Saturday, May 14, 2011

I keep looking for this quote and returning to it. It's in C.S. Lewis - Surprised by Joy.

It's about the distinction between enjoyment and contemplation. It's on 217-218. Maybe now I'll be able to find it again more easily. I got lucky finding it this time.

‘ I read in Alexander’s Space Time and Deity his theory of “Enjoyment” and “Contemplation.” These are technical terms in Alexander’s philosophy; “Enjoyment” has nothing to do with pleasure, nor “Contemplation” with the contemplative life. When you see a table you “enjoy” the act of seeing and “contemplate’ the table… In bereavement you contemplate the beloved and the beloved’s death and, in Alexander’s sense, “enjoy” the loneliness and grief; but a psychologist, if he were considering you as a case of melancholia, would be contemplating your grief and enjoying philosophy. ‘

…It seemed to me self-evident that one essential property of love, hate, fear, hope, or desire was attention to their object. To cease thinking about or attending to the woman is, so far, to cease loving; to cease thinking about or attending to the dreaded thing is, so far, to cease being afraid… In other words the enjoyment and the contemplation of our inner activities are incompatible. You cannot hope and also think about hoping at the same moment; for in hope we look to hope’s object and we interrupt this by (so to speak) turning round to look at the hope itself. Of course the two activities can and do alternate with great rapidity; but they are distinct and incompatible. ‘