C S LewisC.S. Lewis (1898-1963), a former atheist who converted to Christianity, became well-known for his series of seven fantasy novels The Chronicles of Narnia, but the fame of this series sometimes overshadows other work by this fascinating author. And that’s a shame because, up to this day, Lewis remains a surprisingly fresh Christian thinker.

In Mere Christianity Lewis identifies “the great sin” of humanity as Pride. From his account it is clear that pride rests on what René Girard has called mimetic desire – i.e. a desire based on the imitation of what others desire. Mimetic desire can easily become competitive and lead to mimetic rivalry if people cannot or do not want to share the objects of their mutually enforced desire. The “proud man” derives his pride from the supposition that other people desire what he possesses. In a sense he needs competition (competitive desire) to affirm his prestigious aura, all the while of course not suspecting that his own desire is also based on the imitation of the desires of others… Of course, following the nuances of Lewis himself about pride, there’s nothing wrong with being proud of some achievement. To be proud of some recognition we receive from others might be a consequence of something that we have done. The proud man, on the other hand, is guided by his pride as the ultimate goal of his existence.

But enough introductory talk. Here’s what Lewis has to say on Pride – people acquainted with René Girard’s further developed mimetic theory will surely recognize some familiar themes 😉 [For more on this, click here].

I now come to that part of Christian morals where they differ most sharply from all other morals. There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which every one in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves. I have heard people admit that they are bad-tempered, or that they cannot keep their heads about girls or drink, or even that they are cowards. I do not think I have ever heard anyone who was not a Christian accuse himself of this vice. And at the same time I have very seldom met anyone, who was not a Christian, who showed the slightest mercy to it in others. There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others.

The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit: and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility. You may remember, when I was talking about sexual morality, I warned you that the centre of Christian morals did not lie there. Well, now, we have come to the centre. According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.

C.S. Lewis quote on Pride gets no pleasure out ofDoes this seem to you exaggerated? If so, think it over. I pointed out a moment ago that the more pride one had, the more one disliked pride in others. In fact, if you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, ‘How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronise me, or show off?’ The point is that each person’s pride is in competition with every one else’s pride. It is because I wanted to be the big noise at the party that I am so annoyed at someone else being the big noise. Two of a trade never agree. Now what you want to get clear is that Pride is essentially competitive – is competitive by its very nature – while the other vices are competitive only, so to speak, by accident. Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone. That is why I say that Pride is essentially competitive in a way the other vices are not. The sexual impulse may drive two men into competition if they both want the same girl. But that is only by accident; they might just as likely have wanted two different girls. But a proud man will take your girl from you, not because he wants her, but just to prove to himself that he is a better man than you. Greed may drive men into competition if there is not enough to go round; but the proud man, even when he has got more than he can possibly want, will try to get still more just to assert his power. Nearly all those evils in the world which people put down to greed or selfishness are really far more the result of Pride.

Take it with money. Greed will certainly make a man want money, for the sake of a better house, better holidays, better things to eat and drink. But only up to a point. What is it that makes a man with £ 10,000 a year anxious to get £ 20,000 a year? It is not the greed for more pleasure. £ 10,000 will give all the luxuries that any man can really enjoy. It is Pride – the wish to be richer than some other rich man, and (still more) the wish for power. For, of course, power is what Pride really enjoys: there is nothing makes a man feel so superior to others as being able to move them about like toy soldiers. What makes a pretty girl spread misery wherever she goes by collecting admirers? Certainly not her sexual instinct: that kind of girl is quite often sexually frigid. It is Pride. What is it that makes a political leader or a whole nation go on and on, demanding more and more? Pride again. Pride is competitive by its very nature: that is why it goes on and on. If I am a proud man, then, as long as there is one man in the whole world more powerful, or richer, or cleverer than I, he is my rival and my enemy.

C.S. Lewis quote on pride The Christians are rightThe Christians are right: it is Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began. Other vices may sometimes bring people together: you may find good fellowship and jokes and friendliness among drunken people or unchaste people. But pride always means enmity – it is enmity. And not only enmity between man and man, but enmity to God.

