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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 22, 2013 / 19 Kislev, 5774

C.S. Lewis: Rescuing desire

By Michael Gerson



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In appreciations of the writer and Cambridge don C.S. Lewis, it is often noted that he died on the same day that President John F. Kennedy was murdered. Beyond a confusing congestion at St. Peter’s gate, this signifies little — except that lasting influence comes in varied forms.

The eternal flame for Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery is far from the small plaque commemorating Lewis that is to be unveiled Friday in Poets’ Corner at Westminster Abbey. But many will make a pilgrimage to the South Transept to honor not just an author but also a man who changed their lives.

Any writer finds reading Lewis a joy. He wrote so lucidly on such a range of topics, from medieval literature to modern education to church music to nuclear war. But for some of us, Lewis’s arguments also involve a sudden, jarring reorientation of perspective. The landscape he describes seems fantastical, with mountains jutting downward and rivers in the sky — until, with a twist of logic and common sense, you realize it is you who have been upside down. Intending to curl up with a good book, you find yourself like the prisoner freed from Plato’s cave or Lazarus leaving his tomb.

It is the modern assumption that we project our deepest desires on the universe. We long for G0D, so we conjure up an image of God. We want moral order, so we create values. We feel homeless, so we imagine an eternal home. Our desires, in this view, discredit the reality of our hopes. Dissected and analyzed, they are irrational emotions, socially conditioned sentiments or electrical impulses in the brain.

Lewis called this “the poison of subjectivism,” and he drew out the consequences unsparingly. In the realm of ethics, it makes the determination of right and wrong impossible, which hardly seemed an abstract matter in the midst of World War II. “Unless there is some objective standard of good,” said Lewis, “overarching Germans, Japanese and ourselves alike whether any of us obey it or no, then of course the Germans are as competent to create their ideology as we are to create ours.”

Here Lewis applies the first twist, applying some skepticism to modern skepticism. What if the common attempt of Babylonians, Egyptians, ancient Jews, Confucians, Stoics and so many others to discover a moral order — which Lewis calls the “massive unanimity of the practical reason in man” — was perfectly rational, approximating (with typical human failings and limits) the “absolute reality of elementary moral platitudes”?

So far, this involves the rescue of moral standards, which most of us find a mixed blessing. But Lewis goes further, or, as he liked to say, “further up and further in.” His second twist is more ambitious: What if all of the ancient, recurring myths of the human race, all the yearnings of prophets and sages for the touch of God, for a visit from God, were not just the lies of poets but the hints and rumors of another world? In this account, our deepest, unsatisfied desires for joy, meaning and homecoming are not cruel jokes of nature. They are meant for fulfillment. What we desire most, said Lewis, are “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.”

To his own considerable surprise, Lewis came to believe that Christianity fulfilled and completed the ancient stories. “The old myth of the Dying God,” he said, “without ceasing to be myth, comes down from the heaven of legend and imagination to the earth of history. . . . By becoming fact it does not cease to be myth: that is the miracle.”

Having found truth in myths, Lewis decided to produce his own — not as pleasing distractions but as reminders that we actually inhabit a world of fantastical, eternal creatures, with noble quests to perform and stories that do not end. And when we discover our true citizenship, he says, it comes with a “happiness . . . so great that it even weakens me like a wound.”

“I have come home at last!” a stunned unicorn says at the end of “The Chronicles of Narnia.” “This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now.”

This is the achievement of Lewis: to restore the dignity of our desires, which leave us homeless in this world and lead us home.

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Previously:



11/19/13 Former bridge burner starting to build them to save GOP
11/15/13 Entrepreneurs of outrage: Fear and anger sweep up policy issues
11/01/13 What Obamacare has cost Dems
10/29/13 In 6 months will this column prove prophetic?
10/22/13 Obamacare repair: It could become a crisis for modern liberalism
10/04/13 The GOP should speed Obamacare's demise. Right now, it's not
10/03/13 The tea party's revolt
09/30/13 The end of compromise?
09/17/13 A state of paralysis: Congress, Obama need to act
09/12/13 In full retreat on Syria
09/10/13 Obama misunderstands wartime leadership
09/09/13 Rallying around a gesture
08/30/13 The preacher and the politician
08/27/13 Is Obama's oft-cited best-case scenario in Syria still even possible?
08/23/13 Jordan's wary welcome
08/20/13 The hardest goodbye: A parent letting go
08/16/13 For GOP, opposition shouldn't only mean obstruction
08/13/13 Crazy, humane determination creates breakthrough for millions
08/09/13 America's bubble of complacency
07/01/11 The GOP's ideal America
03/04/11 The last doughboy and the emergence of a great nation
03/01/11 Conservatives shouldn't be so surprised by freedom
02/22/11 The progression of pain
02/18/11 The seriousness primary
02/11/11 Do Egypt's protests mean American decline?
01/27/11 No-bend Obama
01/21/11 Two good arguments for civility -- and passion -- in politics
01/11/11 Obama's staff changes give him a second chance
01/11/11 Is Arizona shooting an empty search for meaning?
01/07/11 WikiLeaks gives dangerous ammunition to a tyrant
01/04/11 Michael Vick: Symbol of the second chance
12/28/10 Social Security reform is the answer to Obama's problems --- and the nation's
12/21/10 When foreign policy realism isn't realistic
12/17/10 When it comes to politics, Obama's ego keeps getting in the way
11/26/10 Libs resort to conspiracy theories to explain Obama's problems
11/19/10 With Holder at the helm, detainee policy is a disaster
11/12/10 Blue-state budget crises spell even more trouble for Dems
10/19/10 Obama the snob
10/12/10 Seeds of victory in Afghanistan
10/05/10 Believers' remorse
10/04/10 Pound-foolish on national security
09/28/10 Babylon on the Potomac
09/27/10 Our reluctant commander in chief
09/21/10 Blue strongholds are becoming Democratic graveyards
09/17/10 For the GOP, a bittersweet brew from the Tea Party
09/15/10: Insanity's great enablers
09/13/10: The lost communicator
09/08/10: Will 2010 midterms be 1994 all over again?
09/01/10: Obama's economic wandering
08/27/10: Miracles from abroad
08/25/10: Address these issues in order to strengthen the Tea Party
08/20/10: The lost promise of Barack Obama
07/23/10: Obama's greatest nightmare
02/04/09: The Reality of Innocence
01/07/09: The Risks in Obama's Ambitions
12/31/08: Support Obama Will Need
06/13/08: Prince Charles, Organic Conservatism Icon
06/11/08: No longer a bankrupt political joke but still overshadowed
04/23/08: McCain's anger management
04/10/08: A Country for Old Men
03/06/08: Does the America Need a Hug?
03/06/08: Obama's First 100 Days
02/29/08: Words Aren't Cheap
02/22/08: He Said, They Said
02/20/08: Dying silently in Zimbabwe
02/15/08: Hillary's Unappealing Path
02/13/08: NATO's Afghan Stumbles
02/08/08: Why McCain Endures
02/06/08: One surge that led to another
02/01/08: In North Korea, Process Over Progress
01/30/08: Compassionate to the end


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