CS Lewis and the Cultural Conversation

3 thoughts on “CS Lewis and the Cultural Conversation”

  1. I like the gist of this – engaging with art on the terms in which it was made (which may relate closely to it’s maker), rather than approaching it as a consumer.

    To take it a little further…

    Christians shouldn’t ‘use’ art because it’s selfish? Hasn’t the artist in the first place ‘used’ their own art in as much as they have created/presented it? Might it not make sense to ‘use’ the assumptions or language of the artwork in order to engage in dialogue, to respond to, the work more fully? Maybe by appropriating some element of it? Reception and use of the work.

    It depends what you mean by ‘using’, which you seem to have also equated to ‘consuming’. I think of ‘consumption’ in relation to things we like to look at or do purely for physical/sensory/cerebral pleasure (watching a film, looking at a picture, being comforted by listening uncritically to someone’s ideas…).

    I think of ‘using’ as recognising the potential of something, and employing it yourself. This could include learning from an artist’s work, creating art with a specific use, watching porn, or using someone else’s theory to validate your own work (intertextuality?). In either case you have different, perhaps positive and negative, motivations and outcomes.

    Hope this makes sense.

    1. Hi Josh, thanks for commenting.

      You’re right, it does depend what you mean by “use”. I think Lewis was getting at a selfish consumption of art, with no thought for what the artist is intending to communicate, as opposed to a thoughtful, engaging approach.

      I guess I also had in mind Ellis Potter’s idea of art being a relationship rather than a commodity. And I think those words are probably a bit clearer than Lewis’s (although I think still getting at the same point). So we can either use art selfishly, as a commodity, or we can use it in a relationship as a language for dialogue, as you say.

      I guess even in the examples you mention, you could use the art in a way which has no regard for the artist and what they’re daying, or in a way that does.

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