Tuesday, November 11, 2008

C.S. Lewis on Lust

From Stewart McAllister's CS Lewis's Argument from Desire:

“Someone who wanted to object to this argument might reply with the modern view that ‘divine dissatisfaction’, a constant search for something beyond what we have, is a characteristic valuable for survival. Thus its existence and persistence can be explained on grounds of evolution by natural selection. The price one pays for taking this line is that it makes the desires in question unsatisfiable in principle. If our ‘infinite longings’ do not mean that an infinite object exists to satisfy them, then they mean that we shall never be satisfied”.

“They claim that all our highest desires, whether they are ethical, religious, or aesthetic, are the material products of a lower-order desire (one that could have evolved) that has been first repressed and then sublimated in another form. Great art is, like our daydreams, just another type of wish fulfillment. What we call love is merely a sublimated form of that instinctual lust which lies buried deep in our unconscious.

The lust is primary, originary, natural thing; love is but the artificial, socially acceptable form that lust takes when it is filtered through our elaborate system of psychological defense mechanisms”.

“Why, Lewis asks, must we say that love is a sublimation of lust? Is it not equally possible that lust is a falling away from love? Why must love be considered a projection from below, or evolution? May it not be rather an incarnation from above, a transposition from a heavenly key into an earthly one? Is not the universal human experience that of a search for higher things that goes terribly astray? Of a ‘looking for love’ that goes awry and devolves into lust”?

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