Breeze of the Centuries

If you follow the news each day, it would seem that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, a Democrat,  don’t agree with each other very often. However, C. S. Lewis makes the point, in “Breeze of the Centuries” (CUA Primer, page 14), that those of us who all live during the same time in history take for granted some assumptions so completely that we rarely bother to express them or to examine them.  That means that even two people from the same time who seem very opposed to each other may actually agree on many unspoken things. In what ways to you think that Lewis gives a helpful remedy to such blind spots? Have you ever encountered the past in a way that made you look at things in a fresh way?

Photo: “Santorini” by Maggie Meng is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Cara Dimarcantonio says:

    It is a common misconception that each generation is better or worse than those that came before it. Lewis reminds us in today’s text that this could not be farther from the truth. Studying history has allowed me to find truth beyond that which the present generation has to offer. Each generation offers both truth and lies, and it is incumbent upon every individual to discern what will uplift them in their lives and what will only drag them down.

  2. Ethan Blanchard says:

    I liked Lewis’s suggestion that we read old books. I love to read history (or historical) books to see how humans have not changed over the millennia. You often hear things in the mass-science (“science” that will say whatever you want because such a massive volume is produced and none of it is fact-checked or tested independently) that may state things like how “today’s kids” or whomever are so different from their parents or how the generations change so much. This isn’t true, we are very similar today as to are ancient ancestors. Our advantage is our hindsight. We are certain about things that used to be questioned and question things that used to be certain.

    The biggest example for me of how we have NOT changed is the Church. Almost any theological question about our humanity, our place, and our purpose has been thought, asked, and answered by the myriad of Church Fathers, Popes, and Saints. Our biggest mistake is forgetting that these are answered and continually reasking the same questions.

    The best way to live is to look at the past. We can see what worked and what didn’t. We should do everything that worked (tradition) and create new paths for things that didn’t. The hard part is discovering what has been done and recognizing that it was successful.

  3. Jaesen Evangelista says:

    I like to keep a journal every now and then to express how I’m feeling about something. And this kind of practice has been with me since 5th grade, I think. That’s a long time ago and whenever I look at my old journals, I remember some things that I have been blinded from.

    In 8th grade, I wrote a little something about relationships and how I feel towards them. It was definitely naive and a bit too presumptuous, but it made me remember a lot of important lessons to live by when being in a relationship, such as compassion, understanding, and forgiveness. I had forgotten how important it is to have patience and try to listen to the other person, even if you don’t want to. In today’s age, everyone is filled with so much self-love and confidence that at times it’s hard to remember there are other people around. Back in 8th grade, I was surrounded by people who served others more than themselves and when I wrote in my journal at the time, that’s how I felt relationships should be. It was definitely a refreshing outlook on things in the present.

  4. Deanna Eichelberger says:

    When reading Lewis’s piece about reading old books I found it quite impactful. When people say we need to learn from the past so we do not make the same mistakes in the future, that can be compared to Lewis’s idea of reading old books. If we do not look into the past we can not grow and think differently and inevitably make the same mistakes over and over again. By reading old books we can also learn new things because it is new material to us, rather then more modern material we sometimes read. The more modern the material the more we already know about it, so to truly become educated in a subject we need to look into its roots. So falling back to Lewis’s idea of looking back to old material/books I could not agree more because as I said before we are bound to make the same mistakes we had before if we do not become educated in our past.

  5. Diego Amaya says:

    The past made me view things in a new way. I learned from all my past mistakes and I try to not make them again. History has taught me a lot but I wonder what the books in the future will hold.

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