From Lewis’s Pen: The Power of Man Over Man and Nature

From “The Abolition of Man”:

I am not yet considering whether the total result of such ambivalent victories is a
good thing or a bad. I am only making clear what Man’s conquest of Nature really
means and especially that final stage in the conquest, which, perhaps, is not far off. The final stage is come when Man by eugenics, by pre-natal conditioning, and by
an education and propaganda based on a perfect applied psychology, has obtained full control over himself. Human nature will be the last part of Nature to surrender
to Man. The battle will then be won. We shall have taken the thread of life out of
the hand of Clotho’ and be henceforth free to make our species whatever we wish
it to be. The battle will indeed be won. But who, precisely, will have won it?

For the power of Man to make himself what he pleases means, as we have seen,
the power of some men to make other men what they please. In all ages, no doubt,
nurture and instruction have, in some sense, attempted to exercise this power. But
the situation to which we must look forward will be novel in two respects. In the
first place, the power will be enormously increased. Hitherto the plans of
educationalists have achieved very little of what they attempted and indeed, when
we read them — how Plato would have every infant “a bastard nursed in a bureau”,
and Elyot would have the boy see no men before the age of seven and, after that,
no women,’ and how Locke wants children to have leaky shoes and no turn for
poetry^ — we may well thank the beneficent obstinacy of real mothers, real nurses,
and (above all) real children for preserving the human race in such sanity as it still
possesses. But the man-moulders of the new age will be armed with the powers of
an omnicompetent state and an irresistible scientific technique: we shall get at last
a race of conditioners who really can cut out all posterity in what shape they

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s