C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud: Two Contrasting Worldviews Eric D. Achtyes, M.D., M.S. Clinical Assistant Professor Department of Psychiatry Michigan State University College of Human Medicine April 3, 2009 Overview Background Sigmund Freud’s Life C.S. Lewis’ Life Suffering and Pain: Freud and Lewis Discussion/Questions Background Dr. Armand M. Nicholi, Jr. - Book and PBS video: “The Question of God”. Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. Asked to teach a class on Sigmund Freud to undergraduates. Students wanted a countering opinion. Nicholi incorporated Lewis’ views. Has been teaching the course “Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis: Two Contrasting World Views” to Harvard undergraduates and at the Harvard Medical School for >30 years as a critical review of literature. Dr. Nicholi’s analyst, when he was in training, was Dr. Felix Deutsch, who had been Freud’s physician when his cancer was first diagnosed. Bibliography Freud: An Autobiographical Study Question of a Weltanschauung Lay Analysis Future of an Illusion A Religious Experience Totem and Taboo Moses and Monotheism Psychoanalysis and Faith Civilization and Its Discontents Lewis: Mere Christianity Miracles Surprised by Joy The Screwtape Letters The Problem of Pain A Grief Observed Bibliography Cont. Other “The Question of God,” Armand Nicholi, Jr. “The Illusion of a Future,” Oskar Pfister Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, John, Psalms from the Bible. “Freud and the Problem of God,” Hans Kung The Question of God Freud's Last Session Written by Mark St. Germain, directed by Tyler Marchant As suggested in the Epilogue of "The Question of God" by Dr. Armand M. Nicholi, Jr. Starring: Fritz Weaver June 10, 2009 - June 28, 2009 After escaping the Nazis in Vienna, legendary psychiatrist Dr. Sigmund Freud invites a young, little known professor, C.S. Lewis, to his home in London. Lewis expects to be called on the carpet for satirizing Freud in a recent book but the dying Freud has a more significant agenda. On the day England entered WW II, Freud and Lewis clash on the existence of God, love, sex and the meaning of life – only two weeks before Freud chose to take his own. Sigmund Freud’s Life Sigmund Freud’s Life Anna Freud: “If you want to know my father… read his letters.” Sigismund Schlomo Freud, born May 6, 1856 in Frieberg, Moravia (Czech Republic) to Jacob and Amalia Freud. Amalia (teenager) was Jacob’s (40 yrs old) 3rd wife. He was already a grandfather and had 2 sons from his first marriage, 1 older than Amalia, and 1 a year younger. Freud was cared for by a nursemaid until 2 1/2 years old. She was a devout Roman Catholic and took him to church with her. Sigmund Freud’s Life The nursemaid “told me a great deal about God Almighty, and hell, and who instilled in me a high opinion of my own capacities.” His mother called him, her 1st born, her “golden Siggie” and he was given his own room in which to study. Age <2 Freud’s younger brother, Julius, died, absorbing a lot of his mother’s time. His nanny was accused of stealing and dismissed shortly thereafter. He later referred to religion, with its repetitive practices, as the “universal obsessional neurosis.” Sigmund Freud’s Life His father, Jacob, was raised an Orthodox Jew, but his religion faded as he aged. Jacob read from the Hebrew Old Testament, the Philippson Bible, and sent Freud a copy on his 35th birthday. Sigmund never learned Hebrew and knew only a little Yiddish. Jacob was a wool merchant, and the family relatively poor, moved to Leipzig when Sigmund was 3 yo, and then 1 yr later, to Vienna, Austria. Sigmund lived and worked in Vienna until 1932, when at the age of 82, he escaped to London to avoid the Nazi invasion. Sigmund Freud’s Life In his teen years, Sigmund studied Judaism under Samuel Hammerschlag, a secular Jew who emphasized the historical and ethical side of Jewish history, rather than the religious aspects. At age 17, Sigmund entered the University of Vienna and was influenced by a philosophy professor, Franz Brentano, a former priest, who swayed Freud considerably toward a theistic worldview. A lifelong empiricist, Freud declared in a letter to a friend that, “He [Brentano] demonstrates the existence of God with as little bias and as much precision as another might argue the advantage of the wave over the emission theory… …I have ceased to be a materialist and am not yet a theist.” This inner ambivalence stayed with Freud his entire life, despite his public endorsements of atheism. Sigmund Freud’s Life Freud began reading “The Essence of Christianity” by Ludwig Feuerbach and agreed with him that religion was the projection of human need and deep-seated wishes, that “the substance and object of religion is altogether human… divine wisdom is human wisdom… the secret of theology is anthropology…” Freud wrote in the “Future of an Illusion” that “We