cannot be one of the parties 
judged; or, if he is, the decision is worthless and there is no ground for placing the 
preservation of the species above self-preservation or sexual appetite. 

The idea that, without appealing to any court higher than the instincts themselves, 
we can yet find grounds for preferring one instinct above its fellows dies very hard. 
We grasp at useless words: we call it the 'basic', or 'fundamental', or 'primal', or 
'deepest' instinct. It is of no avail. Either these words conceal a value judgement 
passed upon the instinct and therefore not derivable from it, or else they merely 
record its felt intensity, the frequency of its operation and its wide distribution. If 
the former, the whole attempt to base value upon instinct has been abandoned: if 
the latter, these observations about the quantitative aspects of a psychological 
event lead to no practical conclusion. It is the old dilemma. Either the premisses 
already concealed an imperative or the conclusion remains merely in the 
indicative. 3 

Finally, it is worth inquiry whether there is any instinct to care for posterity or 
preserve the species. I do not discover it in myself: and yet I am a man rather 
prone to think of remote futurity — a man who can read Mr Olaf Stapledon with 
delight. Much less do I find it easy to beheve that the majority of people who have 
sat opposite me in buses or stood with me in queues feel an unreflective impulse to 
do anything at all about the species, or posterity. Only people educated in a 
particular way have ever had the idea 'posterity' before their minds at all. It is 
difficult to assign to instinct our attitude towards an object which exists only for 
reflective men. What we have by nature is an impulse to preserve our own children 
and grandchildren; an impulse which grows progressively feebler as the 
imagination looks forward and finally dies out in the 'deserts of vast futurity'. No 
parents who were guided by this instinct would dream for a moment of setting up 
the claims of their hypothetical descendants against those of the baby actually 
crowing and kicking in the room. Those of us who accept the Tao may, perhaps, 
say that they ought to do so: but that is not open to those who treat instinct as the 
source of value. As we pass from mother love to rational planning for the future we 
are passing away from the realm of instinct into that of choice and reflection: and 
if instinct is the source of value, planning for the future ought to be less 
respectable and less obligatory than the baby language and cuddling of the fondest 
mother or the most fatuous nursery anecdotes of a doting father. If we are to base 
ourselves upon instinct, these things are the substance, and care for posterity the 
shadow — the huge, flickering shadow of the nursery happiness cast upon the 
screen of the unknown future. I do not say this projection is a bad thing: but then I 
do not believe that instinct is the ground of value judgements. What is absurd is to 
claim that your care for posterity finds its justification in instinct and then flout at 
every turn the only instinct on which it could be supposed to rest, tearing the child 
almost from the breast to creche and kindergarten in the interests of progress and 
the coming race. 

The truth finally becomes apparent that neither in any operation with factual 
propositions nor in any appeal to instinct can the Innovator find the basis for a 
system of values. None of the principles he requires are to be found there: but they 
are all to be found somewhere else. 'AH within the four seas are his brothers' (xii. 

5) says Confucius of the Chiin-tzu, the cuor gentil or gentleman. Humani nihil a me 
alienum puto says the Stoic. 'Do as you would be done by,' says Jesus. 'Humanity is 
to be preserved,' says Locke." All the practical principles behind the Innovator's 
case for posterity, or society, or the species, are there from time immemorial in the 
Tao. But they are nowhere else. Unless you accept these without question as being 
to the world of action what axioms are to the world of theory, you can have no 
practical principles whatever. You cannot reach them as conclusions: they are 
premisses. You may, since they can give no 'reason' for themselves of a kind to 
silence Gaius and Titius, regard them as sentiments: but then you must give up 
contrasting 'real' or 'rational' value with sentimental value. All value will be 
sentimental^ and you must confess (on pain of abandoning every value) that all 
sentiment is not 'merely' subjective. You may, on the other hand, regard them as 
rational — nay as rationality itself — as things so obviously reasonable that they 
neither demand nor admit proof. But then you must allow that Reason can be 
practical, that an ought must not be dismissed because it cannot produce some is 
as its credential. If nothing is self-evident, nothing can be proved. Similarly if 
nothing is obligatory for its own sake, nothing is obligatory at all. 

To some it will appear that I have merely restored under another name what they 
always meant by basic or fundamental instinct. But much more than a choice of 
words is involved. The Innovator attacks traditional values (the Tao) in defence of 
what he at first supposes to be (in some special sense) 'rational' or 'biological' 
values. But as we have seen, all the values which he uses in attacking the Tao, and 
even claims to be substituting for it, are themselves derived from the Tao. If he 
had really started from scratch, from right outside the human tradition of value, no 
jugglery could have advanced him an inch towards the conception that a man 
should die for the community or work for posterity. If the Tao falls, all his own 
conceptions of value fall with it. Not one of them can claim any authority other 
than that of the Tao. Only by such shreds of the Tao as he has inherited is he 
enabled even to attack it. The question therefore arises what title he has to select 
bits of it for acceptance and to reject others. For if the bits he rejects have no 
authority, neither have those he retains: if what he retains is vahd, what he rejects 
is equally valid too. 

The Innovator, for example, rates high the claims of posterity. He cannot get any 
vaUd claim for posterity out of instinct or (in the modern sense) reason. He is 
really deriving our duty to posterity from the Tao; our duty to do good to all men 
is an axiom of Practical Reason, and our duty to do good to our descendants is a 
clear deduction from it. But then, in every form of the Tao which has come down 
to us, side by side with the duty to children and descendants lies the duty to 
parents and ancestors. By what right do we reject one and accept the other? Again, 
the Innovator may place economic value first. To get people fed and clothed is the 
great end, and in pursuit of its scruples about justice and good faith may be set 
aside. The Tao of course agrees with him about the importance of getting the 
people fed and clothed. Unless the Innovator were himself using the Tao he could 
never have learned of such a duty. But side by side with it in the Tao lie those 
duties of justice and good faith which he is ready to debunk. What is his warrant? 
He may be a Jingoist, a RaciaUst, an extreme nationalist, who maintains that the 
advancement of his own people is the object to which all else ought to yield. But 

no kind of factual observation and no appeal to instinct will give him a ground for 
this option. Once more, he is in fact deriving it from the Tao: a duty to our own 
kin, because they are our own kin, is a part of traditional morality. But side by side 
with it in the Tao, and limiting it, lie the inflexible demands of justice, and the rule 
that, in the long run, all men are our brothers. Whence comes the Innovator's 
authority to pick and choose? 

Since I can see no answer to these questions, I draw the following conclusions. 
This thing which I have called for convenience the Tao, and which others may call 
Natural Law or Traditional Morality or the First Principles of Practical Reason or 
the First Platitudes, is not one among a series of possible systems of value. It is the 
sole source of all value judgements. If it is rejected, all value is rejected. If any 
value is retained, it is retained. The effort to refute it and raise a new system of 
value in its place is self-contradictory. There has never been, and never will be, a 
radically new judgement of value in the history of the world. What purport to be 
new systems or (as they now call them) 'ideologies', all consist of fragments from 
the Tao itself, arbitrarily wrenched from their context in the whole and then 
swollen to madness in their isolation, yet still owing to the Tao and to it alone such 
vaUdity as they possess. If my duty to my parents is a superstition, then so is my 
duty to posterity. If justice is a superstition, then so is my duty to my country or 
my race. If the pursuit of scientific knowledge is a real value, then so is conjugal 
fidelity. The rebellion of new ideologies against the Tao is a rebellion of the 
branches against the tree: if the rebels could succeed they would find that they had 
destroyed themselves. The human mind has no more power of inventing a new 
value than of imagining a new primary colour, or, indeed, of creating a new sun 
and a new sky for it to move in. 

