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Does Beauty Matter when Bombs Start Falling?

C.S. Lewis almost died in the trench warfare of WW-I

He became best friends with Tolkien

He sold 100 million books

On the cusp of WW-II, he gave an iconic lecture at Oxford University (1939)

His question:

Does beauty matter when bombs start falling?

THIS is his profound answer:

“Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice. Human culture has always had to exist under the shadow of something infinitely more important than itself.

If men had postponed the search for knowledge and beauty until they were secure, the search would never have begun.

Men propound mathematical theorems in beleaguered cities, conduct metaphysical arguments in condemned cells, make jokes on scaffolds, and comb their hair at Thermopylae. This is not panache; it is our nature.

God makes no appetite in vain. We can therefore pursue knowledge and beauty in the sure confidence that by so doing we are either advancing to the vision of God ourselves or indirectly helping others to do so.

A man who has lived in many places is not likely to be deceived by the local errors of his village; the scholar has lived in many times and is therefore…immune from the great cataract of nonsense that pours from the press of his own age.

The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.”

- C.S. Lewis


I've always been a huge fan of C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. They're inspirational, and their perspectives on the world resound today as strongly and loudly as ever. The world often feels like it's on fire--one big dumpster fire. But we need to keep creating. We need to keep sharing light in an ever-darkening world. They need our light more than ever.

Shaun Barrowes


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