shall tell ourselves that it would be very nice if there were a God who created the world and was a benevolent providence…and an afterlife…but…all this is exactly as we are bound to wish it to be.” Within the medical communities of Europe, there was a distinct disdain for the spiritual worldview an assumption that empiricism was the only way to discover truth. Sigmund Freud’s Life Sigmund worked in the lab of Ernest Brucke, who asserted that no truth existed except that discernible by the scientific method. Vienna was >90% Catholic at the time. Freud faced anti-Semitism in his efforts to obtain a professorship at the University of Vienna, repeatedly being passed over for a post. He waited 17 years. The usual wait was 4 years. Medical journals at the time were filled with articles illustrating how “Jews were profoundly flawed… and predisposed to a host of illnesses.” Sigmund Freud’s Life Jacob Freud told his son Sigmund a story when Sigmund was 10 yrs old about how an anti-Semite had knocked his cap off into the mud and shouted “Jew! Get off the pavement!” His father meekly went and picked up his cap and kept walking. To Sigmund that response was “unheroic conduct.” Sigmund fought real and perceived anti-Semitism all his life. On a train Freud was once called a “dirty Jew.” He describes being “not in the least frightened by the mob… I was quite prepared to kill him…” Sigmund Freud’s Life On Easter Sunday in 1886, at the age of 30, Freud opened a private practice in neuropathology. On Sept. 13, 1886, he married Martha Bernays in a Town Hall in Germany, followed by a brief Jewish ceremony in the home of the bride. Jacob Freud died in Oct. 1896, and Sigmund, 40, described it as “the most poignant loss in a man’s life.” Despite viewing his father as a failure, the death struck him hard, it “has affected me profoundly… I feel quite uprooted.” Freud began his self-analysis and proposed the “Oedipus complex.” Freud’s Apartment: Berggasse 19, Vienna, Austria Stairway to Freud’s Consultation Rooms Freud’s Couch Sigmund Freud’s Life Freud’s mother died in 1930, and he was surprisingly unemotional: “I was not at the funeral.” Freud and his family were exiled to London on June 6, 1938, fearing Nazi attacks on the Jews. He was made to sign a letter that he had been treated fairly by the Nazis prior to his departure. Freud died Sept. 23, 1939 at the age of 83. He had fought oral cancer for years, performing surgery on himself, using cocaine as an anesthetic. He convinced his personal physician, Dr. Max Schur, to administer 3 lethal doses of morphine, which led to his death. Sigmund Freud - 1931 Golders Green Crematorium Freud’s Memorial Sigmund Freud’s Life Freud seemed to struggle between what his nanny had told him about having a “high opinion of his own capacities,” and the external world’s desire to prove him inferior. His ideas were new, daring and based on his scientific observations of human behavior. They were as rigorously scientific as technology at the time would allow. His theories threatened the dominant majority’s opinion of why humans behave the way they do. Sigmund Freud’s Life Freud’s ego, while strong, was also easily threatened by others. Narcissism and shame are often closely wed. His friendships with colleagues were often strained as Freud found discussion and disagreements about his theories threatening (eg, the splits with Adler and Jung). Unfortunately, Freud’s superior intellect often left him with little regard for the opinions of others. “For the masses are lazy and unintelligent… …arguments are of no avail against their passions.” And, “…not all men are worthy of love.” Sigmund Freud’s Life Freud published >200 scholarly works (articles, books, etc.). In 1910 he founded the International Psychoanalytical Association, and the journal “Imago” in 1912. Today Freud’s accomplishments are ranked with those of Planck and Einstein. He is listed as the 6th most influential scientist of all time. He won the prestigious “Goethe prize” in 1930, and his face is on the Austrian 50 shilling note. He was made an Honorary Member of the British Royal Society of Medicine in 1935. President Franklin Roosevelt helped broker his safe transfer to London in 1938. He has been on the cover of “Time” magazine 3 times: 1924, 1939, 1993. Freud Museum, London Sigmund Freud’s Life Thanks in large part to Freud, it is now widely accepted that early relationships with parents and caregivers strongly impacts later psychological health. These early life relationships, as we will also see with C.S. Lewis, profoundly influence the development of one’s worldview. C.S. Lewis’ Life Clive Staples Lewis was born November 29, 1898 in Belfast, Ireland to Albert and Florence Lewis, who married August 29, 1894. Albert was Welsh in descent, and Florence, Scottish. His father worked practicing law in Belfast and was moody and emotional. His mother was cool and analytical. Lewis’ grandfather