Does this mean, then, that no progress in our perceptions of value can ever take 
place? That we are bound down for ever to an unchanging code given once for all? 
And is it, in any event, possible to talk of obeying what I call the Tao? If we lump 
together, as I have done, the traditional moralities of East and West, the Christian, 
the Pagan, and the Jew, shall we not find many contradictions and some 
absurdities? I admit all this. Some criticism, some removal of contradictions, even 
some real development, is required. But there are two very different kinds of 

A theorist about language may approach his native tongue, as it were from outside, 
regarding its genius as a thing that has no claim on him and advocating wholesale 
alterations of its idiom and spelling in the interests of commercial convenience or 
scientific accuracy. That is one thing. A great poet, who has 'loved, and been well 
nurtured in, his mother tongue', may also make great alterations in it, but his 
changes of the language are made in the spirit of the language itself: he works from 
within. The language which suffers, has also inspired the changes. That is a 
different thing — as different as the works of Shakespeare are from Basic English. It 
is the difference between alteration from within and alteration from without: 
between the organic and the surgical. In the same way, the Tao admits 
development from within. There is a difference between a real moral advance and 
a mere innovation. From the Confucian 'Do not do to others what you would not 
like them to do to you' to the Christian 'Do as you would be done by' is a real 

advance. The morality of Nietzsche is a mere innovation. The first is an advance 
because no one who did not admit the vaUdity of the old maxim could see reason 
for accepting the new one, and anyone who accepted the old would at once 
recognize the new as an extension of the same principle. If he rejected it, he would 
have to reject it as a superfluity, something that went too far, not as something 
simply heterogeneous from his own ideas of value. But the Nietzschean ethic can 
be accepted only if we are ready to scrap traditional morals as a mere error and 
then to put ourselves in a position where we can find no ground for any value 
judgements at all. It is the difference between a man who says to us: 'You like your 
vegetables moderately fresh; why not grow your own and have them perfectly 
fresh?' and a man who says. Throw away that loaf and try eating bricks and 
centipedes instead.' 

Those who understand the spirit of the Tao and who have been led by that spirit 
can modify it in directions which that spirit itself demands. Only they can know 
what those directions are. The outsider knows nothing about the matter. His 
attempts at alteration, as we have seen, contradict themselves. So far from being 
able to harmonize discrepancies in its letter by penetration to its spirit, he merely 
snatches at some one precept, on which the accidents of time and place happen to 
have riveted his attention, and then rides it to death — for no reason that he can 
give. From within the Tao itself comes the only authority to modify the Tao. This 
is what Confucius meant when he said 'With those who follow a different Way it is 
useless to take counsel'. ^ This is why Aristotle said that only those who have been 
well brought up can usefully study ethics: to the corrupted man, the man who 
stands outside the Tao, the very starting point of this science is invisible.* He may 
be hostile, but he cannot be critical: he does not know what is being discussed. 
This is why it was also said 'This people that knoweth not the Law is accursed'^ 
and 'He that beheveth not shall be damned'.*^ An open mind, in questions that are 
not ultimate, is useful. But an open mind about the ultimate foundations either of 
Theoretical or of Practical Reason is idiocy. If a man's mind is open on these 
things, let his mouth at least be shut. He can say nothing to the purpose. Outside 
the Tao there is no ground for criticizing either the Tao or anything else. In 
particular instances it may, no doubt, be a matter of some delicacy to decide where 
the legitimate internal criticism ends and the fatal external kind begins. But 
wherever any precept of traditional morality is simply challenged to produce its 
credentials, as though the burden of proof lay on it, we have taken the wrong 
position. The legitimate reformer endeavours to show that the precept in question 
conflicts with some precept which its defenders allow to be more fundamental, or 
that it does not really embody the judgement of value it professes to embody. The 
direct frontal attack 'Why?' — 'What good does it do?' — 'Who said so?' is never 
permissible; not because it is harsh or offensive but because no values at all can 
justify themselves on that level. If you persist in that kind of trial you will destroy 
all values, and so destroy the bases of your own criticism as well as the thing 
criticized. You must not hold a pistol to the head of the Tao. Nor must we 
postpone obedience to a precept until its credentials have been examined. Only 
those who are practising the Tao will understand it. It is the well-nurtured man, 
the cuorgentil, and he alone, who can recognize Reason when it comes. ^ It is Paul, 
the Pharisee, the man 'perfect as touching the Law' who learns where and how that 

Law was deficient. '° In order to avoid misunderstanding, I may add that though I 
myself am a Theist, and indeed a Christian, I am not here attempting any indirect 
argument for Theism. I am simply arguing that if we are to have values at all we 
must accept the ultimate platitudes of Practical Reason as having absolute validity: 
that any attempt, having become sceptical about these, to reintroduce value lower 
down on some supposedly more 'realistic' basis, is doomed. Whether this position 
implies a supernatural origin for the Tao is a question I am not here concerned 

Yet how can the modern mind be expected to embrace the conclusion we have 
reached? This Tao which, it seems, we must treat as an absolute is simply a 
phenomenon like any other — the reflection upon the minds of our ancestors of the 
agricultural rhythm in which they lived or even of their physiology. We know 
already in principle how such things are produced: soon we shall know in detail: 
eventually we shall be able to produce them at will. Of course, while we did not 
know how minds were made, we accepted this mental furniture as a datum, even 
as a master. But many things in nature which were once our masters have become 
our servants. Why not this? Why must our conquest of nature stop short, in stupid 
reverence, before this final and toughest bit of 'nature' which has hitherto been 
called the conscience of man? You threaten us with some obscure disaster if we 
step outside it: but we have been threatened in that way by obscurantists at every 
step in our advance, and each time the threat has proved false. You say we shall 
have no values at all if we step outside the Tao. Very well: we shall probably find 
that we can get on quite comfortably without them. Let us regard all ideas of what 
we ought to do simply as an interesting psychological survival: let us step right out 
of all that and start doing what we like. Let us decide for ourselves what man is to 
be and make him into that: not on any ground of imagined value, but because we 
want him to be such. Having mastered our environment, let us now master 
ourselves and choose our own destiny. 

This is a very possible position: and those who hold it cannot be accused of self- 
contradiction like the half-hearted sceptics who still hope to find 'real' values when 
they have debunked the traditional ones. This is the rejection of the concept of 
value altogether. I shall need another lecture to consider it. 


1 The real (perhaps unconscious) philosophy of Gaius and Titius becomes clear if we contrast 
the two following lists of disapprovals and approvals. 

A. Disapprovals: A mother's appeal to a child to be 'brave' is 'nonsense' (Green Book, p. 62). 
The reference of the word 'gentleman' is 'extremely vague' (ibid.) 'To call a man a coward tells 
us really nothing about what he does' (p. 64). Feelings about a country or empire are feelings 
'about nothing in particular' (p. 77). 

B. Approvals: Those who prefer the arts of peace to the arts of war (it is not said in what 
circumstances) are such that 'we may want to call them wise men' (p. 65). The pupil is 
expected 'to believe in a democratic community life' (p. 67). 'Contact with the ideas of other 
people is, as we know, healthy' (p. 86). The reason for bathrooms ('that people are healthier 
and pleasanter to meet when they are clean') is 'too obvious to need mentioning' (p. 142). It 
will be seen that comfort and security, as known to a suburban street in peace-time, are the 
ultimate values: those things which can alone produce or spiritualize comfort and security are 

mocked. Man lives by bread alone, and the ultimate source of bread is the baker's van: peace 
matters more than honour and can be preserved by jeering at colonels and reading 

2 The most determined effort which I know to construct a theory of value on the basis of 
'satisfaction of impulses' is that of Dr I. A. Richards (Principles of Literary Criticism, 1924). The 
old objection to defining Value as Satisfaction is the universal value judgement that 'it is better 
to be Socrates dissatisfied than a pig satisfied'. To meet this Dr Richards endeavours to show 
that our impulses can be arranged in a hierarchy and some satisfactions preferred to others 
without an appeal to any criterion other than satisfaction. He does this by the doctrine that 
some impulses are more 'important' than others — an important impulse being one whose 
frustration involves the frustration of other impulses. A good systematization (i.e. the good 
life) consists in satisfying as many impulses as possible; which entails satisfying the 'important' 
at the expense of the 'unimportant'. The objections to this scheme seem to me to be two: 

(1) Without a theory of immortality it leaves no room for the value of noble death. It may, of 
course, be said that a man who has saved his life by treachery will suffer for the rest of that life 
from frustration. But not, surely, frustration of all his impulses? Whereas the dead man will 
have no satisfaction. Or is it maintained that since he had no unsatisfied impulses he is better 
off than the disgraced and living man? This at once raises the second objection. 