In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that – and, therefore, know yourself as nothing in comparison – you do not know God at all. As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.

That raises a terrible question. How is it that people who are quite obviously eaten up with Pride can say they believe in God and appear to themselves very religious? I am afraid it means they are worshipping an imaginary God. They theoretically admit themselves to be nothing in the presence of this phantom God, but are really all the time imagining how He approves of them and thinks them far better than ordinary people: that is, they pay a pennyworth of imaginary humility to Him and get out of it a pound’s worth of Pride towards their fellow-men. I suppose it was of those people Christ was thinking when He said that some would preach about Him and cast out devils in His name, only to be told at the end of the world that He had never known them. And any of us may at any moment be in this death-trap. Luckily, we have a test. Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel that we are good – above all, that we are better than someone else – I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the devil. The real test of being in the presence of God is, that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether.

C.S. Lewis quote on Pride is spiritual cancerIt is a terrible thing that the worst of all the vices can smuggle itself into the very centre of our religious life. But you can see why. The other, and less bad, vices come from the devil working on us through our animal nature. But this does not come through our animal nature at all. It comes direct from Hell. It is purely spiritual: consequently it is far more subtle and deadly. For the same reason, Pride can often be used to beat down the simpler vices. Teachers, in fact, often appeal to a boy’s Pride, or, as they call it, his self-respect, to make him behave decently: many a man has overcome cowardice, or lust, or ill-temper, by learning to think that they are beneath his dignity – that is, by Pride. The devil laughs. He is perfectly content to see you becoming chaste and brave and self-controlled provided, all the time, he is setting up in you the Dictatorship of Pride – just as he would be quite content to see your chilblains cured if he was allowed, in return, to give you cancer. For Pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.

Before leaving this subject I must guard against some possible misunderstandings:

(1) Pleasure in being praised is not Pride. The child who is patted on the back for doing a lesson well, the woman whose beauty is praised by her lover, the saved soul to whom Christ says ‘Well done,’ are pleased and ought to be. For here the pleasure lies not in what you are but in the fact that you have pleased someone you wanted (and rightly wanted) to please. The trouble begins when you pass from thinking, ‘I have pleased him; all is well,’ to thinking, ‘What a fine person I must be to have done it.’ The more you delight in yourself and the less you delight in the praise, the worse you are becoming. When you delight wholly in yourself and do not care about the praise at all, you have reached the bottom. That is why vanity, though it is the sort of Pride which shows most on the surface, is really the least bad and most pardonable sort. The vain person wants praise, applause, admiration, too much and is always angling for it. It is a fault, but a child-like and even (in an odd way) a humble fault. It shows that you are not yet completely contented with your own admiration. You value other people enough to want them to look at you. You are, in fact, still human. The real black, diabolical Pride, comes when you look down on others so much that you do not care what they think of you. Of course, it is very right, and often our duty, not to care what people think of us, if we do so for the right reason; namely, because we care so incomparably more what God thinks. But the Proud man has a different reason for not caring. He says ‘Why should I care for the applause of that rabble as if their opinion were worth anything? And even if their opinions were of value, am I the sort of man to blush with pleasure at a compliment like some chit of a girl at her first dance? No, I am an integrated, adult personality. All I have done has been done to satisfy my own ideals – or my artistic conscience – or the traditions of my family – or, in a word, because I’m That Kind of Chap. If the mob like it, let them. They’re nothing to me.’ In this way real thorough-going pride may act as a check on vanity; for, as I said a moment ago, the devil loves ‘curing’ a small fault by giving you a great one. We must try not to be vain, but we must never call in our Pride to cure our vanity.

