Like Plato, C.S. Lewis believed that the human soul was made up of three parts — the head (the rational, reason-driven part of you), the belly (your appetites and base instincts), and the chest (the seat of virtue-seeking sentiments and well-tuned emotions). In order for your head to make your decisions, particularly the decision to live a virtuous life, rather than your decisions being driven by your belly, the head needs the aid of the chest, of right feeling.

A few months ago, we had Michael Ward on the show to talk about why C.S. Lewis felt that modern life was making “men without chests.” Today, I talk to a guest who can shed light on what Lewis thought was needed to build that chest back up. His name is Louis Markos and he’s a professor of English, as well as the lecturer of the Great Courses course: The Life and Writings of C.S. Lewis. At the start of our conversation, Lou gives us some background on Lewis’ life, including his conversion to Christianity, and how the nature of that conversion influenced his thinking on how to pursue virtue more broadly. We then talk about Lewis’ philosophical argument for there being a universal moral order, and why the chest is so vital for staying grounded in it. We spend the rest of our discussion unpacking the three ways Lewis believed the chest could be “educated”: reading stories and myths, rejecting “chronological snobbery” to learn from the past, and developing friendships that inspire excellence.

Resources Related to the Podcast

Louis’ Great Courses course: The Life and Writings of C.S. LewisThe books Louis has authoredAoM Podcast #723: Men Without Chests With Michael WardAoM Podcast #430: Why You Need to Join the Great Conversation About the Great BooksAoM Article: The Power of Conversation — A Lesson From C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. TolkienAoM article on Plato’s view of the tripartite nature of the soulAoM series on Norse mythologyAoM Article: Don’t Take Your Marching Orders From Your BellyAoM Podcast #178: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Inklings Mastermind GroupThe Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion by James George FrazerThe Screwtape Letters by C.S. LewisThe Four Loves by C.S. LewisThe Chronicles of Narnia — The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. LewisThe Book of Virtues by William BennettAoM Article: The Winston Churchill School of Adulthood — Cultivate a Nostalgic Love for HistoryAoM article on C.S. Lewis’ advice on overcoming the “horror of the same old thing”AoM articles and podcasts on friendship

Connect With Louis Markos

Louis’ faculty page on HBU

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The post Podcast #765: C.S. Lewis on Building Men With Chests appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

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