(2) Is the value of a systematization to be judged by the presence of satisfactions or the 
absence of dissatisfactions? The extreme case is that of the dead man in whom satisfactions 
and dissatisfactions (on the modern view) both equal zero, as against the successful traitor 
who can still eat, drink, sleep, scratch and copulate, even if he cannot have friendship or love 
or self-respect. But it arises at other levels. Suppose A has only 500 impulses and all are 
satisfied, and that B has 1200 impulses whereof 700 are satisfied and 500 not: which has the 
better systematization? There is no doubt which Dr Richards actually prefers — he even praises 
art on the ground that it makes us 'discontented' with ordinary crudities! (op. cit., p. 230). 
The only trace I find of a philosophical basis for this preference is the statement that 'the more 
complex an activity the more conscious it is' (p. 109). But if satisfaction is the only value, why 
should increase of consciousness be good? For consciousness is the condition of all 
dissatisfactions as well as of all satisfactions. Dr Richards's system gives no support to his (and 
our) actual preference for civil life over savage and human over animal — or even for life over 

3 The desperate expedients to which a man can be driven if he attempts to base value on fact 
are well illustrated by Dr C. H. Waddington's fate in Science and Ethics. Dr Waddington here 
explains that 'existence is its own justification' (p. 14), and writes: 'An existence which is 
essentially evolutionary is itself the justification for an evolution towards a more 
comprehensive existence' (p. 17). I do not think Dr Waddington is himself at ease in this view, 
for he does endeavour to recommend the course of evolution to us on three grounds other 
than its mere occurrence, (a) That the later stages include or 'comprehend' the earlier, (b) 
That T. H. Huxley's picture of Evolution will not revolt you if you regard it from an 'actuarial' 
point of view, (c) That, any way, after all, it isn't half so bad as people make out ('not so 
morally offensive that we cannot accept it', p. 18). These three palhatives are more creditable 
to Dr Waddington's heart than his head and seem to me to give up the main position. If 
Evolution is praised (or, at least, apologized for) on the ground of any properties it exhibits, 
then we are using an external standard and the attempt to make existence its own justification 
has been abandoned. If that attempt is maintained, why does Dr Waddington concentrate on 
Evolution: i.e., on a temporary phase of organic existence in one planet? This is 'geocentric'. If 
Good = 'whatever Nature happens to be doing', then surely we should notice what Nature is 
doing as a whole; and Nature as a whole, I understand, is working steadily and irreversibly 
towards the final extinction of all life in every part of the universe, so that Dr Waddington's 
ethics, stripped of their unaccountable bias towards such a parochial affair as tellurian biology, 
would leave murder and suicide our only duties. Even this, I confess, seems to me a lesser 
objection than the discrepancy between Dr Waddington's first principle and the value 
judgements men actually make. To value anything simply because it occurs is in fact to 
worship success, like Quislings or men of Vichy. Other philosophies more wicked have been 

devised: none more vulgar. I am far from suggesting that Dr Waddington practises in real life 
such grovelling prostration before the fait accompli. Let us hope that Rasselas, chap. 22^ gives 
the right picture of what his philosophy amounts to in action. ('The philosopher, supposing 
the rest vanquished, rose up and departed vs^ith the air of a man that had co-operated with the 
present system.') 

4 See Appendix. 

5 Analects of Confucius, xv. 39. 
6Eth. Nic. 1095 b, 1140 b, 1151 a. 

7 John 7:49. The speaker said it in mahce, but with more truth than he meant. Cf. John 13:51. 

8 Mark 16:6 

9 Republic, 402 A 

10 Philippians 3:6 

Transcriber's Notes 

Cuor gentil - a noble heart 

'£v 5£ (pa£i KQi '5A£aaou - 'en de faei kai dlessou' roughly "in the light you perceive 
it [light]" (?) 

Dulce et decorum - sweet and seemly, from the Roman saying duke et decorum est 
pro patria mori It is sweet and seemly to die for one's country. 

Humani nihil a me alienum puto from Terence: homo sum; humani nihil a me 

alienum puto: "I am a manj and nothing of man is foreign to me." 

Nietzschean ethic - an 'ends justify the means,' 'win at any cost' philosophy^ the 
starting point his philosophy is his own desire instead of reality; he is a nihihst . 

Olaf Stapledon - a famous science fiction writer (1886-1950) whose most famous 
works include Last and First Men-, Darkness and the Light, and Star Maker. 

Theist - a beUever in one or more gods, e.g. Christians, Jews, Moslems, Hindus, 

Chapter 3 

The Abolition of Man 

It came burning hot into my mind, whatever he said and however he flattered, when he 
got me home to his house, he would sell me for a slave. 

— John Bunyan 

'Man's conquest of Nature' is an expression often used to describe the progress of 
appUed science. Man has Nature whacked,' said someone to a friend of mine not 
long ago. In their context the words had a certain tragic beauty, for the speaker 
was dying of tuberculosis. 'No matter' he said, 1 know I'm one of the casualties. 
Of course there are casualties on the winning as well as on the losing side. But that 
doesn't alter the fact that it is winning.' I have chosen this story as my point of 
departure in order to make it clear that I do not wish to disparage all that is really 
beneficial in the process described as 'Man's conquest', much less all the real 
devotion and self-sacrifice that has gone to make it possible. But having done so I 
must proceed to analyse this conception a little more closely. In what sense is Man 
the possessor of increasing power over Nature? 

Let us consider three typical examples: the aeroplane, the wireless, and the 
contraceptive. In a civilized community, in peace-time, anyone who can pay for 
them may use these things. But it cannot strictly be said that when he does so he is 
exercising his own proper or individual power over Nature. If I pay you to carry 
me, I am not therefore myself a strong man. Any or all of the three things I have 
mentioned can be withheld from some men by other men — by those who sell, or 
those who allow the sale, or those who own the sources of production, or those 
who make the goods. What we call Man's power is, in reality, a power possessed 
by some men which they may, or may not, allow other men to profit by. Again, as 
regards the powers manifested in the aeroplane or the wireless, Man is as much 
the patient or subject as the possessor, since he is the target both for bombs and 
for propaganda. And as regards contraceptives, there is a paradoxical, negative 
sense in which all possible future generations are the patients or subjects of a 
power wielded by those already alive. By contraception simply, they are denied 
existence; by contraception used as a means of selective breeding, they are, 
without their concurring voice, made to be what one generation, for its own 
reasons, may choose to prefer. From this point of view, what we call Man's power 
over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with 
Nature as its instrument. 

It is, of course, a commonplace to complain that men have hitherto used badly, 
and against their fellows, the powers that science has given them. But that is not 
the point I am trying to make. I am not speaking of particular corruptions and 
abuses which an increase of moral virtue would cure: I am considering what the 
thing called 'Man's power over Nature' must always and essentially be. No doubt, 
the picture could be modified by public ownership of raw materials and factories 
and public control of scientific research. But unless we have a world state this will 

still mean the power of one nation over others. And even within the world state or 
the nation it will mean (in principle) the power of majorities over minorities, and 
(in the concrete) of a government over the people. And all long-term exercises of 
power, especially in breeding, must mean the power of earlier generations over 
later ones. 

The latter point is not always sufficiently emphasized, because those who write on 
social matters have not yet learned to imitate the physicists by always including 
Time among the dimensions. In order to understand fully what Man's power over 
Nature, and therefore the power of some men over other men, really means, we 
must picture the race extended in time from the date of its emergence to that of its 
extinction. Each generation exercises power over its successors: and each, in so far 
as it modifies the environment bequeathed to it and rebels against tradition, resists 
and Umits the power of its predecessors. This modifies the picture which is 
sometimes painted of a progressive emancipation from tradition and a progressive 
control of natural processes resulting in a continual increase of human power. In 
reality, of course, if any one age really attains, by eugenics and scientific education, 
the power to make its descendants what it pleases, all men who live after it are the 
patients of that power. They are weaker, not stronger: for though we may have put 
wonderful machines in their hands we have pre-ordained how they are to use 
them. And if, as is almost certain, the age which had thus attained maximum 
power over posterity were also the age most emancipated from tradition, it would 
be engaged in reducing the power of its predecessors almost as drastically as that 
of its successors. And we must also remember that, quite apart from this, the later 
a generation comes — the nearer it lives to that date at which the species becomes 
extinct — the less power it will have in the forward direction, because its subjects 
will be so few. There is therefore no question of a power vested in the race as a 
whole steadily growing as long as the race survives. The last men, far from being 
the heirs of power, will be of all men most subject to the dead hand of the great 
planners and conditioners and will themselves exercise least power upon the 

The real picture is that of one dominant age — let us suppose the hundredth 
century A.D. — which resists all previous ages most successfully and dominates all 
subsequent ages most irresistibly, and thus is the real master of the human species. 
But then within this master generation (itself an infinitesimal minority of the 
species) the power will be exercised by a minority smaller still. Man's conquest of 
Nature, if the dreams of some scientific planners are realized, means the rule of a 
few hundreds of men over billions upon biUions of men. There neither is nor can 
be any simple increase of power on Man's side. Each new power won by man is a 
power over man as well. Each advance leaves him weaker as well aas stronger. In 
every victory, besides being the general who triumphs, he is also the prisoner who 
follows the triumphal car. 

