Tory Historian's blog - C. S. Lewis on impulses

Posted by Tory Historian Wednesday, December 14, 2011 ,

Tory Historian finds a great deal of C. S. Lewis's writing entertaining and instructive. A copy of Mere Christianity, the published version of Lewis's extremely successful wartime broadcasts on religion and morality has produced many gems.

Lewis says that some people have suggested to him that moral judgement that we all, according to him, have is, perhaps, just an instinct like other instincts. Not so, replies he. Instincts are like the notes in music but it is moral judgement that tells us how to play them. Left to themselves, instincts will not guide us and they never do. Even the best instincts can steer us in the wrong direction.

The most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of your own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs. There is not one of these that will not make us into devils if we set it up as an absolute guide. You might think love of humanity in general was safe, but it is not. If you leave out justice you will find yourself breaking agreements and faking evidence in trials 'for the sake of humanity', and become in the end a cruel and treacherous man.
This is a phenomenon we have all become very familiar.


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