(2) We say in English that a man is ‘proud’ of his son, or his father, or his school, or regiment, and it may be asked whether ‘pride’ in this sense is a sin. I think it depends on what, exactly, we mean by ‘proud of’. Very often, in such sentences, the phrase ‘is proud of’ means ‘has a warm-hearted admiration for’. Such an admiration is, of course, very far from being a sin. But it might, perhaps, mean that the person in question gives himself airs on the ground of his distinguished father, or because he belongs to a famous regiment. This would, clearly, be a fault; but even then, it would be better than being proud simply of himself. To love and admire anything outside yourself is to take one step a way from utter spiritual ruin; though we shall not be well so long as we love and admire anything more than we love and admire God.

(3) We must not think Pride is something God forbids because He is offended at it, or that Humility is something He demands as due to His own dignity – as if God Himself was proud. He is not in the least worried about His dignity. The point is, He wants you to know Him: wants to give you Himself. And He and you are two things of such a kind that if you really get into any kind of touch with Him you will, in fact, be humble – delightedly humble, feeling the infinite relief of having for once got rid of all the silly nonsense about your own dignity which has made you restless and unhappy all your life. He is trying to make you humble in order to make this moment possible: trying to take off a lot of silly, ugly, fancy-dress in which we have all got ourselves up and are strutting about like the little idiots we are. I wish I had got a bit further with humility myself: if I had, I could probably tell you more about the relief, the comfort, of taking the fancy-dress off – getting rid of the false self, with all its ‘Look at me’ and ‘Aren’t I a good boy?’ and all its posing and posturing. To get even near it, even for a moment, is like a drink of cold water to a man in a desert.

C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity(4) Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call ‘humble’ nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all. If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realise that one is proud. And a biggish step, too. At least, nothing whatever can be done before it. If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.

Taken from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis (Collins, C.S. Lewis Signature Classics Edition 2012; p.121-128).

C.S. Lewis Stained Glass Window St George Episcopal Church Dayton Ohio

Some thoughts inspired by C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity and mimetic theory

Who is this man who forgives sins? Is he entitled to forgive a woman accused of adultery? Shouldn’t this be up to the husband of this woman?

Who has been hurt by the adultery? The husband, sure, but also Love itself… This man, Jesus of Nazareth, the one who is called the Christ, forgives sins and mistakes committed between human beings… He either is a complete lunatic, or he is who he claims to be – namely: the incarnation of Love himself, violated time and again by our great sin, which is pride…

These thoughts on Jesus of Nazareth are inspired by C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), a former atheist who converted to Christianity because it made more reasonable sense to him than his atheism. Of course Lewis became well-known for his series of seven fantasy novels The Chronicles of Narnia, but the fame of this series sometimes overshadows other work by this fascinating author. And that’s a shame because, up to this day, Lewis remains a surprisingly fresh Christian thinker.

In Mere Christianity, Lewis tries to explain, as a lay-man, what Christianity is essentially about. I’ve tried to summarize some of his main insights on “the fall of the human race” and “the need for salvation” in three sections (paradise – the fall – salvation). References to familiar biblical stories should be clear. Relevant inspirational fragments of Mere Christianity can be read in enclosed pdf. Those familiar with mimetic theory will certainly recognize major themes of Girard’s approximation of Christianity in my summary – reading of The Great Sin (fragment 2 of Mere Christianity in pdf, see below) is highly recommended. Enjoy!



We are social animals.

We are naturally interested in each other.

Experiencing that someone is interested in you as you are, is the fulfillment of a deep human desire. It’s paradise.


Because we are interested in each other, we may also get interested in our neighbor’s peculiar activities and possessions. There’s nothing wrong with that.

But in comes this surreptitious fear, whispering in our ear: “The difference between yourself and the other is not something to be joyful or inspired about. It means that you are less important than the other, that you are less…” And you indeed start asking yourself why you shouldn’t have, for example, a fruit tree of your own like your neighbor. You start wondering why your neighbor should hold more proprietary rights to cultivate a particular kind of fruit, and why you should be less entitled to enjoy that fruit.

