Beware the Unenchanted Man (C.S. Lewis)

C.S. Lewis had quite a few interesting things to say in this little article. Here’s one I found worth taking note of:

I think there are these four ages about nearly everything. Let’s give them names. They are the Unenchanted Age, the Enchanted Age, the Disenchanted Age, and the Re-enchanted Age. As a little child I was Unenchanted about bicycles. Then, when I first learned to ride, I was Enchanted. By sixteen I was Disenchanted and now I am Re-enchanted (p. 68).

He continues,

You read an author in whom love is treated as lust and all war as murder – and so forth. But are you reading a Disenchanted man or only an Unenchanted man? Has the writer been through the Enchantment and come out on to the bleak highlands, or is he simply a subman who is free from the love mirage as a dog is free, and free from the heroic mirage as a coward is free? If Disenchanted, he may have something worth hearing to say, though less than a Re-enchanted man. If Unenchanted, Into the fire with his book. He is talking of what he doesn’t understand. But the great danger we have to guard against in this age is the Unenchanted man, mistaking himself for, and mistaken by others for, the Disenchanted man… (pp. 70-71).

-C.S. Lewis, Talking About Bicycles, from Present Concerns

When he speaks of being ‘unechanted’ it might be helpful to think of Revelation 3:16: ‘So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.’

It is also reminiscent of a line from Chesterton’s Everlasting Man:

When the Professor is told by the Polynesian that once there was nothing except a great feathered serpent, unless the learned man feels a thrill and a half temptation to wish it were true, he is no judge of such things at all.

The point? Beware of apathy and disinterestedness.

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2 thoughts on “Beware the Unenchanted Man (C.S. Lewis)

  1. Cool post 🙂 I love C.S. Lewis, but I had never heard of this article. Awesome concept, the unenchanted, enchanted, disenchanted, re-enchanted. I would say I’m in the disenchanted stage of my life, so now I’m looking forward to re-enchantment!

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