I am not yet considering whether the total result of such ambivalent victories is a 
good thing or a bad. I am only making clear what Man's conquest of Nature really 
means and especially that final stage in the conquest, which, perhaps, is not far off. 
The final stage is come when Man by eugenics, by pre-natal conditioning, and by 
an education and propaganda based on a perfect applied psychology, has obtained 

full control over himself. Human nature will be the last part of Nature to surrender 
to Man. The battle will then be won. We shall have taken the thread of life out of 
the hand of Clotho' and be henceforth free to make our species whatever we wish 
it to be. The battle will indeed be won. But who, precisely, will have won it? 

For the power of Man to make himself what he pleases means, as we have seen, 
the power of some men to make other men what they please. In all ages, no doubt, 
nurture and instruction have, in some sense, attempted to exercise this power. But 
the situation to which we must look forward will be novel in two respects. In the 
first place, the power will be enormously increased. Hitherto the plans of 
educationalists have achieved very little of what they attempted and indeed, when 
we read them — how Plato would have every infant "a bastard nursed in a bureau", 
and Elyot would have the boy see no men before the age of seven and, after that, 
no women,' and how Locke wants children to have leaky shoes and no turn for 
poetry^ — we may well thank the beneficent obstinacy of real mothers, real nurses, 
and (above all) real children for preserving the human race in such sanity as it still 
possesses. But the man-moulders of the new age will be armed with the powers of 
an omnicompetent state and an irresistible scientific technique: we shall get at last 
a race of conditioners who really can cut out all posterity in what shape they 

The second difference is even more important. In the older systems both the kind 
of man the teachers wished to produce and their motives for producing him were 
prescribed by the Tao — a norm to which the teachers themselves were subject and 
from which they claimed no liberty to depart. They did not cut men to some 
pattern they had chosen. They handed on what they had received: they initiated 
the young neophyte into the mystery of humanity which over-arched him and 
them alike. It was but old birds teaching young birds to fly. This will be changed. 
Values are now mere natural phenomena. Judgements of value are to be produced 
in the pupil as part of the conditioning. Whatever Tao there is will be the product, 
not the motive, of education. The conditioners have been emancipated from all 
that. It is one more part of Nature which they have conquered. The ultimate 
springs of human action are no longer, for them, something given. They have 
surrendered — like electricity: it is the function of the Conditioners to control, not 
to obey them. They know how to produce conscience and decide what kind of 
conscience they will produce. They themselves are outside, above. For we are 
assuming the last stage of Man's struggle with Nature. The final victory has been 
won. Human nature has been conquered — and, of course, has conquered, in 
whatever sense those words may now bear. 

The Conditioners, then, are to choose what kind of artificial Tao they will, for 
their own good reasons, produce in the Human race. They are the motivators, the 
creators of motives. But how are they going to be motivated themselves? 

For a time, perhaps, by survivals, within their own minds, of the old 'natural' Tao. 
Thus at first they may look upon themselves as servants and guardians of 
humanity and conceive that they have a duty' to do it good'. But it is only by 
confusion that they can remain in this state. They recognize the concept of duty as 
the result of certain processes which they can now control. Their victory has 

consisted precisely in emerging from the state in which they were acted upon by 
those processes to the state in which they use them as tools. One of the things they 
now have to decide is whether they will, or will not, so condition the rest of us that 
we can go on having the old idea of duty and the old reactions to it. How can duty 
help them to decide that? Duty itself is up for trial: it cannot also be the judge. 
And good' fares no better. They know quite well how to produce a dozen different 
conceptions of good in us. The question is which, if any, they should produce. No 
conception of good can help them to decide. It is absurd to fix on one of the things 
they are comparing and make it the standard of comparison. 

To some it will appear that I am inventing a factitious difficulty for my 
Conditioners. Other, more simple-minded, critics may ask. Why should you 
suppose they will be such bad men?' But I am not supposing them to be bad men. 
They are, rather, not men (in the old sense) at all. They are, if you like, men who 
have sacrificed their own share in traditional humanity in order to devote 
themselves to the task of deciding what Humanity' shall henceforth mean. 'Good' 
and bad', apphed to them, are words without content: for it is from them that the 
content of these words is henceforward to be derived. Nor is their difficulty 
factitious, "We might suppose that it was possible to say 'After all, most of us want 
more or less the same things — food and drink and sexual intercourse, amusement, 
art, science, and the longest possible Ufe for individuals and for the species. Let 
them simply say. This is what we happen to like, and go on to condition men in 
the way most likely to produce it. Where's the trouble?' But this will not answer. In 
the first place, it is false that we all really like the same things. But even if we did, 
what motive is to impel the Conditioners to scorn delights and live laborious days 
in order that we, and posterity, may have what we like? Their duty? But that is 
only the Tao, which they may decide to impose on us, but which cannot be valid 
for them. If they accept it, then they are no longer the makers of conscience but 
still its subjects, and their final conquest over Nature has not really happened. The 
preservation of the species? But why should the species be preserved? One of the 
questions before them is whether this feeling for posterity (they know well how it is 
produced) shall be continued or not. However far they go back, or down, they can 
find no ground to stand on. Every motive they try to act on becomes at once 
petitio. It is not that they are bad men. They are not men at all. Stepping outside 
the Tao, they have stepped into the void. Nor are their subjects necessarily 
unhappy men. They are not men at all: they are artefacts. Man's final conquest has 
proved to be the abolition of Man. 

Yet the Conditioners will act. When I said just now that all motives fail them, I 
should have said all motives except one. All motives that claim any vaUdity other 
than that of their felt emotional weight at a given moment have failed them. 
Everything except the sic volo, sic jubeo has been explained away. But what never 
claimed objectivity cannot be destroyed by subjectivism. The impulse to scratch 
when I itch or to pull to pieces when I am inquisitive is immune from the solvent 
which is fatal to my justice, or honour, or care for posterity. When all that says It is 
good' has been debunked, what says 1 want' remains. It cannot be exploded or 
seen through' because it never had any pretentions. The Conditioners, therefore, 
must come to be motivated simply by their own pleasure. I am not here speaking 
of the corrupting influence of power nor expressing the fear that under it our 

Conditioners will degenerate. The very words corrupt and degenerate imply a 
doctrine of value and are therefore meaningless in this context. My point is that 
those who stand outside all judgements of value cannot have any ground for 
preferring one of their own impulses to another except the emotional strength of 
that impulse. 

We may legitimately hope that among the impulses which arise in minds thus 
emptied of all rational' or spiritual' motives, some will be benevolent. I am very 
doubtful myself whether the benevolent impulses, stripped of that preference and 
encouragement which the Tao teaches us to give them and left to their merely 
natural strength and frequency as psychological events, will have much influence. I 
am very doubtful whether history shows us one example of a man who, having 
stepped outside traditional morality and attained power, has used that power 
benevolently. I am inclined to think that the Conditioners will hate the 
conditioned. Though regarding as an illusion the artificial conscience which they 
produce in us their subjects, they will yet perceive that it creates in us an illusion of 
meaning for our lives which compares favourably with the futility of their own: and 
they will envy us as eunuchs envy men. But I do not insist on this, for it is a mere 
conjecture. What is not conjecture is that our hope even of a conditioned' 
happiness rests on what is ordinarily called chance' — the chance that benevolent 
impulses may on the whole predominate in our Conditioners. For without the 
judgement 'Benevolence is good' — that is, without re-entering the Tao — they can 
have no ground for promoting or stabilizing these impulses rather than any others. 
By the logic of their position they must just take their impulses as they come, from 
chance. And Chance here means Nature. It is from heredity, digestion, the 
weather, and the association of ideas, that the motives of the Conditioners will 
spring. Their extreme rationalism, by seeing through' all rational' motives, leaves 
them creatures of wholly irrational behaviour. If you will not obey the Tao, or else 
commit suicide, obedience to impulse (and therefore, in the long run, to mere 
'nature') is the only course left open. 

