The Four Loves by CS Lewis

The four loves:
1. Affection
2. Friendship
3. Eros
4. Charity

  • "Of course language is not an infallible guide, but it contains, with all its defects, a good deal of stored insight and experience." (2)
  • "Man approaches God most nearly when he is in one sense least like God." (4)
  • "A true philosophy may sometimes validate an experience of nature; an experience of nature cannot validate a philosophy. Nature will not verify any theological or metaphysical proposition (or not in the manner we are now considering); she will help to show what it means." (20)
  • "Say your prayers in a garden early, ignoring steadfastly the dew, the birds and the flowers, and you will come away overwhelmed by its freshness and joy; go there in order to be overwhelmed and, after a certain age, nine times out of ten nothing will happen to you." (22)
  • great discussion of the proper role of patriotism on pg. 23
  • quote about gin, 34
  • "But the proper aim of giving is to put the recipient in a state where he no longer needs our gift." (50)
  • individuality, Catholicism, and friendship pg. 60
  • "In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out…Hence true Friendship is the least jealous of loves. Two friends delight to be joined by a third, and three by a fourth, if only the newcomer is qualified to become a real friend." (61)
  • "The very condition of having Friends is that we should want something else besides Friends." (66)
  • "Nothing so enriches an erotic love as the discovery that the Beloved can reply, truly and spontaneously enter into Friendship with the Friend you already had: to feel that not only are we two united by erotic love but that we three or four or five are all travelers on the same quest, have all a common vision." (67)
  • "The little knots of Friends who turn their backs on the "World" are those who really transform it." (69)
  • "[Friendship] has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival." (71)
  • cautions against individual humility leading to group pride (83)
  • "Perhaps we may now hazard a guess why Scripture uses Friendship so rarely as an image of the highest love. It is already, in actual fact, too spiritual to be a good symbol of Spiritual things." (87)
  • “In friendship...we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years' difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another...the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting--any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances. A secret Master of Ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you," can truly say to every group of Christian friends, "You have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another." The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others…They are, like all beauties, derived from Him, and then, in a good Friendship, increased by Him through the Friendship itself, so that it is His instrument for creating as well as for revealing.” -C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves (89-90)
  • I should re-read the section on eros when I am closer to marriage
  • all human beings pass away, so we should not put too much love in them (according to Augustine, 120)
  • “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket--safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.” -C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves (121)
  • a definition of Hate, 123
  • "We cannot see light, thought by light we can see things. Statements about God are extrapolations from the knowledge of other things which the divine illumination enables us to know." (126)
  • "There are no tenses in God." (127)
  • "'Thou has made us for thyself and our heart has not rest till it comes to Thee.'" (St. Augustine, 138)