Friday, 28 April 2006

Longing for beauty

“The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things ... are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.”

—C. S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory,” in Transposition: And Other Addresses (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1949), p. 24.

4 Comments:

MM said...

Awesome little bit o'Lewis- thanks!

Gil said...

A very evocative look at beauty, I've always found Lewis's perspective compelling. I'm not sure if you've read Wright's 'Simply Christian' but he seems to be strongly influenced by this idea. He begins his summary of the Christian faith with the idea of human experience being haunted by 'echoes of a voice' and one of the main echoes he points to is the existence of beauty.

Aaron G said...

I'd guess that many Jews and Muslims would want to disagree with Lewis. Beauty is not simply through Torah or Koran, it is in them. Beauty is inseparable from the text itself.

MM said...

Awesome little bit o'Lewis- thanks!

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