November 21, 2008

November 22, 1963

Where were you? That's what's been on the news radio this morning. I'm old enough to remember where I was November 22, 1963. I was in third grade and I remember all the teachers crying.

Actually, on that day, three people died within hours of each other. But one so overshadowed the other two. JFK, our first TV president was assassinated. Being a kid, I was frustrated the following Saturday when cartoons were preempted for John F Kennedy's funeral that went on and on and on ... !!!

CS Lewis and Aldous Huxley died too. Huxley wrote the book Brave New World describing a totalitarian society that disregards individual dignity, and worships science and machines (GK Chesterton did a spoof on the title writing a book called Brave New Family). His grandfather, Thomas Huxley was a friend of Charles Darwin. I attribute Darwinism to him. I think Darwin would not like seeing where his observations around the world on the Beagle voyage have come to.

CS Lewis is one of my favorite authors. I love everything he wrote. He is so quotable too. Like this: "Those of us who have been true readers all our life seldom fully realize the enormous extension of our being which we owe to authors. We realize it best when we talk with an unliterary friend. He may be full of goodness and good sense but he inhabits a tiny world. In it, we should be suffocated. The man who is contented to be only himself, is in a prison. My own eyes are not enough for me. I will see through those of others ... Literary experience heals the wound, without undermining the privilege, of individuality. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do." Like him, if I'm not reading good books, I "feel impoverished."

I have a book called Between Heaven and Hell, subtitled, "A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death with JFK, CSLewis and Huxley". Peter Kreeft imagines their discourse as a modern Socratic dialog - a part of The Great Conversation that has been going on for centuries. Does human life have meaning? Is it possible to know about life after death? What if one could prove that Jesus was God?

Kreeft portrays Lewis as a Christian theist, Kennedy as a modern humanist, and Huxley as an Eastern pantheist. Lots of good thought written very creatively. Thoughts I've wrestled with myself as I interact with varieties of people.

(Peter Kreeft's book, The Journey, I read aloud to Monte and Dawson as we drove around the deserts of Arizona for a couple weeks. It's a "Spiritual Roadmap for Modern Pilgrims". A journey with Socrates out of the cave in search of truth through varying worldviews.)

I love books.
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