Soon after this kind of competitive comparison we become interested in our neighbor because of what he or she seems to represent – an importance because of certain activities and possessions –, and no longer because of him- or herself. Moreover, instead of questioning ourselves on our deepest desires, we get focused on the idea that the other finds pride in “being more important” than ourselves. Like a child who thinks his parents are trying to boss him around, and that responds to this impression in trying to become the boss himself. Of course, in imitating the supposed pride of someone else, we’ll never notice the reality of the situation, namely that the other might as well give us advice because he really cares about us – and not because he’s trying to protect his own interests or prestige…

All too often a supposed pride is imitated: we develop pride ourselves, deceiving ourselves by thinking “we are better than the one who displays pride” – which is of course an utterance of pride itself! That’s why we often desire recognition, not for ourselves, but for the prestige we have constructed in jealously comparing ourselves – not to others, but to what we imagine about others. Blinding ourselves for the attention we do receive (as someone is indeed asking us: “What is bothering you, why are you so angry?”), we find it all the more difficult to live close to a neighbor who seems to receive all the recognition in the world. A destructive, self-fulfilling prophecy…


It’s pride – a mimetic, mutually reinforcing desire for recognition of one another’s prestige –  which poisons human relationships. Because of this poison, we are no longer interested in each other, hell, we’re not even interested in ourselves anymore. The devilish dynamic of pride takes its toll: unable to exist by itself, it parasitizes on our initial interest in each other to pervert this interest. In the end, because of pride, we are no longer capable of respecting ourselves and others, as we are obsessed with the vanity of some prestige

Hell is the twisted opposite of the original heavenly situation between human beings: while we are initially attentive to certain objects, activities and goals because of a natural and basic interest in others, we gradually become interested in others only because of the allegedly weighty importance of certain objects, activities and goals. Others become means to achieve this alleged importance ourselves. They no longer are the alpha and omega (source and destination, origin and goal) of our interest. In other words, we are no longer capable of fulfilling our neighbor’s deepest desire: being interested in our neighbor for his or her own sake. Moreover, we are equally no longer capable of receiving the interest of others in ourselves, because we mainly focus on others who seem to be interested in (and seem to confirm) our prestige.


Christianity is convinced that human beings can only exist fully “in relationships”. It is also convinced that pride always, time and again, threatens to poison human relationships, and alienates men from themselves and each other. Therefore it keeps on visiting this “doctor” (apart from other doctors within and outside the world of religion) who is believed to have revealed the human sickness – the epidemic of pride and jealousy (the original sin) – in all its hidden depths, and who is also believed to have offered an ultimate cure for this. This doctor is known as Jesus of Nazareth, the one who is called the Christ.


Christ is believed to infect humankind – as no other before or after him – with the restoring epidemic of creative Love (understood as genuine interest in others, without ulterior motives).


So Christianity, although aimed at all, is – at the explicit level – not for people:

who don’t believe there’s anything ALIENATING or WRONG with human relationships based on a (jealous) competition for prestige (pride), and based on a fear of others who are mistrusted as potential rivals (“who could take my life and safety away – things I’m entitled to have…”).

who don’t believe there’s a PERFECT VERSION of something like genuine interest in others; who don’t believe in the existence of a kind OF LOVE WITHOUT ULTERIOR MOTIVES, which creates an exemplary, inspiring and redeeming dynamic whenever we “get lost” in the temptations of pride and jealousy.

who don’t believe that SALVATION lies in the cultivation and (otherworldly) fulfillment of the dynamic of “genuine love for or interest in others”.

who don’t believe, in short, that there’s any SICKNESS they themselves and humankind as a whole needs to be CURED or SAVED from.

who don’t believe, even if they agree on the question of our typical “sickness” as human beings, that salvation has been offered to us in Jesus Christ.