At the moment, then, of Man's victory over Nature, we find the whole human race 
subjected to some individual men, and those individuals subjected to that in 
themselves which is purely natural' — to their irrational impulses. Nature, 
untrammelled by values, rules the Conditioners and, through them, all humanity. 
Man's conquest of Nature turns out, in the moment of its consummation, to be 
Nature's conquest of Man. Every victory we seemed to win has led us, step by 
step, to this conclusion. All Nature's apparent reverses have been but tactical 
withdrawals. We thought we were beating her back when she was luring us on. 
What looked to us like hands held up in surrender was really the opening of arms 
to enfold us for ever. If the fully planned and conditioned world (with its Tao a 
mere product of the planning) comes into existence. Nature will be troubled no 
more by the restive species that rose in revolt against her so many miUions of years 
ago, will be vexed no longer by its chatter of truth and mercy and beauty and 
happiness. Ferum victorem cepit: and if the eugenics are efficient enough there will 
be no second revolt, but all snug beneath the Conditioners, and the Conditioners 
beneath her, till the moon falls or the sun grows cold. 

My point may be clearer to some if it is put in a different form. Nature is a word of 

varying meanings, which can best be understood if we consider itsvarious 
opposites. The Natural is the opposite of the Artificial, the Civil, the Human, the Spiritual, and the Supernatural. The Artificial does not now concern us. If we takethe rest of the Ust of opposites, however, I think we can get a rough idea of what men have meant by Nature and what it is they oppose to her. Nature seems to be the spatial and temporal, as distinct from what is less fully so or not so at all. She seems to be the world of quantity, as against the world of quality; of objects as against consciousness; of the bound, as against the wholly or partially autonomous; of that which knows no values as against that which both has and 
perceives value; of efficient causes (or, in some modern systems, of no causality at all) as against final causes. Now I take it that when we understand a thing 
analytically and then dominate and use it for our own convenience, we reduce it to the level of 'Nature' in the sense that we suspend our judgements of value about it, ignore its final cause (if any), and treat it in terms of quantity. This repression of elements in what would otherwise be our total reaction to it is sometimes very noticeable and even painful: something has to be overcome before we can cut up a dead man or a live animal in a dissecting room. These objects resist the movement of the mind whereby we thrust them into the world of mere Nature. But in other instances too, a similar price is exacted for our analytical knowledge and manipulative power, even if we have ceased to count it. We do not look at trees either as Dryads or as beautiful objects while we cut them into beams: the first man who did so may have felt the price keenly, and the bleeding trees in Virgil and Spenser may be far-off echoes of that primeval sense of impiety. The stars lost their divinity as astronomy developed, and the Dying God has no place in 
chemical agriculture. To many, no doubt, this process is simply the gradual 
discovery that the real world is different from what we expected, and the old 
opposition to Galileo or to body-snatchers' is simply obscurantism. But that is not the whole story. It is not the greatest of modern scientists who feel most sure that the object, stripped of its qualitative properties and reduced to mere quantity, is wholly real. Little scientists, and little unscientific followers of science, may think so. The great minds know very well that the object, so treated, is an artificial abstraction, that something of its reaUty has been lost. 

From this point of view the conquest of Nature appears in a new light. We reduce 
things to mere Nature in order that we may 'conquer' them. We are always 
conquering Nature, because 'Nature' is the name for what we have, to some extent, 
conquered. The price of conquest is to treat a thing as mere Nature. Every 
conquest over Nature increases her domain. The stars do not become Nature till 
we can weigh and measure them: the soul does not become Nature till we can 
psychoanalyse her. The wresting of powers from Nature is also the surrendering of 
things to Nature. As long as this process stops short of the final stage we may well 
hold that the gain outweighs the loss. But as soon as we take the final step of 
reducing our own species to the level of mere Nature, the whole process is 
stultified, for this time the being who stood to gain and the being who has been 
sacrificed are one and the same. This is one of the many instances where to carry a 
principle to what seems its logical conclusion produces absurdity. It is like the 
famous Irishman who found that a certain kind of stove reduced his fuel bill by 
half and thence concluded that two stoves of the same kind would enable him to 

warm his house with no fuel at all. It is the magician's bargain: give up our soul, 
get power in return. But once our souls, that is, ourselves, have been given up, the 
power thus conferred will not belong to us. We shall in fact be the slaves and 
puppets of that to which we have given our souls. It is in Man's power to treat 
himself as a mere natural object' and his own judgements of value as raw material 
for scientific manipulation to alter at will. The objection to his doing so does not 
lie in the fact that this point of view (like one's first day in a dissecting room) is 
painful and shocking till we grow used to it. The pain and the shock are at most a 
warning and a symptom. The real objection is that if man chooses to treat himself 
as raw material, raw material he will be: not raw material to be manipulated, as he 
fondly imagined, by himself, but by mere appetite, that is, mere Nature, in the 
person of his de-humanized Conditioners. 

We have been trying, like Lear, to have it both ways: to lay down our human 
prerogative and yet at the same time to retain it. It is impossible. Either we are 
rational spirit obliged for ever to obey the absolute values of the Tao, or else we are 
mere nature to be kneaded and cut into new shapes for the pleasures of masters 
who must, by hypothesis, have no motive but their own natural' impulses. Only 
the Tao provides a common human law of action which can over-arch rulers and 
ruled alike. A dogmatic beUef in objective value is necessary to the very idea of a 
rule which is not tyranny or an obedience which is not slavery. 

I am not here thinking solely, perhaps not even chiefly, of those who are our public 
enemies at the moment. The process which, if not checked, will abolish Man goes 
on apace among Communists and Democrats no less than among Fascists. The 
methods may (at first) differ in brutality. But many a mild-eyed scientist in pince- 
nez, many a popular dramatist, many an amateur philosopher in our midst, means 
in the long run just the same as the Nazi rulers of Germany/Traditional values are 
to be debunked' and mankind to be cut out into some fresh shape at the will 
(which must, by hypothesis, be an arbitrary will) of some few lucky people in one 
lucky generation which has learned how to do it. The belief that we can invent 
ideologies' at pleasure, and the consequent treatment of mankind as mere uAr|, 
specimens, preparations, begins to affect our very language. Once we killed bad 
men: now we Uquidate unsocial elements. Virtue has become integration and 
diligence dynamism, and boys likely to be worthy of a commission are 'potential 
officer material'. Most wonderful of all, the virtues of thrift and temperance, and 
even of ordinary intelligence, are sales-resistance. 

The true significance of what is going on has been concealed by the use of the 
abstraction Man. Not that the word Man is necessarily a pure abstraction. In the 
Tao itself, as long as we remain within it, we find the concrete reality in which to 
participate is to be truly human: the real common will and common reason of 
humanity, alive, and growing like a tree, and branching out, as the situation varies, 
into ever new beauties and dignities of appUcation. While we speak from within 
the Tao we can speak of Man having power over himself in a sense truly analogous 
to an individual's self-control. But the moment we step outside and regard the Tao 
as a mere subjective product, this possibility has disappeared. What is now 
common to all men is a mere abstract universal, an H.C.F., and Man's conquest of 
himself means simply the rule of the Conditioners over the conditioned human 

material, the world of post-humanity which, some knowingly and some 
unknowingly, nearly all men in all nations are at present labouring to produce. 

Nothing I can say will prevent some people from describing this lecture as an 
attack on science. I deny the charge, of course: and real Natural Philosophers 
(there are some now alive) will perceive that in defending value I defend inter alia 
the value of knowledge, which must die like every other when its roots in the Tao 
are cut. But I can go further than that. I even suggest that from Science herself the 
cure might come. 

I have described as a 'magician's bargain' that process whereby man surrenders 
object after object, and finally himself, to Nature in return for power. And I meant 
what I said. The fact that the scientist has succeeded where the magician failed has 
put such a wide contrast between them in popular thought that the real story of 
the birth of Science is misunderstood. You will even find people who write about 
the sixteenth century as if Magic were a medieval survival and Science the new 
thing that came in to sweep it away. Those who have studied the period know 
better. There was very Uttle magic in the Middle Ages: the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries are the high noon of magic. The serious magical endeavour 
and the serious scientific endeavour are twins: one was sickly and died, the other 
strong and throve. But they were twins. They were born of the same impulse. I 
allow that some (certainly not all) of the early scientists were actuated by a pure 
love of knowledge. But if we consider the temper of that age as a whole we can 
discern the impulse of which I speak. 

