Clubbing with Clive and the Inklings

charles_atlasAre you part of a club? Ever been apologetic or embarrassed by enjoying the company of like-minded souls in an environment where talking is the main activity? Tired of being pushed around by bottom-line types who question the wisdom of an activity which does not benefit you financially or romantically? If you answered yes to any of these questions, Clive Staples Lewis–born in 1898, only six years after the birth of another everyman defender, Charles Atlas–has gots whatever you need to ward off the snide attacks from the wretched heathen, aka secular leftists.  That’s right, C.S. can play it anysways you want [Django cultural reference].  He can go theology, methodology, narrative deconstruction, zone, man-to-man or even evolutionary biology, to wit:

… palaeolithic man may or may not have had a club on his shoulder but he certainly had a club of the other sort …

Pub at which Inklings met

Pub at which Inklings met

Clive kneweth of what he spake. For about 20 years, Lewis, along with J.R.R. Tolkien, was part of an informal literary discussion group made up of Oxford guys [SAT’s through the roof on this crowd] who referred to themselves as The Inklings.

C.S. Lewis’ complete thought about the need for friendship–an excerpt from his book, The Four Loves:

I have said that Friendship is the least biological of our loves. Both the individual and the community can survive without it. But there is something else, often confused with Friendship, which the community does need;  something which, though not Friendship, is the matrix of Friendship. In early communities the co-operation of the males as hunters or fighters was no less necessary than the begetting and rearing of children. A tribe where there was no taste for the one would die no less surely than a tribe where there was no taste for the other. Long before history began we men have got together apart from the women and done things.

Inklings corner in the pub

Inklings corner in the pub

We had to. And to like doing what must be done is a characteristic that has survival value. We not only had to do the things, we had to talk about them. We had to plan the hunt and the battle. When they were over we had to hold a post mortem and draw conclusions for future use.

We liked this even better. We ridiculed or punished the cowards and bunglers, we praised the star-performers. We revelled in technicalities. (“He might have known he’d never get near the brute, not with the wind that way”…”You see, I had a lighter arrowhead; that’s what did it”…”What I always say is-“…”stuck him just like that, see? Just the way I’m holding this stick”…) In fact, we talked shop. We enjoyed one another’s society greatly: we Braves, we hunters, all bound together by shared skill, shared dangers and hardships, esoteric jokes—away from the women and children. As some wag has said, palaeolithic man may or may not have had a club on his shoulder but he certainly had a club of the other sort. It was probably part of his religion; like that sacred smoking-club where the savages in Melville’s Typee were “famously snug” every evening of their lives.

What were the women doing meanwhile? How should I know? I am a man and never spied on the mysteries of the Bona Dea.

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About Jorge Costales

- Cuban Exile [veni] - Raised in Miami [vidi] - American Citizen [vici]
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