C.S. Lewis, the Prophet

I’m reading C.S. Lewis’ autobiography “Surprised by Joy” right now, and it has a wonderful quote on the problems with cars:

I number it among my blessings that my father had no car, while yet most of my friends had, and sometimes took me for a drive. This meant that all these distant objects could be visited just enough to clothe them with memories and not impossible desires, while yet they remained ordinarily as inaccessible as the Moon. The deadly power of rushing about wherever I pleased had not been given me. I measured distances by the standard of man, man walking on his two feet, not by the standard of the internal combustion engine. I had not been allowed to deflower the very idea of distance; in return I possessed “infinite riches” in what would have been to motorists “a little room.” The truest and most horrible claim made for modern transport is that it “annihilates space.” It does. It annihilates one of the most glorious gifts we have been given. It is a vile inflation which lowers the value of distance, so that a modern boy travels a hundred miles with less sense of liberation and pilgrimage and adventure than his grandfather got from travelling ten. Of course if a man hates space and wants it to be annihilated that is another matter. Why not creep into his coffin at once? There is little enough space there.

As one who “needs” to commute to work every day, this made me realize again how backwards our “progress” has indeed taken us.

3 responses to “C.S. Lewis, the Prophet”

  1. Indeed! Unfortunately I’m the least likely person to go on a hike unless I’m guaranteed good weather and no mosquitoes.

    Traversing distance is one of the most endearing qualities of good fiction: Gimli, Legolas, Aragorn running after Merry and Pippin for days.

    Walking long distances is also fantastic for praying.

  2. The longer I live, the less I want to own a car any more. I hope that I hardly need to use it when I get to SSU.

    I’ll have to find Aragorn and go for a nice hike.

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