There is something which unites magic and applied science while separating both 
from the wisdom of earUer ages. For the wise men of old the cardinal problem had 
been how to conform the soul to reality, and the solution had been knowledge, 
self-discipUne, and virtue. For magic and applied science alike the problem is how 
to subdue reality to the wishes of men: the solution is a technique; and both, in the 
practice of this technique, are ready to do things hitherto regarded as disgusting 
and impious — such as digging up and mutilating the dead. 

If we compare the chief trumpeter of the new era (Bacon) with Marlowe's Faustus, 
the similarity is striking. You will read in some critics that Faustus has a thirst for 
knowledge. In reality, he hardly mentions it. It is not truth he wants from the 
devils, but gold and guns and girls. 'All things that move between the quiet poles 
shall be at his command' and a sound magician is a mighty god'.^ In the same 
spirit Bacon condemns those who value knowledge as an end in itself: this, for 
him, is to use as a mistress for pleasure what ought to be a spouse for fruit.'' The 
true object is to extend Man's power to the performance of all things possible. He 
rejects magic because it does not work;^ but his goal is that of the magician. In 
Paracelsus the characters of magician and scientist are combined. No doubt those 
who really founded modern science were usually those whose love of truth 
exceeded their love of power; in every mixed movement the efficacy comes from 
the good elements not from the bad. But the presence of the bad elements is not 
irrelevant to the direction the efficacy takes. It might be going too far to say that 
the modern scientific movement was tainted from its birth: but I think it would be 
true to say that it, was born in an unhealthy neighbourhood and at an inauspicious 

hour. Its triumphs may have-been too rapid and purchased at too high a price: 
reconsideration, and something hke repentance, may be required. 

Is it, then, possible to imagine a new Natural Philosophy, continually conscious 
that the natural object' produced by analysis and abstraction is not reality but only 
a view, and always correcting the abstraction? I hardly know what I am asking for. 
I hear rumours that Goethe's approach to nature deserves fuller consideration — 
that even Dr Steiner may have seen something that orthodox researchers have 
missed. The regenerate science which I have in mind would not do even to 
minerals and vegetables what modern science threatens to do to man himself. 
When it explained it would not explain away. When it spoke of the parts it would 
remember the whole. While studying the It it would not lose what Martin Buber 
calls the Thou-situation. The analogy between the Tao of Man and the instincts of 
an animal species would mean for it new light cast on the unknown thing. Instinct, 
by the only known reality of conscience and not a reduction of conscience to the 
category of Instinct. Its followers would not be free with the words only and merely. 
In a word, it would conquer Nature without being at the same time conquered by 
her and buy knowledge at a lower cost than that of life. 

Perhaps I am asking impossibilities. Perhaps, in the nature of things, analytical 
understanding must always be a basilisk which kills what it sees and only sees by 
kiUing. But if the scientists themselves cannot arrest this process before it reaches 
the common Reason and kills that too, then someone else must arrest it. What I 
most fear is the reply that I am only one more' obscurantist, that this barrier, like 
all previous barriers set up against the advance of science, can be safely passed. 
Such a reply springs from the fatal serialism of the modern imagination — the 
image of infinite uniUnear progression which so haunts our minds. Because we 
have to use numbers so much we tend to think of every process as if it must be like 
the numeral series, where every step, to all eternity, is the same kind of step as the 
one before. I implore you to remember the Irishman and his two stoves. There are 
progressions in which the last step is sui generis — incommensurable with the others 
— and in which to go the whole way is to undo all the labour of your previous 
journey. To reduce the Tao to a mere natural product is a step of that kind. Up to 
that point, the kind of explanation which explains things away may give us 
something, though at a heavy cost. But you cannot go on explaining away' for 
ever: you will find that you have explained explanation itself away. You cannot go 
on seeing through^ things for ever. The whole point of seeing through something 
is to see something through it. It is good that the window should be transparent, 
because the street or garden beyond it is opaque. How if you saw through the 
garden too? It is no use trying to see through' first principles. If you see through 
everything, then everything is transparent. But a wholly transparent world is an 
invisible world. To 'see through' all things is the same as not to see. 


1 . The Boke Named the Govemour, I. iv: "Al men except physitions only shulde be excluded and 
kepte out of the norisery.' I. vi: "After that a childe is come to seuen yeres of age... the most 
sure counsaile is to withdrawe him from all company of women.' 

2. Some Thoughts concerning Education,^! : 1 will also advise his Feet to be wash'd every Day in 
cold Water, and to have his Shoes so thin that they might leak and let in Water, whenever he 

comes near it.' §174: "If he have a poetick vein, 'tis to me the strangest thing in the World that 
the Father should desire or suffer it to be cherished or improved. Methinks the Parents should 
labour to have it stifled and suppressed as much as may be.' Yet Locke is one of our most 
sensible writers on education. 

3. DrPaustus, 77-90. 

4. Advancement of Learning, Bk I (p. 60 in Ellis and Spedding, 1905i p. 35 in Everyman 

5. Filum Labyrinthi, i. 

Transcriber's Notes 

Buber, Martin (1878-1965) philosopher who said the I-Thou approach to 
relationships is the only way people can be fully authentic; only a part of our 
humanity is expressed in the I-It relationship. 

Clotho - of the three Fates of Greek mythology, she was the one who wove the 
fabric of Ufe 

factitious - contrived, artificial 

Faustus - the magician of Renaisance legend who bargained his soul to the devil 
in exchange for power 

Ferum victorem cepit - from Horace Graecia captaferum victorem cepit et/Artes 
intulit agresti Latio.: "Greece, once overcome, overcame her wild conqueror,/ And 
brought the arts into rustic Latium." The vanquished were actually the victors; 
Lewis is saying that nature, being conquered, is the true winner. 

Francis Bacon - proponent (1561-1626) of the "scientific revolution" who 
advocated science as a tool to gain power over nature; he is known more for his 
polemical writings on science than his advancement of human knowledge 

Goethe Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) Romantic poet who 
reverenced nature as divine 

H.C.F. - highest common factor 

Inter alia - Amongst other things 

Paracelsus - (1493-1541), more properly Theophrastus Phillippus Aureolus 
Bombastus von Hohenheim, who was known for his medical innovations during 
the Renaisance. Traditionally it has been said that Paracelsus was taught by several 
bishops and the occultist abbot of Sponheim, Johannes Trithemius. 

Petitio - short ior petitio principii or begging the question: a logical fallacy in which 
the thing to be proved is implicitly assumed. 

Sic volo, sic iubeo - short for sic volo, sicjubeo, stat pro ratione voluntas: "Thus I 
will, thus I command, my pleasure stands for law." 

Sui generis - adj. [literally, of its own kind] constituting a class alone: unique, 

uAri - hule or matter, as used by Aristotle 

Wireless - radio 

Illustrations of the Tao 

The following illustrations of the Natural Law are collected from such sources as 
come readily to the hand of one who is not a professional historian. The Ust makes 
no pretence of completeness. It will be noticed that writers such as Locke and 
Hooker, who wrote within the Christian tradition, are quoted side by side with the 
New Testament. This would, of course, be absurd if I were trying to collect 
independent testimonies to the Tao. But (1) I am not trying to prove its validity by 
the argument from common consent. Its validity cannot be deduced. For those 
who do not perceive its rationality, even universal consent could not prove it. (2) 
The idea of collecting independent testimonies presupposes that 'civilizations' have 
arisen in the world independently of one another^ or even that humanity has had 
several independent emergences on this planet. The biology and anthropology 
involved in such an assumption are extremely doubtful. It is by no means certain 
that there has ever (in the sense required) been more than one civilization in all 
history. It is at least arguable that every civilization we find has been derived from 
another civilization and, in the last resort, from a single centre — 'carried' like an 
infectious disease or like the Apostohcal succession. 

