“On Losing and Saving the Self”

Given the thoughtful response to Bruce Herman’s Oxbridge 2008 lecture topic, we are pleased to post Wilfred McClay’s abstract of his Oxbridge 2008 lecture, “On Losing and Saving the Self.” Please write in with your thoughts.

“On Losing and Saving the Self”

By overthrowing all older sources of moral authority, modern culture has enthroned the individual as the sole valid source of meaning, and promoted the pursuit of happiness as the chief end of life. But if we accept this state of affairs, we make a dreadful mistake, one that places upon the self a greater burden than it can bear, and cuts us off from the very happiness we so avidly pursue.

But the Christian faith does not make this mistake. It envisions life as a steady parade of astounding reversals, in which the appearances are regularly turned on their heads: the first becomes last, the rejected stone becomes the cornerstone, and our weakness becomes our strength. So too, will the wounded and needy modern self find restoration and wholeness, not through its own introspective efforts, but by acknowledging that its chief source of meaning is something outside itself. The search for the self should lead us to what is beyond the self.

My title comes from words near the end of C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, in which this : “The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it.”


Oxbridge 2008 Travel Recommendations

Now that Oxbridge 2008 is just around the corner, we at the Foundation are excited to expand this blog to include a forum for travel recommendations. We hope that in addition to attending this unique and memorable conference, you will be able to make the most of your time in England, a country rich in culture, history, and natural beauty.

To that end, we ask those of you who have been to England to share your favorite restaurants, pubs, museums, places of interest, and other “must see” locations and “must do” experiences.

We look forward to hearing your recommendations and stories. See you at Oxbridge!

Published in: on February 8, 2008 at 4:29 pm  Comments (4)  
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Oxbridge 2008 Discussion 1 – Bruce Herman Thesis

Christian artist and educator Bruce Herman, brings his faith, visual sensibility, and careful thinking about the influence of art and pop-culture on our sense of self to his Oxbridge 2008 lecture topic Outgrowing the iSelf: Beauty, Personhood, and Pop-Culture An Artists Perspective

The famous Apple ads showing a silhouetted figure dancing alone with her iPod against a brightly colored backdrop are fitting symbols of the imagined autonomy of the postmodern constructed self. This self-concept is actually more the sum of consumer choices than the wholesome identity one develops through a deep sense of belonging and accountability in community. And individualistic pursuit of self often results in isolation and anomie rather than meaning, belonging, and a sense of vocation.

What is your reaction to this thesis? Do you agree/disagree? Why?

Published in: on December 12, 2007 at 12:38 pm  Comments (12)