Thoughts and Impressions

Worth Reading: The Inner Ring

by CS Lewis

In this address, Lewis warns that much of human intercourse is dominated by the urge to break into exclusive social cliques: “the inner ring”.  Lewis argues that this urge corrupts us and is incapable of granting any deep satisfaction.

The speech may be read – I believe in its entirety – here.


  1. That was quite a bizarre speech… it was almost insulting at times. He doesn’t really offer a “how” when he recommends that these graduates avoid the Inner Ring. He even seems to undercut himself here:

    And if in your spare time you consort simply with the people you like, you will again find that you have come unawares to a real inside: that you are indeed snug and safe at the centre of something which, seen from without, would look exactly like an Inner Ring. But the difference is that the secrecy is accidental, and its exclusiveness a by-product, and no one was led thither by the lure of the esoteric: for it is only four or five people who like one another meeting to do things that they like. This is friendship. Aristotle placed it among the virtues. It causes perhaps half of all the happiness in the world, and no Inner Ring can ever have it.

    I understand the sentiment, but I don’t necessarily think that he has expressed himself in the best manner possible. I don’t know, that’s just me. But an interesting speech, especially in light of when he delivered it!

  2. I’m tickled that you disagreed with the speech – I did also. I’m planning to post in depth on the subject in the future.

  3. Hmm, on second thought – you haven’t necessarily disagreed with it. Suffice it to say that I have major differences with Mr. Lewis.

  4. No, I think I see what CS Lewis sees, but like I said, I don’t think he has it quite right. Plus it’s so circumstantial.

  5. What do you mean by circumstantial?

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