Dying Culture

The central conviction which has dominated my mind ever since I began to write is the conviction that the society or culture which has lost its spiritual roots is a dying culture, however prosperous it may appear externally. Consequently the problem of social survival is not only a political or economic one; it is above all things religious, since it is in religion that the ultimate spiritual roots both of society and the individual are to be found. [Christopher Dawson, Dynamics of World History, xxxi]

Materialism Destroys Culture

The spiritual alienation of its own greatest minds is the price that every civilization has to pay when it loses its religious foundation, and is contented with a purely material success. We are only just beginning to understand how intimately and profoundly the vitality of a society is bound up with its religion. It is the religious impulse which supplies the cohesive force which unifies a society and a culture. The great civilizations of the world do not produce the great religions as a kind of cultural by-product; in a very real sense, the great religions are the foundations on which the great civilizations rest. A society which has lost its religion becomes sooner or later a society which has lost its culture. [Dynamics of World History, 136]

Lewis on Escapism

What then is the good of—what is even the defence for—occupying our hearts with stories of what never happened and entering vicariously into feeling which we should try to avoid having in our own person? Or of fixing our inner eye earnestly on things that can never exist—on Dante’s earthly paradise, Thetis rising from the sea to comfort Achilles, Chaucer’s or Spenser’s Lady Nature, ro the Mariner’s skeleton ship? …The nearest I have yet got to an answer is that we seek an enlargement of our being. We want to be more than ourselves… We want to see with other eyes, to imagine with other imaginations, to feel with other hearts, as well as with our own. [C. S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism]