C. S. Lewis and Trans-Everything

Abolishing man and deifying appetites

“You can be anything you want to be

Just turn yourself into anything

You think that you could ever be.” 

–Freddie Mercury, Innuendo

What is a human? For many today, the human being is nothing more than what he thinks he is, wants to be, says he is, or, in fact, does. Jean-Paul Sartre suggests, in his Existentialism is a Humanism, that “man is free, and that there is no human nature upon which I can be grounded.”1 Following in the footsteps of Heidegger, Marx, Nietzsche and others, Sartre denies that there is any such thing as a “human nature.” Man’s freedom consists not just in that he can choose this or that way of life, but that he is the ground of his own being. In his own words, Sartre explains that, “[t]he existentialist…thinks, therefore, that man, with no support and nothing to rescue him, is condemned at each moment to invent man.”2 Man, for Sartre, determines his own nature or essence. If “what” he is, is self-determined, then so is everything that could be attributed to the “what.”

Simone de Beauvoir, following in Sartre’s footsteps, and Heidegger before Sartre, famously wrote that a person is not born, but becomes, a woman.3 Describing de Beauvoir’s approach, Judith G. Coffman suggests that for Beauvoir, “there was no point in bracketing the humanity of humans. ‘The human being is a historical idea, not a natural species.’ To be human was to develop all of one’s possibilities, to ‘open’ or ‘project toward’ the future, to be self-creating, to seek to be able to transform oneself and one’s world…How, in her situation, a woman could become human, navigating the maze of external and internalized obstacles—this was the core of Beauvoir’s study.”4 One becomes a woman, not necessarily by maturing (though this may be one way of becoming a woman), but by projecting oneself into one’s possibilities in a “womanly” manner.

Today, Judith Butler argues that, to a certain extent, Michel Foucault, Simone de Beauvoir, and Jean-Paul Sartre, have not gone far enough. The very words “woman” and “man” are problematic, and need to be questioned. In her Gender Trouble, Butler spends a good portion of the first chapter arguing that, ultimately, though distinguishing sex and gender, and arguing that gender is culturally constructed,5 was a helpful way of disputing “the biology-is-destiny formulation”6, it may no longer be useful as a distinction. Rather, “[i]f the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps this construct called ‘sex’ is as culturally constructed as gender; indeed, perhaps it was always gender, with the consequence that the distinction between sex and gender turns out to be no distinction at all.”7 Her suggestion, at this point in the book, is that if sex is, itself, a cultural construct, then there is no need to distinguish between sex and gender. One can affirm an “intrinsic” relation between sex and gender, and simply affirm that biological sex is, itself, fluid. 

Rejecting what Nietzsche called, referring back to René Descartes, a “metaphysics of substance”8, Butler argues that if there are no substances or natures, then neither is there any need for what Foucault would call “free-floating attributes”—such as gender.9 It follows that, sex can be “identified” with gender; but, “gender proves to be performative—that is, constituting the identity it is purported to be. In this sense, gender is always a doing, though not a doing by a subject who might be said to preexist the deed.”10 If this is true, and if there are no substances or accidents, then what presents itself to us is nothing more than a performance or expression. “In an application that Nietzsche himself would not have anticipated or condoned,” says Butler, “we might state as a corollary: There is no gender identity behind the expression of gender; that identity is performatively constituted by the very ‘expressions’ that are said to be its results.”11 Gender is nothing more than “the repeated stylization of the body, a set of repeated acts within a highly rigid regulatory frame that congeal over time to produce the appearance of substance, of a natural sort of being.”12 It is not just that we are the “product” of our performative processes, it is that we are nothing more than the performances. Man is nothing but a substance-less nature-less product of his own way of being—making itself to be what it is by the way that it presents itself socially and culturally in its actions.

Jumping to its “rescue”, modern science and medical technology have provided Western “man” with the ability to make itself into what it presents itself as, in its ways of being. Political technique and the manipulation of language make it possible to talk as if the modern re-making of man was reality. It is now possible to “be”, literally, anything you want to be—anything you are. A man? A woman? A cat? A dog? A coffee table? In the last act of his performance, the actor—mankind—has pulled off the greatest magic trick: disappearing by becoming everything else but himself. The mask has fallen off, and it turns out there is nothing behind the mask.

