A thread over at Peaceful Science started with the claim that postmodernism is atheistic, and developed into a free discussion as imprecise as is the definition of postmodernism, appropriately and inevitably, given what it is about. Someone’s mention of “classical thinking” reminded me of this quote by C S Lewis:
We may be sure that the characteristic blindness of the twentieth century — the blindness about which posterity will ask, “But how could they have thought that?” — lies where we have never suspected it, and concerns something about which there is untroubled agreement between Hitler and President Roosevelt or between Mr. H. G. Wells and Karl Barth. None of us can fully escape this blindness, but we shall certainly increase it, and weaken our guard against it, if we read only modern books.
On reading old books (C S Lewis, 1944).
We’re 74 years or so on from the writing of this now, but it remains true (and rather prescient in its understanding of “worldviews”).
I’d like to open a twofold discussion with one easy question and one near-impossible one.
(1) In retrospect, what has time shown to be the “characteristic blindnesses” shared by Hitler, Roosevelt, Wells and Barth (and maybe even Lewis) back in 1944?
(2) What 21st century ideas (shared by Putin, Nelson Mandela, J K Rowling and N T Wright, and maybe you) do you think might fall into the same category in 2092?
Hint: your answers may be informed by old books!
Disclaimer: I probably don’t have any suggestions myself!