In The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis presents a very powerful defense of the importance and relevance of objective and universal truth and moral ethics (natural law). Both astounding and prophetic, this book has been ranked number seven by National Review in their 100 Best Nonfiction Books of the Twentieth Century and as the second best book of the 20th Century by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
As Lewis warns in the book in critiquing the dehumanization, reductionism and materialism of the modern era, if man chooses to treat himself as raw material, raw material he will be: not raw material to be manipulated, as he fondly imagined, by himself, but by mere appetite . . . in the person of his dehumanized Conditioners.
He further notes the following:
A dogmatic belief in objective value is necessary to the very idea of a rule which is not tyranny or an obedience which is not slavery. . . . The process which, if not checked, will abolish Man goes on apace among Communists and Democrats no less than among Fascists. The methods may (at first) differ in brutality. But many a mild-eyed scientist in pince-nez, many a popular dramatist, many an amateur philosopher in our midst, means in the long run just the same as the Nazi rulers of Germany.
You cannot go on seeing through things for ever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it. . . . If you see through everything, then everything is transparent. But a wholly transparent world is an invisible world. To see through all things is the same as not to see.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Men Without Chests
Chapter 2. The Way
Chapter 3. The Abolition of Man
AppendixIllustration of the Tao
"A real triumph."
Owen Barfield, author of Saving the Appearances: A Study in Idolatry and other books
"I read Lewis for comfort and pleasure many years ago, and a glance into the books revives my old admiration."
John Updike, novelist and poet
"If wit and wisdom, style and scholarship are requisites to passage through the pearly gates, Mr. Lewis will be among the angels."
The New Yorker
"Lewis, perhaps more than any other twentieth-century writer, forced those who listened to him and read his works to come to terms with their own philosophical presuppositions."
Los Angeles Times
"C. S. Lewis was a genius."
Thomas S. Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus, State University of New York Upstate Health Science Center
"C. S. Lewis is the ideal persuader for the half-convinced, for the good man who would like to be a Christian but finds that his intellect getting in the way."
The New York Times Book Review