In what follows, we will turn to two important scholars writing in the 1940s and 50s, to first understand what the current philosophies, which are so influential in our current cultural and political moment, are doing to humankind;  and, secondly, to seek a remedy for the metaphysical and anthropological plague that has struck our land. We will begin by analyzing C. S. Lewis’s article, “The Abolition of Man”, and then turn to Martin Heidegger’s essay on the essence of technology. We will conclude by discussing the remedies that they suggest may cure us of our ailments. 

Lewis on Abolishing Man

In February of 1943, C. S. Lewis delivered 3 lectures (The Riddell Memorial Lectures) at the University of Durham. These 3 lectures were published, in the same year, as the well-known and beloved book, The Abolition of Man. They have, since then, been read and commented on by many, and praised as a prophetic analysis and critique of contemporary education and culture. Though they address issues that were predominant in his own time, the three chapters of this book could be described as prophetic, for much of what he warned us about has come to pass, and is ongoing. 

Ideas similar to that which Lewis discusses in the article “The Abolition of Man”, though in a sense prophetic, and certainly important, can also be found in a number of important scholars of that time period. We think, for example, of Jacques Ellul, the great French theologian and philosopher, who discusses similar ideas in his works, all written between the 1950s and the 1990s. His well-known and highly praised The Technological Society, published in 1954, is a good introduction to his thought on the subject. We also find similar themes in the more enigmatic writings of the controversial German philosopher Martin Heidegger, who begins discussing these questions as early as his most well-known book Being and Time (published in 1927), and is still found discussing related issues in the 1950s, for example, in his article “The Question Concerning Technology”, which was first delivered as a lecture titled “The Enframing” in 1949, and then again, in a revised format, with its current title, in 1953. Each of these authors, and many others, many working within the 1940s-1950s, are seen discussing the same basic themes, which could be roughly summarized as: The subjugation and remolding of humanity by technology.

In his lecture, “The Abolition of Man”, Lewis discusses how some men will become the creators of a new type of “man”. He begins by making abundantly clear the very real danger, the problem, so to say, of the subjection of “Nature” to our human impulses. “Nature” has become something that is not a thing in itself, both apart from man, and that of which man is a part; but, rather, it has become something for man to dominate, subjugate, manipulate, and modify. 

Lewis warns us that by approaching “Nature” in this way, we—humans—risk becoming the final “part” of Nature to be dominated, subjugated, manipulated, and “modified”. Not in the sense of a “slavery” of man to man, types of which can be seen throughout history in various forms, but, rather, a view of human nature by which we—humans—control, determine, and modify not just our physical appearance, but our very natures. We now determine what it means to be human.13 This idea is the key to unlocking and understanding the whole article. Lewis says, for example, that “Each new power won by man is a power over man as well.”14 Also, “Man’s final conquest has proved to be the abolition of man.”15

His approach is quite simple. He begins with a question: “In what sense is Man the possessor of increasing power over Nature?”16 He then approaches the question from two perspectives. He then gives us his preliminary conclusions and suggests some solutions to the problems he has raised. The driving idea, which is in the background of the entire lecture, can be seen clearly in the following quote: 

“Their extreme rationalism, by ‘seeing through’ all ‘rational’ motives, leaves them creatures of wholly irrational behaviour. If you will not obey the Tao, or else commit suicide, obedience to impulse (and therefore, in the long run, to mere ‘nature’) is the only course left open.”17 

Remembering that the “Tao” is a term which Lewis uses to refer to what has traditionally been called “Natural Law”, the irony of this claim becomes palpable. The word “Nature” can be taken to refer to the essence—“whatness”—of a thing; but it can also be, and often is, used to refer to the untamed, living, parts of the sensible cosmos, where the “rules of engagement” are “to the victor goes the spoils”, “the rule of the most powerful”, or, as Tennyson put it in his well-known poem: “Nature is a world of strife and conflict and violence—‘red in tooth and claw’.”18

Lewis’s point, here, seems to be that if we deny the Tao (that there is an immutable human nature that is as a law), then we will become enslaved to our “impulses”, rejecting, remodeling, or self-determining our “Nature”. We will, in the end, become slaves of “Nature”—red in tooth and claw—no different from, nor better than, wild animals. By abandoning Natural Law, Lewis’s Tao, we become enslaved to a different type of nature. This is elegantly and frighteningly illustrated by Lewis in the third book of his Space Trilogy.