was vicar and preached at their local church. He would weep in the pulpit. Lewis’ father’s and grandfather’s emotionality bred in him a distrust for emotions and religion. He instead embraced a materialist worldview. C.S. Lewis’ Life At age 4, Lewis informed his parents that he would go by the name “Jack.” At age 6, he first recognized beauty through creation— moss, twigs and flowers. He called it ‘joy’ and described it as a type of longing [which he eventually recognized was for a Person]. From ages 6-8, his older brother, Warren was off at boarding school. The cool, rainy, Belfast weather contributed to his desire to spend time indoors. Lewis lived almost entirely in his imagination: reading, drawing and writing stories. C.S. Lewis’ Life At age 9, Lewis’ world was turned upside down when his grandfather died and then his mother became sick with cancer and died. He recalled her surgery in their home and having to observe her corpse—after praying to God for her healing. Albert Lewis decided he could not care adequately for the boys and sent them both off to boarding school. Lewis hated boarding school. The headmaster “Oldie” was cruel. He would beat the children mercilessly. He was eventually convicted of undue cruelty and his school shut down due to a lack of students. He was a clergyman in the Church of England, a fact that was not lost on Lewis. C.S. Lewis’ Life Alone in those moments, Lewis would long for the holidays, much like one longed for heaven. He began to live by hope. At his second boarding school, he was comforted by the school Matron, Miss Cowie, a type of surrogate mother. She held and comforted the shy Lewis, as well as the other boys. She dabbled in the occult and shared it with the boys. At age 13, this served to snuff out any vestiges of faith that Lewis held onto. He also began reading classic literature where the authors assumed the illegitimacy of religion. She was eventually fired. Lewis was lonely and unhappy. He hated the snobbery of the boarding school community. C.S. Lewis’ Life Lewis’ father relented, allowing him to be tutored by William T. Kirkpatrick, “The Great Knock,” an atheist who taught Lewis logic and critical thinking. Lewis considered Christianity one religious myth among many. It was the happiest time of Lewis’ life. He spent hours reading books of his own choosing. He read George MacDonald’s “Phantastes,” which replanted the seeds of the spiritual worldview. Lewis took the admission exam for Oxford University on December 4, 1916. He failed the math section, but was granted admittance through the Army Officer Training Corps. Oxford University C.S. Lewis’ Life Lewis became friends with Edward “Paddy” Moore in his Officers Training course. They agreed to care for each other’s parents if either of them were killed. Lewis arrived in the trenches of WWI on Nov. 29, 1917, on his 19th birthday. When Paddy was killed, Lewis took care of his mother until her death, calling her a surrogate mother. Lewis was wounded and returned to Oxford in 1919, spending the next 35 years there. After graduating in 1923, he taught philosophy for 1 year before accepting a fellowship in English literature at Magdalen College at Oxford in 1925. Magdalen College, Oxford University. Lewis’ Office at Oxford ‘The Bird and the Baby’ ‘The Inklings’ Corner C.S. Lewis’ Life Lewis corresponded with many people by letter. He began corresponding with Helen Joy Davidman Gresham, a poet from the United States. She was divorced and surprisingly came to England to meet Lewis in 1952. He was taken by her wit and intellect. They reportedly played scrabble together in 5 different languages. In 1956, at age 57, he married her, age 41. She was already diagnosed with bone cancer. It looked like she would die, but they prayed, and her cancer went into remission. They had several years of happy marriage together including a trip to Greece. She died in 1960. Her son, Douglas, was 14 at the time. Marriage License The Kilns Lewis’ Kitchen Lewis’ Dining Room Lewis’ Sitting Room Lewis’ Bathroom C.S. Lewis’ Life C.S. Lewis has been called by “Time” magazine, the most influential voice for the spiritual worldview, and graced its cover in 1947. He wrote >30 books including: “Surprised by Joy,” “Miracles,” “The Problem of Pain,” “A Grief Observed,” “The Screwtape Letters,” “Mere Christianity,” “The Great Divorce,” “The Abolition of Man,” “The Weight of Glory.” As a student at Oxford, he won a triple first, the highest honors in 3 areas of study. He was awarded the position of Chair in Medieval and Renaissance English Literature at Cambridge University. He was an immensely popular lecturer, filling lecture halls to standing room capacity. C.S. Lewis’ Life “Oxford History of English Literature” (OHEL) “The Chronicles of Narnia” – books and movies. “Shadowlands” – movie and broadway play. The second most recognizable voice on the BBC during WWII, behind Winston