On the other hand, Christianity is for people:

who believe we tend to attach importance to prestige and other “things of this world” because we are possessed by a deep and largely hidden FEAR OF DEATH – which makes our life seem of “no importance”, hence we try to give it some “weight” (the weight of vanity that is, of things that will pass just the same).

who believe it is ultimately fear of death which keeps us from developing full and perfect love for one another. Our desire to love one another is crossed by the dynamic of pride and jealousy – THE LOVE AND AMBITION FOR IMAGE, STATUS, PRESTIGE, REPUTATION, CONTROLLING POWER and for recognition because of that… Because we fear death, we tend to look for things which promise “immortal fame” – the PARADOX being that some of us are willing to literally SACRIFICE their own life TO ACHIEVE this kind of IMMORTALITY (examples of this kind of masochistic sacrifice are suicidal terrorist attacks, or suicide because one feels like a loser if one doesn’t achieve what is supposed to be “a worthwhile life by the standards of this world”).

who believe that a being, capable of perfect love, can only be a being that is NOT DEFINED BY DEATH.

who believe that a being, capable of perfect love, is Love in itself, and is “essentially relational” – this idea is expressed symbolically in the idea of the Trinity (“God” or “(Perfect) Love” as the relationship between “Father, Son and Holy Ghost”).


who believe that God, as an immortal being, is other than us humans (who are mortal), but is genuinely concerned with those who are other – because Love is “being interested in the other for the sake of the other”, because Love is “wanting the other to exist and to live in happiness”. Of course the condition for real and full happiness is freedom…

who believe God, this being of Love, offers salvation to the whole of humankind in eventually becoming the incarnated victim of the Pride of the whole of humankind. Expelled as “the common enemy” or forsaken “by all” (including his so-called friends), this victim – Christ – offers “the other cheek” (which is the mystery of the resurrection), challenging and freeing us to include the ones who, time and again, become the victim of our worst fears, of our pride, envy and frustration… To be forgiven by a victim who has every right to “take revenge” because of his total innocence, is an experience of FORGIVENESS and GRACE in its most outspoken form.

who believe that Christ desires to LIBERATE us from the fear of death, so that we can start loving each other more fully and perfectly, creating another basis to build human relationships – the basis or PARADISE we naturally start from (our genuine interest in others) which is all too soon corrupted by our fears and frustrations.

who believe that IMMORTALITY should not be the goal of (or “reward” for) one’s actions, but IS A MEANS to start developing actions of a perfecting love for one’s neighbor…

who believe that Christ shows that a God of Love is not “almighty” in the sense of being “all-controlling”; God is almighty seen from the perspective of a Christ who is not deceived by the temptation of pride and “this-worldly ambition”. By resisting the temptation for some kind of “prestige” (in other words by RESISTING MASOCHISM) Christ is able “to become the Servant of all” and to keep on loving others for the sake of those others… Because Christ is true to the “Spirit” of his “Father”, because Christ remains “the incarnation of Love”, he can resist sacrificing others (in other words RESIST SADISM) for the sake of some pride.


who believe suffering is not the ultimate definition and goal of life, but who are WILLING TO SUFFER BECAUSE OF LOVE FOR ONE’S NEIGHBOR.

who believe they still have A LONG WAY TO GO, but that there’s Someone giving them life, time and again, to GET BACK UP (leaving the ‘dead way of pride’ and choosing the ‘living path of love’), even if they don’t immediately see it or experience it…

who don’t wish to take pride in being CHRISTIANS, knowing that some of the people who call themselves NON-BELIEVERS or NON-CHRISTIANS are much closer to the reality incarnated by Christ than they are themselves…


1 John 3:11-14:

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death.

Matthew 23:29-39:

Jesus said: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!”

“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.”

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'”

Christ comes to the world as the example, constantly enjoining: Imitate me. We humans prefer to adore him instead. – Quote by Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855).

To adore Christ means, in the sense that Kierkegaard uses the verb, to idolize him. When you idolize someone else, it often means that you secretly want to become this other person, that you want to take his ‘royal’ place, sometimes even by ‘murdering’ him. In other words, to idolize someone means that you’re not satisfied with yourself, that you’re not accepting yourself, that you don’t experience love for who you are. This explains why we tend to look for what others designate as desirable, and why we want to obtain a desirable position ourselves – i.e. why we want to become ‘perfect’ and ‘divine’ idols ourselves. For obtaining a desirable position seems to fulfill our need to feel loved. However, in the process of surrendering to an imitation of the desires of others we simply lose ourselves. Guided by what René Girard calls ‘mimetic’ (i.e. ‘imitative’) desire, we often want things for ourselves which alienate us from our ‘true’ nature and from our own, unique vocation. So, near the end of this process we’re not loved for who we are but because of the ‘status’ we seem to have gained. Jesus magnificently points out this tragic paradox: For whoever wants to save their life will lose it… What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?” (Luke 9:24a-25).

