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Lewis Christian Behaviour 1. He replied that, as far as he could make out, God was "The sort of person who is always snooping round to see if anyone is enjoying himself and then trying to stop it.
In reality, moral rules are directions for running the human machine. Every moral rule is there to prevent a breakdown, or a strain, or a friction, in the running of that machine.
That is why these rules at first seem to be constantly interfering with our natural inclinations. When you are being taught how to use any machine, the instructor keeps on saying, "No, don't do it like that," because, of course, there are all sorts of things that look all right and seem to you the natural way of treating the machine, but do not really work.
Some people prefer to talk about moral "ideals" rather than moral rules and about moral "idealism" rather than moral obedience.
Now it is, of course, quite true that moral perfection is an "ideal" in the sense that we cannot achieve it. In that sense every kind of perfection is, for us humans, an ideal; we cannot succeed in being perfect car drivers or perfect tennis players or in drawing perfectly straight lines.
But there is another sense in which it is very misleading to call moral perfection an ideal. When a man says that a certain woman, or house, or ship, or garden is "his ideal" he does not mean unless he is rather a fool that everyone else ought to have the same ideal.
In such matters we are entitled to have different tastes and, therefore, different ideals. But it is dangerous to describe a man who tries very hard to keep the moral law as a "man of high ideals," because this might lead you to think that moral perfection was a private taste of his own and that the rest of us were not called on to share it.
This would be a disastrous mistake. Perfect behaviour may be as unattainable as perfect gear-changing when we drive; but it is a necessary ideal prescribed for all men by the very nature of the human machine just as perfect gear-changing is an ideal prescribed for all drivers by the very nature of cars.
And it would be even more dangerous to think of oneself as a person "of high ideals" because one is trying to tell no lies at all instead of only a few lies or never to commit adultery instead of committing it only seldom or not to be a bully instead of being only a moderate bully.
It might lead you to become a prig and to think you were rather a special person who deserved to be congratulated on his "idealism. To be sure, perfect arithmetic is "an ideal"; you will certainly make some mistakes in some calculations.
But there is nothing very fine about trying to be quite accurate at each step in each sum. It would be idiotic not to try; for every mistake is going to cause you trouble later on. In the same way every moral failure is going to cause trouble, probably to others and certainly to yourself.
By talking about rules and obedience instead of "ideals" and "idealism" we help to remind ourselves of these facts. Now let us go a step further.
There are two ways in which the human machine goes wrong. One is when human individuals drift apart from one another, or else collide with one another and do one another damage, by cheating or bullying.
The other is when things go wrong inside the individual-when the different parts of him his different faculties and desires and so on either drift apart or interfere with one another. You can get the idea plain if you think of us as a fleet of ships sailing in formation.
The voyage will be a success only, in the first place, if the ships do not collide and get in one another's way; and, secondly, if each ship is seaworthy and has her engines in good order.
As a matter of fact, you cannot have either of these two things without the other.
If the ships keep on having collisions they will not remain seaworthy very long. On the other hand, if their steering gears are out of order they will not be able to avoid collisions. Or, if you like, think of humanity as a band playing a tune. To get a good result, you need two things.
Each player's individual instrument must be in tune and also each must come in at the right moment so as to combine with all the others. But there is one thing we have not yet taken into account. We have not asked where the fleet is trying to get to, or what piece of music the band is trying to play.
The instruments might be all in tune and might all come in at the right moment, but even so the performance would not be a success if they had been engaged to provide dance music and actually played nothing but Dead Marches.
And however well the fleet sailed, its voyage would be a failure if it were meant to reach New York and actually arrived at Calcutta.
Morality, then, seems to be concerned with three things. Firstly, with fair play and harmony between individuals. Secondly, with what might be called tidying up or harmonising the things inside each individual.
Thirdly, with the general purpose of human life as a whole:Clive Staples Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland, on 29 November His father was Albert James Lewis (–), a solicitor whose father Richard had come to . Updated world stock indexes. Get an overview of major world indexes, current values and stock market data.
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