Churchill. Shadowlands Shadowlands Opened 10/8/07, Wyndham’s Theatre, London. Closed 2/23/08, Novello Theatre, London. William Nicholson’s play ‘Shadowlands’ is set in Oxford during the 1950s and is the moving true love story between C.S. Lewis and Helen Joy Davidman Gresham. Lewis had remained a confirmed bachelor until his fifties when he met and was enchanted by Joy Davidman, an American divorcee with 2 young children. They fell in love and were secretly married. Lewis’ ensuing encounter with love and suffering led him to reconsider many of the beliefs he had held so staunchly before their fateful meeting. “Why love if losing hurts so much? The pain now is part of the happiness then. That’s the deal.” --C.S. Lewis Shadowlands - London “The Chronicles of Narnia” C.S. Lewis’ Life Lewis, too, embraced a materialist worldview for much of his life. Some of this may have been a rebellious response against his father, in part, for sending him away to boarding school at a time of intense emotional need following his mother’s death. “I maintained that God did not exist. I was also very angry with God for not existing.” Later, while at Oxford, he was converted first to theism in 1929, and then to Christianity in 1931. His conversion is detailed in his book ‘Surprised by Joy.’ Lewis became convinced of the existence of a universal Moral Law, and also of an Author for that law. He believed this law had to have come from somewhere or some-One. He also believed man’s ability to reason pointed to a rational Creator. As a literary critic, he re-examined the religious myths of antiquity and became convinced that the Christian myth had actual historic validity in the coming of Jesus Christ. C.S. Lewis’ Life Lewis thought that our wishes for a protective father did not rule out the possibility of a protective God but instead pointed to the existence of one. “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires also exists. A baby feels hunger..there is…food. Men feel sexual desire..there is…sex.” Lewis thought that our dissatisfaction in this life pointed to the fact that we were made for another world, otherwise, he thought, “the universe is a fraud.” He was loved by his colleagues for his intelligence, warmth and politeness. He too had fought battles and suffered devastating losses in his life, yet somehow did not become bitter and contentious. Suffering and Pain: Freud Loss of his nanny. Anti-semitism (Freud attributed this to: fear of castration, jealousy of God’s chosen people, displaced anger against Christians). During Nazi occupation, Freud gave cyanide pills to his daughter Anna in case she was tortured when questioned at Gestapo headquarters. Loss of his daughter, Sophie, and her son, Heinle. Criticisms of work: psychoanalysis not generalizable beyond unique Viennese culture. ‘Jewish science’ vs ‘Aryan science.’ Suffering and Pain: Freud Freud suffered from bouts of depression and anxiety, nicotine dependence, cocaine use, and the fear of death. Diagnosed with oral cancer in 1923 at age 67. His doctor withheld the diagnosis for fear Freud would kill himself. He had 33 operations, usually under local anesthesia, for his cancer. He had a metal plate placed in the roof of his mouth and chose to eat alone. Suffering and Pain: Freud Freud wondered how there could be a loving God with all of the suffering in this life? To friend and Christian, Oskar Pfister, Freud wrote: “how the devil do you reconcile all that we experience… in this world with your assumption that there is a moral order?” Freud believed: “…the violent, cunning or ruthless man seizes the envied good things of the world and the pious man goes away empty. Obscure, unfeeling, and unloving powers determine men’s fate.” Suffering and Pain: Freud At the death of his beloved daughter, Sophie, from the influenza epidemic of 1920 Freud wrote to a colleague: “I do not know what more there is to say. It is such a paralyzing event, which can stir no afterthoughts when one is not a believer…” Freud wrote to another friend that neither he nor his wife “has got over the monstrous fact of children dying before their parents.” Freud wondered “when my turn will come” and wished his life to be over. Suffering and Pain: Freud At the loss of his 4 ½ year old grandson, Heinle, to tuberculosis he writes: “He was indeed an enchanting little fellow, and I myself was aware of never having loved a human being, certainly never a child, so much. …I don’t think I have ever experienced such grief; …I work out of sheer necessity; fundamentally everything has lost its meaning for me… I find no joy in life. …I have spent some of the blackest days of my life sorrowing about the child. At last… I can think of him quietly and talk of him without tears.” Suffering and Pain: Freud Freud could not reconcile the suffering he observed in his own life and the lives of those he loved with an all-powerful, all-loving Creator. Freud: “It seems not