13 June 2012

A Little Help?

One great pet peeve of mine is the number of unsourced quotations on the internet. Whenever I quote something on my blog, I always try to reference the author and book in which the quotation can be found. If I'm reading a physical book and not a Kindle book, I'll add the page number as well.

Here's my current dilemma. I really love this statement:

Humility is not thinking less of yourself; It is thinking of yourself less.
It is commonly attributed to C.S. Lewis, but so far I've been unable to find any book or essay by Lewis that actually contains this quotation. I would really like to know if it is genuinely Lewis or if it has just been attributed to him like so many other random sayings.*

So consider this a plea for help. Are you a fan of Lewis, a fanatic of Lewis, or just someone with enough time on your hands and ready access to a lot of Lewis stuff? If so, I'd love to know if anyone can actually find this quotation in any of Lewis's writings. If you succeed, you will earn +5 internet points.
* Note: There was a time back in the early 2000s and the days of Napster when every comedy song was attributed to Weird Al Yankovic whether he actually had anything to do with it. It seems like C. S. Lewis has filled that position for pithy, spiritual sounding statements on the internet today. You can find hundreds of "Lewis quotes" online that are unrelated to Lewis in any way. For example, the saying, "You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body," is almost universally attributed to Lewis. In reality it comes from the American science fiction writer, Walter M. Miller.


Anonymous said...

I had the same trouble with another C. S. Lewis quote that I wanted to attribute. In this case, I knew Lewis had written it somewhere, but it took me a very long time to find it, and not at all where I expected it to be once I did find it.

Anyway, I searched through all my C. S. Lewis books, and while he comes close to it in Mere Christianity, it is not those words that he uses. Since I don't have every piece of writing he did, and I don't have an index to refer to, I may have missed it.

Perhaps this may be a Rick Warren quote from The Purpose Driven Life. I don't have that book to check, but the internet attributes it to him in various places.

Rose said...

Lewis geek here. I don't think Lewis ever said this exactly (and I've read a lot of his stuff), but, in The Screwtape Letters, he said something quite similar. I don't remember the exact wording unfortunately, but he spoke about how God wants people to be so...selfless, I think was the word he used, that they would be as happy if someone else built something grand like the Taj Mahal as if they did it. And vice versa. 'When a man loves his neighbor as himself, he is then freed to really love himself as much as he does his neighbor.'

In the same letter (somewhere towards the beginning of the book, I'm pretty sure) he also said that 'humility isn't pretty women saying that they are ugly or smart men saying they're stupid but' (and here's where my memory grows fuzzy and degrades to paraphrase ) 'rather those people acknowledging what they are and then thinking less of whether they are pretty or ugly or smart or stupid.'

Hope this helps; sorry I couldn't remember the exact wording.

Rose said...

WAIT. I think it's Letter 14, thanks to my iTunes audio book title. 'Extracting Pride from Humility'--sounds about right. But yeah. Not sure, though it might be a good place to look.

DebD said...

I remember seeing that last quote attributed to Lewis not that long ago and it gave me quite a pause. It really didn't seem like something any Christian would say, unless he was rather gnostic.

I read Miller's "Canticle..." and it was quite a book.