Sunday, February 28, 2010

Affection (1st Love, Part 3)

... Friends and lovers feel that they were ‘made for one another’. The especial glory of Affection is that it can unite those who most emphatically, even comically, are not; people who, if they had not found themselves put down by fate in the same household or community, would have had nothing to do with each other. If Affection grows out of this — of course it often does not — their eyes begin to open. Growing fond of ‘old so-and-so’, at first simply because he happens to be there, I presently begin to see that there is ‘something in him’ after all. The moment when one first says, really meaning it, that though he is not ‘my sort of man’ he is a very good man ‘in his own way’ is one of liberation. It does not feel like that; we may feel only tolerant and indulgent. But really we have crossed a frontier. That ‘in his own way’ means that we are getting beyond our own idiosyncrasies, that we are learning to appreciate goodness or intelligence in themselves, dog-catnot merely goodness or intelligence flavoured and served to suit our own palate. 
‘Dogs and cats should always be brought up together,’ said someone, ‘it broadens their minds so.’ Affection broadens ours; of all natural loves it is the most catholic, the least finical, the broadest. The people with whom you are thrown together in the family, the college, the mess, the ship, the religious house, are from this point of view a wider circle than the friends, however numerous, whom you have made for yourself in the outer world.
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves (1960; HarperCollins: 2002) 45-46.

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