The Moulding of Human Nature: The Problem

In his first approach to the question of man’s power over Nature, Lewis first looks at how man has won his “power” over “Nature”, subjugating it to his will. He considers numerous advances in technology, such as the airplane, the radio, and contraceptives.19Lewis, AM, 54-55. He notes, concerning the first of these, that “Man is as much the patient or subject as the possessor, since he is the target both for bombs [from planes] and for propaganda [from the radio].”20 What was true of the propaganda coming across the radio in Lewis’s time, is even more true (frighteningly true) of contemporary communication technology: smartphones, streaming, social media, laptops, and so on. It could be argued, in fact, that man is less a possessor of these types of technology, and more the subject—indeed, the possessed. In relation to contraceptive pills,21 Lewis notes that it is not living human beings who are the subject—the subjugated—but the next generation of human beings who are “denied existence [altogether]” or breed “without their concurring voice”.22 It seems, then, that by our technological ability to control, mold, and subjugate Nature, we become the subjugated re-makers of our own Nature. This, argues Lewis, means that man’s conquest over Nature—his own Nature—becomes “the rule of a few hundreds of men over billions upon billions of men”,23 the great majority of them not yet born.

At this point, Lewis makes an important nuance, suggesting that on one hand, the men of one generation have always moulded the men of the next generation—by teaching and mentoring them, training them to be real men and women in a true human society.24 However, notes Lewis, there are two major differences between the man-moulding endeavors of past generations, and the man-moulding endeavors we saw taking place in the 20th century (think of the Eugenics program in the United States, now known as Planned Parenthood), and see taking place before our very eyes in contemporary public schools, medicine, and law-making. The first difference, says Lewis, is that whereas past generations were held back by their technological and medical abilities, “the man-moulders of the new age will be armed with the powers of an omnicompetent state and an irresistible scientific technique.”25 This should make us think of movements such as transgender ideology, the medical technology backing it up, and the way in which our public educators are pushing transgender ideology on our children. They tell us that human nature is like a putty that can be moulded by us, by the way we live our lives, making us be what we are becoming. Then, medical sciences step in to make it biologically possible, and political and educational technique steps in to to make sure everyone believes, and talks rightly about, the new normal. Like sheep to the slaughter, we believe them, and we follow them to the slaughter.

The second major difference, says Lewis, is that though past—pre-1800s—“man-moulders” saw themselves as under the Tao (Natural Law), this is no longer the case. The man-moulders of the past saw themselves as helping young human persons become fully flourishing human beings, according to Human Nature—designed and created by God. However, though the roots of this subversion of Natural Law can be traced back to the Nominalism of William of Ockham, and the early modern period, it has really only been since the mid-1800s that man-moulders have thrown off the “constraints” of “Human Nature”, by rejecting the very notion of Natural Law as anything other than what they decide is good and evil by their own “omnipotent” will. They have elevated themselves to quasi-divine status and made themselves the arbiters of their own standard of right and wrong, and their own self-authenticating authority.26 Lewis states this point quite well, when he says, 

“Whatever Tao there is will be the product, not the motive of education. The conditioners have been emancipated from all that…They know how to produce conscience and decide what kind of conscience they will produce…The conditioners, then, are to choose what kind of artificial Tao they will, for their own good reasons, produce in the Human race.”27

Not only have they re-created mankind, but they have also re-created our standards of what is a good or bad man. Both Nature and Morality have fallen prey to the new gods.

In responding to some objections to his arguments, Lewis notes another important difference between the “man-moulders” of the past and the “man-moulders” of the present: those of the past saw themselves as part of the human race, and set about helping future generations to become truly flourishing humans. Those of our time deny the very reality of a “human nature”—something that we are and to which we must conform—and, in so doing, have ceased to be human. This, of course, reminds us of contemporary discussions concerning trans-speciesism and trans-species psychology, and post-humanism. What it means to be a human is being entirely redefined. In the process of this redefinition, the “conditioners” of mankind become, suggests Lewis, no longer human but gods. “They are, rather, not men (in the old sense) at all. They are, if you like, men who have sacrificed their own share in traditional humanity in order to devote themselves to the task of deciding what ‘Humanity’ shall henceforth mean.”28 “Good”, “bad”, “human”, and “person” are all just “signs” (audible or visible) that are without an object (a “signified”)—they point to nothing and to everything.

