There’s No Need To Go On Pretending One Was Right
That’s what we all find when we reach this country, that we’ve all been wrong. That’s the great joke. There’s no need to go on pretending one was right. After that, we begin living.
– C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce
Despite all the lip service he’s given, Lewis continues to offer one of the most revolutionary perspectives among us. Over a game of badminton and beer two nights ago, Ryan and I discussed Lewis a bit. Its notable that, as Ryan asserted, Lewis was among the apologeticists who took it upon themselves to reason God into existence, or rather, prove it. Yet, and especially for his time, Lewis remains revolutionary, in my opinion, because of the outrageous gap between his notions and the actual conceded reality. The masses may invoke his name, yet remain oblivious to his actual truths. Not unlike Jesus, I suppose, and in a sense, further proving the un-wisdom of the crowds maintained by Kierkegaard.
This single line from The Great Divorce summarizes effortlessly much of the confusion I’ve found in asking the honest questions. It embodies the tragedy that life is built upon and the comic relief that Buechner spoke of when he said “Blessed is he who gets the joke.” I spoke here on my blog last week of feeling ground to a halt, and my thoughts have yet to diverge. I’ve stopped pretending I am right, stopped believing doubtlessly that I am, and that is the only thing I can be sure of. No, I’m trying to stop pretending I am right. No passage is instantaneous, unless it attempts the same pretense as that of internet travel.
The fanal stanza is “After that, we begin living.” I can’t abandon all notions of truth, because I also know that no life as we wish this implied will actually be shaped the way we ourselves imagine it. This is the inevitable, and the same divergence of expectations that Lewis illustrates in the The Great Divorce, both on micro and macro levels. It would seem simple enough, but dropping my notions of being right, and dropping my imagination of goodness in life are the largest and most impossible of steps.
All I know is what I do not know, and walking in philosophical circles is not beyond me.