Thursday, February 21, 2013

The power of Man to make himself what he pleases means the power of some men to make other men what they please.

Abolition of Man
The modern institution of public education in the United States has its beginnings in Prussian Socialism informed by Marx and Hegel, and pragmatised by Bacon, Dewey, and Mann. The goal was not to educate an embodied soul, but to school a child into a specific kind of citizen – the product desired by the state. Family, traditions, religion, traditional morality and ethics were all obstacles to this production and therefore are to be “schooled” away.

In The Abolition of Man (1944), C. S. Lewis prophetically warned of the day when the state would successfully impose its program upon mankind. How very right he was, and is:

“The final stage [of Man’s conquest of Nature] 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.”

“…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 please.”

“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 [Logos, Absolute, etc.] – 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. Judgments 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.”

C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man, 1944.

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