Monday, August 28, 2023

How About a Little Owen Barfield?


Owen Barfield (1898-1997) was one of the Inklings, and was one of the people who influenced C.S. Lewis. Indeed, Lewis once described Barfield, whom he considered a friend, as "the best and wisest of my unofficial teachers."

Barfield and Lewis around 1940

Here are a few quotations from Barfield: 

“The obvious is the hardest thing of all to point out to anyone who has genuinely lost sight of it.”
― Worlds Apart

“When the velocity of progress increases beyond a certain point, it becomes indistinguishable from crisis.”
 Night Operation

“True understanding is unattainable without both love and detachment,”
― History in English Words

“Understanding what another human being says to us is always a matter of translation.”

“There is no surer or more illuminating way of reading a man's character, and perhaps a little of his past history, than by observing the contexts in which he prefers to use certain words.”
― History in English Words

“Before the scientific revolution, [man] did not feel himself isolated by his skin from the world outside to quite the same extent that we do. He was integrated, or mortised into it, each different part of him being united to a different part of it by some invisible thread. In his relation to his environment, the man of the middle ages was rather less like an island, rather more like an embryo.”
― Saving the Appearances: A Study in Idolatry

“It was a question of steering Christian dogma between the Scylla of pantheism and the Charybdis of materialism and its logical conclusion, scepticism.”
― History in English Words