C. S. Lewis: Man’s Power Over Nature (Part 3)

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 validity other than that of their felt emotional weight at a given moment, have failed them. Everything except the sic volosic jubeo has been explained away.1 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 honor, or care for posterity. When all that says ‘it is good’ has been debunked, what says ‘I want’ remains. It cannot be exploded or ‘seen through’ because it never had any pretensions.
Part 2»
C. S. Lewis |  The Abolition of Man: Or Reflections On Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English In the Upper Forms of Schools (New York: MacMillan, 1947), 41.


1. This is a allusion, perhaps via Luther or Kipling, who famously used this same expression, to a passage in the Roman satirist Juvenal, “‘Hoc volo, sic jubeo, sit pro ratione voluntas’. ‘I will it, I insist on it. Let my will stand rather than reason’.”


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