By Bill Muehlenberg, Culture Watch
Fifty years ago (November 22, 1963), three famous men died, but the death of one greatly overshadowed the death of the others. The assassination of President John F Kennedy made world news, so that the deaths of Aldous Huxley and C. S. Lewis on the same day received almost no coverage in comparison.
While the influence of JFK as the leader of the free world has been great, it can be argued that even greater has been the influence of the other two men. Both were thinkers, writers and novelists, and their prescient works of warning still stand with us today.
Huxley’s 1932 novel Brave New World was a very important work, alerting us to where we were heading in the West. But Lewis also wrote some very important works warning us where unbridled technology and amoral science might take us. His works were prophetic in nature and are still so important today – even more so.
He rightly foretold a ruling class of technocrats and well-meaning experts who would seek to conquer nature and its ills, only to end up conquering man. As he said in his 1947 volume, The Abolition of Man: “What we call Man’s power over Nature turns out to be power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument.”
He continued, “Man’s conquest of Nature, if the dreams of some scientific planners are realized, means the rule of a few hundreds of men over billions upon billions of men. There neither is nor can be any simple increase of power on Man’s side. Each new power won by man is a power over man as well.”