Wednesday, January 7, 2009


In Lewis's "Meditation in a Toolshed," he emphasizes the fact that full truth and understanding cannot be found only by experience or by science, but that it grows out of a combination of both.  It would be hypocritical for a person to talk about love and religion if that person has not experienced what he or she is talking about.  Similarly, it would be foolish for a man to discount the example and teaching of others simply because he believes that his own experience is more important than what he could learn from others.  Instead, Lewis urges us to "look both along and at everything." We can see things on our own in part, but true wisdom comes from the humble act of accepting that we need help in learning.

C.S. Lewis's usage of the contrast between light and dark is significant in this piece.  The light represents knowledge and understanding, while the darkness is meant to portray confusion and misunderstanding.  However, looking at the light will not suffice.  We must look at and along the light in order to gain a full view.  Looking along the light shows the inside of the toolshed, while looking along it shows a view of the outside world: the trees and the sun.  

The sun also represents Christ, because just as both these views (looking at and along) come from the sun, both our experiences and what science shows us helps us to learn.  Everything comes from Him, and what He wishes to show us He will.  But again, it takes humility to accept that our own experience and knowledge cannot take us all the way.

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