In 1943 when renowned author and philosopher CS Lewis published his book "The Abolition of Man", he warned that we cannot educate "men without chests" and expect from them virtue and enterprise. Lewis' concept of men without chests resounds with images of people completely devoid of compassion, love and co-operative, gregarious spirit that have helped humans bond family and community, build and share the benefits of progressive civilization and thrive. When I saw the photographs of young men with hollow, almost inhuman expressions on their faces as they formed mobs in the Virginia riots this week, I chillingly recalled Lewis' warning and asked: are we as a society nurturing men without chests, youth devoid of caring human hearts and souls?
Photo courtesy Rawstory.com
Nurturing occurs in our homes, our communities and in our education system. The values politicians voice, perspectives shared by public media representatives and in opinions broadcast by popular figures and admired icons also shape collective viewpoints and allow particular sentiments, whether destructive or cooperative, to flourish.
We are collectively responsible for our children's education. What is missing from their curricula? Society flourishes in the way that we deliberately of tacitly allow. When we do not participate in social processes, we too are shaping the culture as certainly as those who do.
We each must hold responsibility for our role in shaping today's headlines. Each citizen has a different role in formal and informal education. What can you do to fill empty, hate-filled beings with the soul of human care and compassion? What is propelling people forward with hate? Where are the roots of violence and racial hatred that we are witnessing in our communities? Where are they being nurtured? Those who make excuses for violence promote the rise of beings who are not guided by morality and virtue. They are complicit in nurturing inhuman beings, men without chests.
Karen Sinclair is a Speaker, Analyst and Lay Minister whose recent book, The Quiet Sense, (www.karenswall.com) addresses concrete realities without platitudes, to illustrate to a thinking 21st century reader that God is real.