Saturday, February 23, 2008

Rudyard Kipling

C S Lewis discussing Rudyard Kipling and his writing, makes this observation:

If all men stood talking of their rights before they went up a mast or down a sewer or stoked a furnace or joined an army, we should all perish; nor while they talked of their rights would they learn to do these things. And I think we must agree with Kipling that the man preoccupied with his own rights is not only a disastrous, but a very unlovely object; indeed, one of the worst mischiefs we do by treating a man unjustly is that we force him to be thus preoccupied.
But if so, then it is all the more important that men should in fact be treated with justice. If we all need ‘licking into shape’ and if, while undergoing the process, we must not guard our rights, then it is all the more important that someone else should guard them for us.

From They Asked for a Paper, a collection of various papers produced by Lewis over the years. This address was given to the English Association.

As always, Lewis discusses the subject with intensity and ease, with insight and detail, and, as always, he manages to produce some clear statements of his own that stand outside the subject.

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