Though our social elites are clearly leading us in this direction; they are being followed, encouraged, and even promoted to semi-divine status by our entire society—an entire generation that bought into this ‘philosophy’, amazed by the “magical illusions” of its attending technology, before they were even aware that they were being tricked.  It is no longer just the “elites”, but a major part of our society, that has adopted these doctrines. It is the new “orthodoxy”, and those of the “old world” are the “new heretics”.

Martin Heidegger and the Essence of Technology

C. S. Lewis was not the only scholar in the post-World War II decade to write about the problem of technology, and how it is changing us, our understanding of ourselves, and our relation to this world. Martin Heidegger, arguably one of the grandfathers of transgender theory, also warned us of the impact of technology and how it relates to us. To better understand the relationship between us and Technology, Heidegger seeks to understand the essence of technology. He suggests that to “merely represent and pursue the technological, put up with it, or evade it” will keep us from ever truly understanding our relationship to technology.29 This approach to technology, he argues, leaves us “unfree and chained to technology, whether we passionately affirm or deny it. But we are delivered over to it in the worst possible way when we regard it as something neutral.”30 Avoiding it and pursuing it are two ways of becoming enslaved to it.

Heidegger suggests that to enter into a free relationship with technology, where we are no longer chained to it and subordinated to it, we must first grasp the essence of it. Everyone, says Heidegger, understands the two main ways of describing technology: “Technology is a means to an end”,31 and “Technology is a human activity.”32 These two ways of describing technology, suggests Heidegger, come together to present technology as primarily an “instrumentum”—an instrument or tool that we use to attain some desired end.33 To understand technology in this way, is to see it as something that we master and use, “Everything”, says Heidegger, “depends on our manipulating technology in the proper manner as a means. We will, as we say, ‘get’ technology ‘intelligently in hand.’ We will master it. The will to mastery becomes all the more urgent the more technology threatens to slip from human control.”34 A means, however, is a way by which something is brought about, brought forth, or occasioned; it is, therefore, a “cause”.35 As a cause which brings something into the present, suggests Heidegger, technology cannot be looked upon as a “mere means.”36 But, how could it be more than a “means”?

The term “technology”, suggests Heidegger, echoing the thoughts of many others before him, comes from the Greek word techné. He notes two things about the meaning of this word, “One is that techné is the name not only for the activities and skills of the craftsman but also for the arts of the mind and the fine arts. Techné belongs to bringing-forth, to poiésis; it is something poetic. The other thing that we should observe with regard to techné is even more important. From the earliest times until Plato, the word techné is linked with the word epistémé. Both words are terms for knowing in the widest sense.”37 Heidegger suggests, then, that the original sense of the term techné has to do either with the act of bringing into being (the kind of bringing into being which is associated with the artist and poet) or with knowing and understanding something— “to understand and be expert in it.”38 That is, to have an “expertise” at revealing that which is unseen is, for Heidegger, the most fundamental meaning of techné

Recognizing that many see a vast difference between the artistic or poetical expertise of the artist, and what could be called modern technology or techniques, Heidegger asks if there is a difference between them. He first recognizes that there is a sense in which modern technology does bring to the forefront that which was unseen, like ancient techné; but, he suggests that modern technology does so in a fundamentally different way. Whereas poiésis brought forth in a way that allowed us to see, modern technology brings forth in a way that “is a challenging (Herausfordern), which puts to nature the unreasonable demand that it supply energy which can be extracted and stored as such.”39 That is, modern technology is a challenging and supplanting of nature for the sake of commanding, owning, extracting, and ultimately dominating. This type of technology turns everything—and everyone?—into a resource, “Everywhere everything is ordered to stand by, to be immediately on hand, indeed to stand there just so that it may be on call for further ordering.”40 Modern technology turns everything from an end into a resource to be mined and manipulated. Our thoughts immediately go to things like mining the earth for minerals, farming animals, or harvesting crops; however, this would be to forget that for many governments and ministries of education, the most important exploitable resource on earth is humankind.