to be the case that there is a Power in the universe which watches over the well-being of individuals with parental care and brings all their affairs to a happy ending… Earthquakes, tidal waves, conflagrations, make no distinction between the virtuous and pious and the scoundrel or unbeliever.” Suffering and Pain: Freud In “The Future of an Illusion,” 1927, Freud says of believers: “They will have to admit to themselves the full extent of their helplessness… they can no longer be the centre of the creation, no longer the object of the tender care on the part of the beneficent Providence… And, as for the great necessities of Fate, against which there is no help, they will learn to endure them with resignation.” And, in a letter to a friend who had lost a daughter: “As an unbelieving fatalist, I can only sink into a state of resignation when faced with the horror of death.” Suffering and Pain: Freud Freud: “There are the elements which seem to mock at all human control: the earth which quakes… …diseases… and the painful riddle of death, against which no medicine has yet been found…” Later, he writes: “…life is hard to bear… a permanent state of anxious expectation.” He writes: “I… have no dread at all of the Almighty. If we ever were to meet I should have more reproaches to make to Him than He could to me.” Suffering and Pain: Freud Despite professing disbelief, Freud was preoccupied with the idea of the devil. He thought that the devil represented our defiant spirit towards our parents just as our desire for a protective parent led to our conceptualization of God. Even if the devil were real, Freud thought, it was still God’s fault for allowing the devil to exist at all. Freud read Goethe’s “Faust” and Balzac’s “The Fatal Skin.” Both feature a man of science, depressed over his lack of recognition, who makes a deal with the devil and considers suicide. Freud read “The Fatal Skin” on the day he chose to die by euthanasia. Suffering and Pain: Freud Freud concludes: “If the believer finally sees himself obliged to speak of God’s ‘inscrutable decrees,’ he is admitting that all that is left to him as a last possible consolation and source of pleasure in his sufferings is an unconditional submission. And if he is prepared for that, he could probably have spared himself the detour he has made.” And yet Freud says: “…only religion can answer the question of the purpose of life.” Suffering and Pain: Lewis Loss of his mother. It was “alien and menacing.” “My grief was overwhelmed with terror.” Boarding school. WWI: loss of friend, shrapnel injury, caring for Paddy Moore’s mother. She lived with Lewis and his brother Warren for 6-7 years before succumbing to Alzheimer’s disease. He suffered from loneliness, depression, and possibly PTSD. In 1929, Lewis’ father passed away. He showed little remorse. Rejected for Oxford chair, he finally accepted Cambridge chair. Suffering and Pain: Lewis Lewis wrote “The Problem of Pain” in 1940. It was a cerebral treatise for why pain is necessary. Lewis writes that prior to his conversion, he wouldn’t have believed in a good God: human history “is largely a record of crime, war, disease and terror… all civilizations pass away and, even while they remain, inflict peculiar sufferings on their own… if you ask me to believe that this is the work of a benevolent and omnipotent spirit, I reply that all the evidence points in the opposite direction. Either there is no spirit behind the universe, or else a spirit indifferent to good and evil, or else an evil spirit.” Suffering and Pain: Lewis Lewis changed his view after his conversion. In “The Problem of Pain” he argues that “love” and “kindness” are different things and that true love is tough love (ie. going to the dentist): “love, in its own nature, demands the perfecting of the beloved; …mere ‘kindness’ which tolerates anything except suffering in its object is…at the opposite pole from Love.” Lewis also believed no true happiness could be found apart from our Creator. Suffering and Pain: Lewis Lewis says: “…pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures… but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world. …Pain as God’s megaphone is a terrible instrument; it may lead to final and unrepented rebellion.” He attributed much suffering and pain to men’s choices saying: “It is men, not God, who have produced racks, whips, prisons, slavery, guns, bayonets, and bombs;” and, “All suffering arises from sin.” Lewis views ‘hell’ as God giving man the freedom from Him that he desires: “They enjoy forever the horrible freedom they have demanded. …the doors …are locked on the inside.” Suffering and Pain: Lewis At age 62, Lewis lost his wife, Joy, after only 4 years of marriage. In “A Grief Observed,” 1961, he writes from a perspective of his feelings: “Aren’t all these notes the senseless writhings of a man who won’t accept the fact that there is nothing we can do with suffering