To See With a Myriad of Eyes, C. S. Lewis
We tend to think of the vale of soul-making as a solitary experience, an insulated journey of individuality. We are all engaged in the activity of world making—an act of memory, of love, and of imagination. We owe to books, says C. S. Lewis, an enormous extension of our being. Reading is the gift of a thousand eyes, a myriad of perspectives, an escape from a tiny world—not escape as a temporary distraction, but as a release from a kind of prison. My own eyes are not enough for me. O to see even through the eyes of the bee, or know through the nose of a dog! Individuality, Lewis maintains, is a privilege but also a wound. When I isolate myself, my world shrinks, and I am less myself. When I read, the wound of individuality is healed, for in being united with others—through imagination—I transcend myself and so become more myself. Real reading is not a pastime, it is a moral adventure, a wandering walk through the vale of soul-making.
Todd Breyfogle, Denver, Colorado