Thinking Out Loud

January 23, 2011

C. S. Lewis Defines “Progress”

…You may have felt you were ready to listen to me as long as you thought I had anything new to say; but if it turns out only to be religion, well, the world has tried that and you can’t turn back the clock.  If anyone is feeling that way…

First, as to putting the clock back.  Would you think I was joking if I said that you can put a clock back, and that if the clock is wrong it is often a very sensible thing to do?  But I would rather get away from that whole idea of clocks.

We all want progress.  But progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turn, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.

…I think if you look at the present state of the world, it is pretty plain that humanity has been making some big mistake. We are on the wrong road. And if that is so, we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on.

~C. S. Lewis, Basic Christianity



  1. This has long been one of my favorite Lewis quotes…thanks for posting it

    Comment by Cynthia — January 23, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

  2. >> the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man <<

    That thought of C S Lewis is one of my favourites, as is John Maxwell's book "Failing Forward"

    Most inventors would agree that success only came after many failures. They had to do the same thing: turn back and start again in a different direction.

    I searched for acceptance with God – but in the wrong direction. When I changed direction and came to the cross, He took over. I was not only accepted but became a child of God and joint-heir with Christ.

    Comment by meetingintheclouds — January 23, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

  3. Thanks Cynthia And “you” ‘meeting in the clouds’::——–“NoProphet I, no warrior BOLD!, no Learned mantle wearing, but as I go my harp I hold, the Grace of God declaring.” Author(not me)*** I appreciate your above comments, but I do not read C.S.Lewis. Possibly because I prefer not to float around in misty speculations. Sufficient for me to read the Scriptures and learn of “The Solid Rock on which I stand!” Like todays#### Topic: “Progress” I see no rooted value in it’s discussion or connotations OR my one word response to todays Topic is——–Superfluous—–(***S. Rachmaninoff) (####”Mere Christianity”)JL

    Comment by Joe Lambert — January 23, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

  4. Progress is who you are. Are you result Oriented, determined to reach out for Christ sake. Indeed a U-turn is desirable if on the wrong path. C.S Lewis quote on the topic progress is my favorite. thank you Lewis.

    Comment by Inyere Blessing — January 10, 2012 @ 9:59 am

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