Morality, Law, Systems..

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Source: ChinaHearSay

One of my most favourite paragraphs written by C. S. Lewis:

“What is the good of drawing up, on paper, rules for social behaviour, if we know that, in fact, our greed, cowardice, ill temper, and self-conceit are going to prevent us from keeping them? I do not mean for a moment that we ought not to think, and think hard, about improvements in our social and economic system. What I do mean is that all that thinking will be mere moonshine unless we realise that nothing but the courage and unselfishness of individuals is ever going to make any system work properly. It is easy enough to remove the particular kinds of graft or bullying that go on under the present system: but as long as men are twisters or bullies they will find some new way of carrying on the old game under the new system. You cannot make men good by law: and without good men you cannot have a good society. That is why we must go on to think of the second thing: of morality inside the individual.”

This piece of text above was a significant revelation for me. It’s something that I probably already knew through my experiences in analysing and developing social and economic systems. But as always, C. S. Lewis’ articulate expression of complex processes opened up my mind further…

 

 

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