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C.S. Lewis on Praise

March 15, 2012

“…the most obvious fact about praise—whether of God or anything else—strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honour. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise unless . . . shyness or the fear of boring others is deliberately brought in to check it. The world rings with praise lovers praising their mistresses . . . readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favourite game—praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars. I had not noticed how the humblest, and at the same time most balanced and capacious, minds, praised the most, while the cranks, misfits and malcontents praised the least. . . . (Reflections on the Psalms [New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1958], 93–95).

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