Sunday, April 11, 2004

More Letters

More Lewis letters of note:
  • To Owen Barfield. 4 April 1949.

    Talking of beasts and birds, have you ever noticed this contrast: that when you read a scientific account of any animal's life you get an impression of laborious, incessant, almost rational economic activity (as if all animals were Germans), but when you study any animal you know, what at once strikes you is their cheerful fatuity, the pointlessness of nearly all they do.

  • To Owen Barfield. 10 November 1948.

    I wonder whether what you say about depressions does not really mark an advance in self-criticism and objectivity -- i.e., that the very same experiences which would once have led you to say "how nasty everyone (or the weather, or the political situation) is at present" now leads you to say "I am depressed". A Copernican revolution, revealing as motion in the self what in one's more naif period was mistaken for motion in the cosmos.

  • To a godchild. 3 April 1949.
    * * *
    Remember that there are only three kinds of things anyone need ever do. (1)Things we ought to do. (2) Things we've got to do. (3) Things we like doing. I say this because some people seem to spend so much of their time doing things for none of these reasons, things like reading books they don't like because other people read them.
    * * *

  • To his brother. 21 April 1940.
    * * * I was going into town one day and had got as far as the gate when I realized that I had odd shoes on, one of them clean, the other dirty. There was no time to go back. As it was impossible to clean the dirty one, I decided that the only way of making myself look less ridiculous was to dirty the clean one. Now wd. you have believed that this is an impossible operation? You can of course get some mud on it -- but it remains obviously a clean shoe that has had an accident and won't look in the least like a shoe that you have been for a walk in. One discovers new snags and catches in life every day.


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