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C.S. Lewis on Men Without Chests (And What That Means)

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“Men Without Chests” is the curious title of the first chapter of C.S. Lewis’ Abolition of Man. In the book, Lewis explains that the “The Chest” is one of the “indispensable liaison officers between cerebral man and visceral man. It may even be said that it is by this middle element that man is man: for by his intellect he is mere spirit and by his appetite mere animal.” Without “Chests” we are unable to have confidence that we can grasp objective reality and objective truth.

The result of such chest-less education, as Lewis warns, is a dystopian future. “We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise,” says Lewis. “We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.”

A YouTube channel called CSLewisDoodle contains a number of videos that illustrate some of Lewis’s selected essays to make them easier to understand. This video contains the essay on “”Men Without Chests.” (Because the essay contains a number of obscure literary references, CSLewisDoodle has put together a PDF with the text and explanatory notes.)

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Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).

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