Sometimes the devil wants you to think that until you’re perfect don’t go talking to God. – Quote by C.C. DeVille.

As you can see in the film below, C.C. DeVille – what’s in an artist’s name? –, guitarist of ‘hair metal, glam rock’ band Poison, clearly understands how his early life relied heavily on the principles I just described. He admits giving in to an unhealthy sense of pride, to a desire for ‘status’. He quite literally says he wanted others to be envious of him. Indeed, envy is the negative side of mimetic desire, the flipside of admiration, and for a person who desires to be desirable it is a big achievement to feel envied. Yet C.C. DeVille felt his life was not fulfilled. He was not happy until he experienced, in his own words, ‘God’s grace’. He discovered the ‘unconditional love’ by which he was finally able to accept himself. The paradox is that, by obeying God’s call through Christ, he became free. “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it but whoever loses their life for me will save it,” Christ claims (in the completed Luke 9:24). That’s exactly what C.C. DeVille discovered, for truly imitating Christ means to accept yourself and others, not to be ashamed of oneself, and to be enabled to grow towards one’s ‘real’ and ‘honest’ vocation. It’s only when we’re accepting ourselves that we are able to approach others, not as means to fulfill our need to feel loved, but as the true ‘goals’ of our lives in the realm of Love, in the realm of a giving Grace that wants to be ‘imitated’ – and to imitate giving means to become ‘givers’ ourselves. That’s why St. Francis (1181-1226) prays: O Lord, grant that I may not so much seek to be loved, as to love…”

Being free means ‘being free for the other,’ because the other has bound me to him. Only in relationship with the other am I free. – Quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

We are relational beings. We don’t develop relationships ‘out of the blue’, from a primal ‘individual freedom’. On the contrary, it’s the quality of our relationships which decides whether we become free or not – are we led by fear, envy and pride or by trust, grace and truthful honesty?

This post might seem a little weird. I realize that. Few of my friends in the world of music understand why I like ‘hair metal’ so much. This particular brand of rock music has never been a favorite among established pop criticism. I discovered it as a kid, and I was attracted first by the colorful extravaganza of the bands, the big choruses of the songs and the sheer joy displayed in live shows. ‘Hair metal’ felt like summer to me. Later on I discovered that behind this joyful image there often lurked an empty world of drug abuse, superficial relationships without real intimacy and just plain decadence. Yet, at the same time, some of the songs had a melancholic feel which betrayed a longing for more sustainable experiences in life.

Guitarist C.C. DeVille articulates this longing of ‘the soul’ in the following interview. I combined it with quotes by famous thinkers, mostly Christian. One of my pupils, who commences studies in philosophy next year, convinced me to try working with quotes. So, here you have it. I hope I’m able to show in this way that C.C. DeVille really understands what Christianity is all about. Because, let’s face it, especially in the academic world we all too often look down on the so-called ‘superficial’ world of popular culture. Well, at the margins of that world, at what seems to be the pinnacle of superficiality, we have a band like Poison. I dare you, dear reader, to look beyond everything you think to know about bands like these, and to move beyond certain ‘mimetic’ processes which convinced you to dismiss the members of ‘glam metal’ bands. True, Poison might not have written the best songs ever, but I do believe their music is honest – ‘what you hear is what you get’. And if you’re still looking for unexpected complexity and sophistication in this music genre, try a band like Winger – great musicianship combined with the compositional talents of lead singer Kip Winger (as is evidenced by his solo efforts).

Now, watch the interview with C.C. – what you see is what you get –, and click here


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