Words from 1948…

In 1948 C.S.Lewis wrote an essay “On Living in an Atomic Age”. Bombs had been dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki so fear about atomic technology was on everyone’s mind. His words in those perilous times, are just as relevant in the uncertain times we are living today. I borrowed this from a blog I follow (erinapier – Hometown).

“In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. ‘How are we to live in an atomic age?’ I am tempted to reply: ‘Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.’

“In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors – anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.”

“This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things – praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts – not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.”

“What the atomic bomb has really done is to remind us forcibly of the sort of world we are living in and which, during the prosperous period before, we were beginning to forget. And this reminder is, as far as it goes, a good thing.”

“Let the bomb find you living well.” – C. S. Lewis

Disclaimer – I am not discouraging nor opposing the vaccine. I am not downplaying the seriousness of COVID. I have had COVID. I have had family get very sick with COVID. I have known two people who have died from COVID. I am hurting too and I am tired of being afraid. This essay just helped me put things in perspective and I hope it helps you too.

7 thoughts on “Words from 1948…

  1. Perspective. What we most need and what we are most missing. It seems to me the worst thing we have lost in these last years is hope. Everywhere you turn, someone is sounding the death knell for something we love, something that gives life meaning. This passage is the perfect perspective that we need. Thanks for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi
    Loved your post. Resonated with me too. I have been sick of facing the worst case scenario, often in my imagination. Often none of what I thought transpired.
    Growing up in the 80s, it was the Star Wars and a nuclear war between the USA and the USSR. For sometime there was peace and then there was the Al Queda. By the time I reached my fifties, it was Corona.
    I’m not afraid anymore and that is because of the Grace of God.
    I can only die once . And when I die I want to wake up with God. I’d rather focus my attention on that.

    Liked by 1 person

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