The day JFK, Aldous Huxley, & C. S. Lewis died

The day JFK, Aldous Huxley, & C. S. Lewis died November 22, 2016

Kreeft Between Heaven & HellOn November 22, 1963, three icons of the 20th century died:  John F. Kennedy, Aldous Huxley, and C. S. Lewis.

People of my generation remember where they were when the news came of Kennedy’s assassination.  (I was in 7th grade study hall.)  Other traumatic public catastrophes would follow.  Now we also remember where we were when we learned about the 9/11 attacks. (I was in the basement of Rincker classroom at Concordia Wisconsin, going to my English Lit. class where we were going to study Grendel’s attack on the Hall Heorot in Beowulf.)  But JFK, for all of his faults that we learned about later, inspired an idealism that I can still remember to this day, an idealism that was shattered at his assassination and that received further shocks as the century wore on.  Stephen King captures the feel of those times perfectly in his novel about time travel to stop Kennedy’s assassination, 11/22/63.

Huxley is associated now with New Age mysticism, what with his advocacy of Eastern religions and the use of LSD (which he wanted to take at the moment of his death).  But he deserves to be honored for his dystopia Brave New World, which predicted the future more profoundly than George Orwell’s 1984.  

In Huxley’s future universe, the population would be controlled by their love of pleasure, enjoying the “feelies” (anticipating virtual reality entertainment), as the state uses genetic engineering to manufacture children (separating sex from procreation, rendering the family obsolete and thus outlawed, and letting the government raise the children in impersonal brainwashing institutions).

C. S. Lewis, who when he died was only 65, was the great apologist for Christianity, explaining the ancient faith in fresh and compelling ways, addressing both the reason and the imagination.

You should read Peter Kreeft’s Between Heaven and Hell for an imagined conversation between these three souls on the day that they left the earth.

Also, here is an interesting essay on the three from what might seem to be an unlikely source:  John Garth, Three Great Men Died That Day: JFK, C.S. Lewis, and Aldous Huxley – The Daily Beast:

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