Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Meditations in a Toolshed

“Meditation in a Tool Shed” is a well-written chapter that provokes readesr to think about how to gain knowledge and wisdom. The examples used such as a beam of light and a young man in love are well presented and easy for readers to relate to. In this chapter Lewis makes the point that there are two ways to view any subject. One way is to remove oneself from bias and seek a scientific or outside explanation. The other way is to be inside the subject through a personal, emotional experience. Lewis asserts that discovering the truth requires both views.
Lewis convincingly portrays the value of each type of view while also reminding the reader that no matter how a subject is approached it has a source that is more interesting than the subject itself. Lewis’ argument in favor of an outside viewpoint is that often our inside viewpoint is unreliable due to bias. He says it is hard to completely understand a subject if we only trust our own experience of it. On the other hand, Lewis also discourages people from trying to deconstruct everything in an attempt to remove bias and rot. If a subject is deconstructed too far one no longer has a subject to view.
Lewis concludes that it is best to use both an outside, scientific viewpoint and an inside viewpoint of experience. He also concedes that there are subjects that are better viewed through one or the other viewpoint. However, he does not mean that these subjects should only be examined through one viewpoint because neither viewpoint by itself can provide us with a completely truthful understanding of any subject. Despite all these profound conclusions Lewis calls people to simply stop “brow-beating;” to stop always seeking further explanation. Science and experience can provide a base of knowledge but at some point one must also seek wisdom and humility through the truth and learning.

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