except to suffer it?” He beseeches Joy: “My dear, my dear, come back for one moment… The same leg is cut off time after time. The first plunge of the knife into the flesh is felt again and again.” Suffering and Pain: Lewis Lewis asks where God is during suffering? “But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside.” And: “Why is He so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of trouble?” He says: “But don’t come talking to me about the consolation of religion, or I shall suspect that you don’t understand.” He wonders if God is: “The Cosmic Sadist, the spiteful imbecile?” Suffering and Pain: Lewis Lewis’ doubt: “The conclusion I dread is not, ‘So there’s no God after all,’ but, ‘So this is what God’s really like. Deceive yourself no longer.’” Lewis likened it to surgery concluding: “The tortures occur. If they are unnecessary, then there is no God or a bad one. If there is a good God, then the tortures are necessary.” Lewis believed in Satan and demons as fallen angels. Lewis believed that the “government of the universe” was temporarily in enemy hands. “…we are living in a part of the universe occupied by the rebel… Enemy occupied territory—that is what this world is.” Suffering and Pain: Lewis Lewis believed that God created his creatures with “free will” to choose or not choose God. He thought the only love worth having had to be chosen freely, not coerced. He writes: “God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go either right or wrong. …free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata… would hardly be worth creating.” On God’s omniscience: “Of course God knew what would happen if they used their freedom the wrong way: apparently He thought it worth the risk.” Suffering and Pain: Lewis According to his letters, Lewis never lost his faith entirely. For Lewis, the very fact that he was angry at God for the “unjust,” was evidence that there was a right and wrong—the universal moral law written on all human hearts. He writes: “A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line… Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist… I found I was forced to assume that… my idea of justice—was full of sense.” Suffering and Pain: Lewis In June 1961, Lewis suffered from osteoporosis, an enlarged prostate, hydronephrosis, toxemia, and cardiac problems. July 15, 1963, he suffered a heart attack and lapsed into a coma, from which he eventually recovered. On November 22, 1963, Lewis’ brother, Warren, took him his tea at 4PM, heard a crash at 5:30PM, and found Lewis on his back in his room. He died 5 minutes later. The Room Where Lewis Died Trinity Church Lewis’ Gravestone Suffering and Pain: Lewis Lewis maintained his sense of humor through his illness. He saw death as a natural part of life. “100% of us die and the percentage cannot be increased.” His friends and family said: “Never was a man better prepared,” and, “About a week before his death he said to me, ‘I have done all that I was sent into the world to do, and I am ready to go.’ I have never seen death looked in the face so tranquilly,” and, “He was a deeply kind and charitable man.” Suffering and Pain Both Freud and Lewis suffered great losses in their lives and reached very different conclusions about the existence of God and the meaning of suffering in our lives. Have you encountered any real pain personally, or through the illness of someone close to you? Suffering and Pain: Lewis Do we say with Freud? “As an unbelieving fatalist, I can only sink into a state of resignation when faced with the horror of death.” Or do we resonate with Lewis? He never got answers to all his questions, but received: “…a rather special sort of ‘No answer.’ It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head, not in refusal, but waiving the question. Like, ‘Peace, child; you don’t understand.’” Do we accept a difficult situation or try to change it? Do we shake our fist in defiance or do we humbly accept our lot in life? How do we counsel those who are grieving losses? What role does faith play? Suffering and Pain Freud, after the loss of his grandson, Heinle, says: “At last… I can think of him quietly and talk of him without tears.” With time, Lewis also reports healing after the loss of his wife, Joy: “Turned to God, my mind no longer meets that locked door… Like the warming of a room or the coming of daylight. When you first notice them they have already been going on for some time.” Does time heal all wounds? Is healing a Divine project, a human project, both? Concluding Thoughts Both Lewis and Freud suffered pain and loss. Both struggled with the question of God and man’s place in the universe. Each of us must also answer these questions for ourselves. How do you reconcile the question of pain and suffering? What arguments (cognition) and experiences (feelings) have informed your view? Are there other authors you have read that have swayed your view?