I. The Law of General Beneficence 


'I have not slain men.' (Ancient Egyptian. From the Confession of the 
Righteous Soul, 'Book of the Dead', v. Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics f= 
ERE], vol. V, p. 478) 

'Do not murder.' (Ancient Jewish. Exodus 20:13) 

'Terrify not men or God will terrify thee.' (Ancient Egyptian. Precepts of 
Ptahhetep. H. R. Yi2i\\, Ancient History of the Near East, p. i3}n) 

'In Nastrond (= Hell) I saw... murderers.' (Old Norse. Volospd 38, 39) 

'I have not brought misery upon my fellows. I have not made the beginning 
of every day laborious in the sight of him who worked for me.' (Ancient 
Egyptian. Confession of the Righteous Soul. ERE v. 478) 

'I have not been grasping.' (Ancient Egyptian. Ibid.) 'Who meditates 
oppression, his dwelling is overturned.' (Babylonian. Hymn to Samas. ERE 

V. 445) 

'He who is cruel and calumnious has the character of a cat.' (Hindu. Laws 
of Manu. Janet, Histoire de la Science Politique, vol. i, p. 6) 

'Slander not.' (Babylonian. Hymn to Samas. ERE v. 445) 

'Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbour.' (Ancient Jewish. 
Exodus 20:16) 

'Utter not a word by which anyone could be wounded.' (Hindu. Janet, p. 7) 

'Has he ... driven an honest man from his family? broken up a well 
cemented clan?' (Babylonian. List of Sins from incantation tablets. ERE v. 

'I have not caused hunger. I have not caused weeping.' (Ancient Egyptian. 
EREy. 478) 

'Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you.' (Ancient 
Chinese. Analects of Confucius, trans. A. Waley, xv. 23j cf. xii. 2) 

'Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart.' (Ancient Jewish. Leviticus 

'He whose heart is in the smallest degree set upon goodness will dislike no 
one.' (Ancient Chinese. Analects, iv. 4) 


'Nature urges that a man should wish human society to exist and should 
wish to enter it.' (Roman. Cicero, De Ojficiis, i. iv) 

'By the fundamental Law of Nature Man [is] to be preserved as much as 
possible.' (Locke, Treatises of Civil Govt. ii. 3) 

'When the people have multiphed, what next should be done for them? The 
Master said. Enrich them. Jan Ch'iu said. When one has enriched them, 
what next should be done for them? The Master said. Instruct them.' 
(Ancient Chinese. Analects, xiii. 9) 

'Speak kindness ... show good will.' (Babylonian. Hymn to Samas. ERE v. 

'Men were brought into existence for the sake of men that they might do 
one another good.' (Roman. Cicero. De Off. i. vii) 

'Man is man's delight.' (Old Norse. Hdvamdl 47) 

'He who is asked for alms should always give.' (Hindu. Janet, i. 7) 

'What good man regards any misfortune as no concern of his?' (Roman. 
Juvenal xv. 140) 

'I am a man: nothing human is alien to me.' (Roman. Terence, Heaut. Tim.) 

'Love thy neighbour as thyself (Ancient Jewish. Leviticus 19:18) 

'Love the stranger as thyself (Ancient Jewish. Ibid. 33, 34) 

'Do to men what you wish men to do to you.' (Christian. Matthew 7: 12) 

2. The Law of Special Beneficence 

'It is upon the trunk that a gentleman works. When that is firmly set up, the 
Way grows. And surely proper behaviour to parents and elder brothers is the 
trunk of goodness.' (Ancient Chinese. Analects, i. 2) 

'Brothers shall fight and be each others' bane.' (Old Norse. Account of the Evil 
Age before the World's end, Volospd 45) 

'Has he insulted his elder sister?' (Babylonian. List of Sins. ERE v. 446) 

'You will see them take care of their kindred [and] the children of their friends 
... never reproaching them in the least.' (Redskin. Le Jeune, quoted ERE v. 


'Love thy wife studiously. Gladden her heart all thy Ufe long.' (Ancient 
Egyptian. £i^£v. 481) 

'Nothing can ever change the claims of kinship for a right thinking man.' 
(Anglo-Saxon. Beowulf, 2600) 

'Did not Socrates love his own children, though he did so as a free man and as 
one not forgetting that the gods have the first claim on our friendship?' (Greek, 
Epictetus, iii. 24) 

'Natural affection is a thing right and according to Nature.' (Greek. Ibid. i. xi) 

'I ought not to be unfeeling like a statue but should fulfil both my natural and 
artificial relations, as a worshipper, a son, a brother, a father, and a citizen.' 
(Greek. Ibid, lll.ii) 

'This first I rede thee: be blameless to thy kindred. Take no vengeance even 
though they do thee wrong.' (Old Norse. Sigdrifumdl, 22) 

'Is it only the sons of Atreus who love their wives? For every good man, who is 
right-minded, loves and cherishes his own.' (Greek. Homer, Iliad, ix. 340) 

'The union and fellowship of men will be best preserved if each receives from 
us the more kindness in proportion as he is more closely connected with us.' 
(Roman. Cicero. De Off. i. xvi) 

'Part of us is claimed by our country, part by our parents, part by our friends.' 
(Roman. Ibid. i. vii) 

'If a ruler ... compassed the salvation of the whole state, surely you would call 
him Good? The Master said. It would no longer be a matter of "Good". He 
would without doubt be a Divine Sage.' (Ancient Chinese. Analects, vi. 28) 

'Has it escaped you that, in the eyes of gods and good men, your native land 
deserves from you more honour, worship, and reverence than your mother and 

father and all your ancestors? That you should give a softer answer to its anger 
than to a father's anger? That if you cannot persuade it to alter its mind you 
must obey it in all quietness, whether it binds you or beats you or sends you to 
a war where you may get wounds or death?' (Greek. Plato, Crito, 51, a, b) 

'If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he 
hath denied the faith.' (Christian. I Timothy 5:8) 

'Put them in mind to obey magistrates.'... 'I exhort that prayers be made for 
kings and all that are in authority.' (Christian. Titus 3:1 and I Timothy 2:1, 2) 

3. Duties to Parents, Elders, Ancestors 

'Your father is an image of the Lord of Creation, your mother an image of the 
Earth. For him who fails to honour them, every work of piety is in vain. This is 
the first duty.' (Hindu. Janet, i. 9) 

'Has he despised Father and Mother?' (Babylonian. List of Sins. ERE v. 446) 

'I was a staff by my Father's side ... I went in and out at his command.' 
(Ancient Egyptian. Confession of the Righteous Soul. ERE v. 481) 

'Honour thy Father and thy Mother.' (Ancient Jewish. Exodus 20:12) 

'To care for parents.' (Greek. List of duties in Epictetus, in. vii) 

'Children, old men, the poor, and the sick, should be considered as the lords of 
the atmosphere.' (Hindu. Janet, i. 8) 

'Rise up before the hoary head and honour the old man.' (Ancient Jewish. 
Leviticus 19:32) 

'I tended the old man, I gave him my staff.' (Ancient Egyptian. ERE v. 481) 

'You will see them take care ... of old men.' (Redskin. Le Jeune, quoted ERE v. 


'I have not taken away the oblations of the blessed dead.' (Ancient Egyptian. 
Confession of the Righteous Soul. ERE v. 478) 

'When proper respect towards the dead is shown at the end and continued after 
they are far away, the moral force (te) of a people has reached its highest point.' 
(Ancient Chinese. Analects, i. 9) 

4. Duties to Children and Posterity 

'Children, the old, the poor, etc. should be considered as lords of the 
atmosphere.' (Hindu. Janet, i. 8) 

'To marry and to beget children.' (Greek. List of duties. Epictetus, in. vii) 

'Can you conceive an Epicurean commonwealth? . . . What will happen? 

Whence is the population to be kept up? Who will educate them? Who will be 
Director of Adolescents? Who will be Director of Physical Training? What will 
be taught?' (Greek. Ibid.) 

'Nature produces a special love of offspring' and 'To live according to Nature is 
the supreme good.' (Roman. Cicero, De Off. i. iv, and De Legibus, i. xxi) 

'The second of these achievements is no less glorious than the first; for while 
the first did good on one occasion, the second will continue to benefit the state 
for ever.' (Roman. Cicero. De Off. i. xxii) 

'Great reverence is owed to a child.' (Roman. Juvenal, xiv. 47) 

'The Master said. Respect the young.' (Ancient Chinese. Analects, ix. 22) 

'The killing of the women and more especially of the young boys and girls who 
are to go to make up the future strength of the people, is the saddest part... and 
we feel it very sorely.' (Redskin. Account of the Battle of Wounded Knee. ERE 

V. 432) 

5. The Law of Justice 


'Has he approached his neighbour's wife?' (Babylonian. List of Sins. ERE v. 