This raises, for Heidegger, an important question, “If man is challenged, ordered, to do this, then does not man himself belong even more originally than nature within the standing reserve?”41 Modern technology turns man, most men at least, into a resource to be mined and manipulated for the sake of technology. It is this approach to that which is—Nature, the sensible cosmos, man—which is the very essence of modern technology. Modern technology uses “Nature”—even man—as a mineable resource for its own needs, something that we keep on hand in case we need it.42 This is the first danger of modern technology, says Heidegger, that man 

“comes to the point where he himself will have to be taken as standing-reserve. Meanwhile, man, precisely as the one so threatened, exalts himself and postures as lord of the earth. In this way the illusion comes to prevail that everything man encounters exists only insofar as it is his construct. This illusion gives rise in turn to one final delusion: it seems as though man everywhere and always encounters only himself.”43

To the mind of the man of modern technology, suggests Heidegger, everything, even God and men, becomes a mineable resource “on standby”—ready for exploitation.44 Even God is made into the image of man, the mastered master of modern techniques.

The second danger of modern technology, suggests Heidegger, is that we no longer see things—Nature, man, or even God—for what they are. Their fundamental character is nothing more than a resource.45 We are less concerned with “what” they are, and more concerned with their value to us and how we can use them.

As with Lewis, Heidegger sees the dangers of modern technology as, if unchecked, the annihilation of Nature, man, and God. Everything becomes nothing but a resource to be mined, moulded, determined, and subjugated to the powers of this technological age. Is this not, in fact, what has happened with the advent of critical theory in its application to sex, race, and any other part of reality that presents itself to us? We are told that we are nothing more than something to be moulded and auto-determined, and the natural sciences and modern technology have jumped to the task—taking great pleasure in finally subjugating its former master to its own omnipresent technological regime. Politicians and educators see the populace, and students, as nothing more than tools or resources to be moulded and mined as needed, to “advance the race or nation” according to the ideals of the new “man-moulders”.

Concluding Reflections

More dangerous than any of the recent pandemics, this metaphysical and anthropological sickness (which has spread throughout Western society and is reaching around the world) threatens to destroy souls and bodies as mankind, led by its new-moulders, openly rebels against the will of God—attacking the very image of God. 

The ultimate “remedy” is to turn the eyes of this generation away from themselves—and their “project” of Epic proportions: the recreation of man in whatever image he can imagine—and towards Christ, taking upon Himself human nature, born as a baby, dying and rising as a human, for the redemption and “re-formation” of humanity into His own image—which is what we are meant to be. It’s true, we can recognize this truth, we are not now what we were meant to be. However, what we were meant to be, was not a creation of our twisted imagination, but to be made like Christ. 

There may be any number of ways to arrive at this—for example, training more preachers and missionaries to teach and preach the Gospel. I would suggest that if this is our primary goal, then, like good doctors, the proper training of preachers and missionaries must include learning to recognize all kinds of spiritual illnesses, and learning how to address each sickness they are confronted with. This means that a well-trained pastor or missionary, today, must study contemporary critical theories and learn how to cure these maladies.

One aspect of delivering this, the greatest cure for all of man’s spiritual ailments, is that we must sometimes convince the patient that they are in fact sick and that the medicine, which may look nasty, and smell worse, is actually the only thing that can heal them. Sometimes, when we see the remedy to our ailments, we wonder how it could possibly be a solution to our problem. We may, then, be required not only to administer the remedy well but convince the sick that they need the remedy. How do we convince a sick generation, which appears to believe that they now occupy the place of God—creating and determining reality as they so desire—that far from being gods, they are in need of God? Lewis provides some helpful thoughts on this very point, in the concluding section of his Abolition of Man. Interestingly enough, Martin Heidegger also suggests a possible solution, which may have some merit. We will begin by noting Heidegger’s solution, and conclude with Lewis’s.

Heidegger’s Solutions

Heidegger, confronted with the self-determining and omnipresent power of modern technology, suggests that part of the solution may in fact be “technology” itself—that is, to be more precise, techné. Not techné in its Modern understanding, of course, but by a return to its original meaning—as poiésis—art. Heidegger suggests that though both modern technology and ancient techné are ways of bringing things to the forefront, to our attention, they are fundamentally different in the way they do this. Modern technology reveals everything as a mineable and mouldable resource on hand when needed. Ancient techné, says Heidegger, what we today refer to as the fine arts, reveals things as they are—it brings them to light without changing them into something they are not.46 It reveals the truth in its beauty and the beauty of the truth. 