'Thou shalt not commit adultery.' (Ancient Jewish. Exodus 20:14) 

'I saw in Nastrond (= Hell)... beguilers of others' wives.' (Old Norse. 
Volospd 38, 39) 


'Has he drawn false boundaries?' (Babylonian. List of Sins. ERE v. 446) 

'To wrong, to rob, to cause to be robbed.' (Babylonian. Ibid.) 

'I have not stolen.' (Ancient Egyptian. Confession of the Righteous Soul. 
EREy. 478) 

'Thou shalt not steal.' (Ancient Jewish. Exodus 20:15) 

'Choose loss rather than shameful gains.' (Greek. Chilon Fr. 10. Diels) 

'Justice is the settled and permanent intention of rendering to each man his 
rights.' (Roman. Justinian, Institutions., I. i) 

'If the native made a "find" of any kind (e.g., a honey tree) and marked it, it 
was thereafter safe for him, as far as his own tribesmen were concerned, no 
matter how long he left it.' (Australian Aborigines. ERE v. 441) 

'The first point of justice is that none should do any mischief to another 
unless he has first been attacked by the other's wrongdoing. The second is 
that a man should treat common property as common property, and private 
property as his own. There is no such thing as private property by nature, 
but things have become private either through prior occupation (as when 
men of old came into empty territory) or by conquest, or law, or agreement, 
or stipulation, or casting lots.' (Roman. Cicero, De Off. I. vii) 


'Whoso takes no bribe ... well pleasing is this to Samas.' (Babylonian. ERE 

V. 445) 

'I have not traduced the slave to him who is set over him.' (Ancient 
Egyptian. Confession of the Righteous Soul. ERE v. 478) 

'Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.' (Ancient Jewish. 
Exodus 20:16) 

'Regard him whom thou knowest like him whom thou knowest not.' 
(Ancient Egyptian. ERE v. 482) 

'Do no unrighteousness in judgement. You must not consider the fact that 
one party is poor nor the fact that the other is a great man.' (Ancient Jewish. 
Leviticus 19:15) 

6. The Law of Good Faith and Veracity 

'A sacrifice is obliterated by a lie and the merit of alms by an act of fraud.' 
(Hindu. Janet, i. 6) 

'Whose mouth, full of lying, avails not before thee: thou burnest their 
utterance.' (Babylonian. Hymn to Samas. ERE v. 445) 

'With his mouth was he full of Yea, in his heart full of Nay? (Babylonian. ERE 
V. 446) 

'I have not spoken falsehood.' (Ancient Egyptian. Confession of the Righteous 
Soul ERE v. 478) 

'I sought no trickery, nor swore false oaths.' (Anglo-Saxon. Beowulf, 2738) 

'The Master said. Be of unwavering good faith.' (Ancient 

Chinese. Analects, viii. 13) 

'In Nastrond (= Hell) I saw the perjurers.' (Old Norse. Volospd 39) 

'Hateful to me as are the gates of Hades is that man who says one thing, and 
hides another in his heart.' (Greek. Homer. Iliad, ix. 312) 

'The foundation of justice is good faith.' (Roman. Cicero, De Off. i.vii) 

'[The gentleman] must learn to be faithful to his superiors and to keep 
promises.' (Ancient Chinese. Analects, i. 8) 

'Anything is better than treachery.' (Old Norse. Hdvamdl 124) 

7. The Law of Mercy 

'The poor and the sick should be regarded as lords of the atmosphere.' (Hindu. 
Janet, i. 8) 

'Whoso makes intercession for the weak, well pleasing is this to Samas.' 
(Babylonian. ERE v. 445) 

'Has he failed to set a prisoner free?' (Babylonian. List of Sins. ERE v. 446) 

'I have given bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothes to the naked, a 
ferry boat to the boatless.' 

(Ancient Egyptian. ERE v. 446) 

'One should never strike a woman; not even with a flower.' (Hindu. Janet, i. 8) 

'There, Thor, you got disgrace, when you beat women.' (Old Norse. 

Hdrbarthsljoth 38) 

'In the Dalebura tribe a woman, a cripple from birth, was carried about by the 
tribes-people in turn until her death at the age of sixty-six.'... 'They never 
desert the sick.' (Australian Aborigines. ERE v. 443) 

'You will see them take care of., widows, orphans, and old men, never 
reproaching them.' (Redskin. ERE v. 439) 

'Nature confesses that she has given to the human race the tenderest hearts, by 
giving us the power to weep. This is the best part of us.' (Roman. Juvenal, xv. 

'They said that he had been the mildest and gentlest of the kings of the world.' 
(Anglo-Saxon. Praise of the hero in Beowulf, 3180) 

'When thou cuttest down thine harvest... and hast forgot a sheaf., thou shalt 
not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for 
the widow.' (Ancient Jewish. Deuteronomy 24:19) 

8. The Law of Magnanimity 


'There are two kinds of injustice: the first is found in those who do an 
injury, the second in those who fail to protect another from injury when 
they can.' (Roman. Cicero, De Off. I. vii) 

'Men always knew that when force and injury was offered they might be 
defenders of themselves; they knew that howsoever men may seek their own 
commodity, yet if this were done with injury unto others it was not to be 
suffered, but by all men and by all good means to be withstood.' (English. 
Hooker, Laws ofEccl. Polity, I. ix. 4) 

'To take no notice of a violent attack is to strengthen the heart of the 
enemy. Vigour is valiant, but cowardice is vile.' (Ancient Egyptian. The 
Pharaoh Senusert III, cit. H. R. Hall, Ancient History of the Near East, p. 

'They came to the fields of joy, the fresh turf of the Fortunate Woods and 
the dweUings of the Blessed . . . here was the company of those who had 
suffered wounds fighting for their fatherland.' (Roman. Virgil, Aeneid, vi. 
638-9, 660) 

'Courage has got to be harder, heart the stouter, spirit the sterner, as our 
strength weakens. Here lies our lord, cut to pieces, out best man in the 
dust. If anyone thinks of leaving this battle, he can howl forever.' (Anglo- 
Saxon. Maldon, 312) 

'Praise and imitate that man to whom, while life is pleasing, death is not 
grievous.' (Stoic. Seneca, Ep. liv) 

'The Master said. Love learning and if attacked be ready to die for the 
Good Way.' (Ancient Chinese. Analects, viii. 13) 


'Death is to be chosen before slavery and base deeds.' (Roman. Cicero, De 
Off. i, xxiii) 

'Death is better for every man than life with shame.' (Anglo-Saxon. Beowulf, 

'Nature and Reason command that nothing uncomely, nothing effeminate, 
nothing lascivious be done or thought.' (Roman. Cicero, De Off. i. iv) 

'We must not listen to those who advise us "being men to think human 
thoughts, and being mortal to think mortal thoughts," but must put on 
immortality as much as is possible and strain every nerve to live according 
to that best part of us, which, being small in bulk, yet much more in its 
power and honour surpasses all else.' (Ancient Greek. Aristotle, Eth. Nic. 

'The soul then ought to conduct the body, and the spirit of our minds the 
soul. This is therefore the first Law, whereby the highest power of the mind 
requireth obedience at the hands of all the rest.' (Hooker, op. cit. i. viii. 6) 

'Let him not desire to die, let him not desire to live, let him wait for his time 
... let him patiently bear hard words, entirely abstaining from bodily 

pleasures.' (Ancient Indian. Laws of Manu. ERE ii. 98) 

'He who is unmoved, who has restrained his senses ... is said to be devoted. 
As a flame in a windless place that flickers not, so is the devoted.' (Ancient 
Indian. Bhagavad gita. ERE ii 90) 

(c) 'Is not the love of Wisdom a practice of death?' (Ancient Greek. Plato, 

Phadeo, 81 A) 'I know that I hung on the gallows for nine nights, wounded with the spear as a sacrifice to Odin, myself offered to Myself.' (Old Norse. Hdvamdl, I. 10 in Corpus Poeticum Boreale; stanza 139 in Hildebrand's Lieder der Alteren 
Edda. 1922) 

'Verily, verily I say to you unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and 
dies, it remains alone, but if it dies it bears much fruit. He who loves his Ufe 
loses it.' (Christian. John 12:24,25) 

Posted by The Augustine Club at Columbia University, March 2002, because the 
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