Could it be that Heidegger has latched on to something that evaded him as much as it pressed itself upon him? C. S. Lewis, in The Great Divorce, introduces us to an artist who joins an excursion from Hell to the gates of Heaven.47 There he is met by a friend who seeks to convince him to stay. The argument the artist’s friend uses is that though, over time, the artist became enamored with “technique”—types of paint, types of canvas and brushes, and ways of doing things—this was not his original love. His first love was the light shining through the things he was painting. It was this light that he sought to capture in his paintings; it was this light that he wanted others to see in his paintings. Much like Heidegger, Lewis is pointing out that the painter had fallen into the iron grip of technology, and lost sight of the very reason he was painting: revealing the beauty of the truth of things shining through the things themselves. Art, suggests Lewis, in a way that resembles Heidegger’s ideas, may be a way of bringing man back to reality; a way of allowing reality to shine through to people who can no longer see it. If this is true, then art may well be a way to turn a fallen world back to God—whose light is always and ever shining through the created cosmos (Ps. 19:1-4; Rom. 1:19-20).

Lewis’s Solutions

C. S. Lewis concludes his article by proposing two remedies to our contemporary illness. First and most important, is a return to Natural Law.48 To avoid the tyranny of our impulses and animal appetites, says Lewis, “A dogmatic belief in objective value is necessary to the very idea of a rule which is not tyranny or an obedience which is not slavery.”49 This is true on both the individual level of the particular human person and on the “universal” level of societies and nations. On the individual level, the tyranny of the appetites is defeated by a recognition that our appetites are the basest part of human nature, and that they must be limited and restrained by right reason in submission to Natural Law. We must recognize, along with the great Pagan philosophers Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero, and in accord with Scriptures, that there is an objective morality to which we must submit our appetites and desires.

On the socio-political level, the only way to avoid the tyranny of socio-political leaders over the people of any one nation is that we firmly and unapologetically maintain that all men—magistrates and people—must submit to and obey Natural Law. None, not even the President, our Senators, the director of the C.D.C., or any other “elite”, escapes the standards of Natural Law. The doctrine of Natural Law, affirmed by both Greek philosophers and Christian theologians throughout the centuries (including most Reformed theologians), teaches that the Natural Law just is “human nature” as it participates in the Eternal Law—that is, human nature as God conceived him and created him. Though none but the persons of the Trinity know the mind of God, all men are governed by, and have access to, Natural Law (Romans 1-2). 

If what we have laid down here is true, this entails that all men, elites included, must recognize and submit to divine authority; at very least, insomuch as it is naturally known through our reasoned observations of nature, and ideally as it is revealed in Scriptures. This also seems to entail that it is liberating to recognize reality as it is, not as we imagine it! Another way of putting this is: the truth frees, or, to conform to the Divine Will is to be truly free. As Lewis says so well, “In the Tao itself, as long as we remain with it, we find the concrete reality in which to participate is to be truly human.”50

Lewis’s second remedy is a renewed approach to the Natural Sciences.51 His idea, here, is that we need to change the way we look at and study “Nature”—the sensible cosmos of which we are a part. It must be, suggests Lewis, “holistic”, it “would not do even to minerals and vegetables what modern science threatens to do to man himself. When it explained it would not explain away. When it spoke of the parts it would remember the whole.”52 It would not, in other words, be reductionistic, “Its followers would not be free with the words only and merely.”53 This renewed approach to the sciences would not lose sight of reality in the very process of explaining it. Rather than “seeing through” everything, it would embrace and celebrate Nature as the good creation of God—tending and caring for it rather than subjugating it to our evil wills and desires for more and more of that which is of little value.

Both of these solutions could be summed up with a single proposition: we need to submit ourselves to reality instead of subjugating reality—and ourselves—to our own inordinate passions and appetites; and, in this way, we need to subject ourselves to God.

Image Credit: Unsplash

Show 53 footnotes
  1. Jean-Paul Sartre, L’Existentialisme est un Humanisme, ed. Arlette Elkaïm-Sartre (Paris: Gallimard, 1996), 49. My translation from the French, “que l’homme est libre, et qu’il n’y a aucun nature humain sur laquelle je puisse faire fond.”
  2. Sartre, EH, 39. My translation from the French, “L’existentialiste…pense donc que l’homme, sans aucun appui et sans aucun secours, est condamné à chaque instant à inventer l’homme.”
  3. Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (New York: Vintage Books, 1973), 301.
  4. Judith G. Coffin, “Beauvoir, Kinsey, and Mid-Century Sex”, French Politics, Culture & Society, vol. 28, no. 2 (Summer 2010): 27.
  5. Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990; repr., New York and London: Routledge, 2007), 8.
  6. Butler, GT, 8.
  7. Butler, GT, 9-10.
  8. Butler, GT, 28.
  9. Butler, GT, 33-34.
  10. Butler, GT, 34.
  11. Butler, GT, 34.
  12. Butler, GT, 45.
  13. The works of the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre (a disciple of Martin Heidegger) and his companion Simone de Beauvoir are of special interest in relation to these claims, as they both argue (Sartre in relation to Humans in general, and Simone de Beauvoir in relation to women in particular) that the individual person determines their own nature. Cf. Sartre, Existentialism is a Humanism, and de Beauvoir, The Second Sex. It is worth noting, Sartre’s Existentialism is a Humanism is the published version of a lecture that he gave in Paris on October 29, 1945. It was a distillation, of sorts, of his magnum opus Being and Nothingness, which was published the same year that Lewis gave, and published, his lecture series that is found in the Abolition of Man. Simone De Beauvoir’s book, The Second Sex, was published in 1949. The thought of these two French philosophers has had an inestimable influence on contemporary LGBTQ+ thought.
  14. C. S. Lewis, “The Abolition of Man”, in The Abolition of Man (1944; repr., New York: HarperOne, 2000), 58.
  15. Lewis, AM, 64.
  16. Lewis, AM, 54.
  17. Lewis, AM, 67.
  18. Tennyson, “Nature Red in Tooth and Claw”.
  19. Lewis, AM, 54-55.
  20. Lewis, AM, 54-55.
  21. So applauded by many doctors and lobbyists, in the early to mid-1900s, as the final step in the liberation of women from the constraints of their own sex. Cf. David Allyn, Make Love, Not War: The Sexual Revolution: An Unfettered History (New York: Routledge, 2001), 33.
  22. Lewis, AM, 55.
  23. Lewis, AM, 58.
  24. Lewis, AM, 59.
  25. Lewis, AM, 60.
  26. Lewis, AM, 60-61.
  27. Lewis, AM, 61-62.
  28. Lewis, AM, 63.
  29. Martin Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology”, in Basic Writings, rev. ed., ed. David Farrell Krell (1977; repr., New York: Harper Perennial, 2008), 311.
  30. Heidegger, QCT, 311-12.
  31. Heidegger, QCT, 312.
  32. Heidegger, QCT, 312.
  33. Heidegger, QCT, 312.
  34. Heidegger, QCT, 313.
  35. Heidegger, QCT, 313-14.
  36. Heidegger, QCT, 318.
  37. Heidegger, QCT, 318.
  38. Heidegger, QCT, 319.
  39. Heidegger, QCT, 320.
  40. Heidegger, QCT, 322.
  41. Heidegger, QCT, 323.
  42. Heidegger, QCT, 324-26.
  43. Heidegger, QCT, 332.
  44. Heidegger, QCT, 331.
  45. Heidegger, QCT, 332-33.
  46. Heidegger, QCT, 339-341.
  47. C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce (1946; repr., New York: The Macmillan Co., 1950), 60-82.
  48. Lewis, AM, 73.
  49. Lewis, AM, 73.
  50. Lewis, AM, 75.
  51. Lewis, AM, 78-79.
  52. Lewis, AM, 79.
  53. Lewis, AM, 79.
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David Haines

David Haines is Assistant professor of philosophy and theology at Bethlehem College & Seminary, associate professor of philosophy and religion at VIU, lecturer in philosophy and dogmatics with Davenant Hall, and lecturer in philosophy at Université de Sherbrooke. His academic research and publications focus on Ancient and Medieval philosophy, C. S. Lewis, Thomism, early reformed thought, natural law, and natural theology.