The Trouble With Stupidity

From CS Lewis in The Magician’s Nephew:

Ever since the animals had first appeared, Uncle Andrew had been shrinking further and further back into the thicket. He watched them very hard, of course, but he was not really interested in seeing what they were doing, only in seeing whether they were going to make a rush at him. Like the witch, he was dreadfully practical. He simply did not notice that Aslan was choosing one pair out of every kind of beast. All he saw, or thought he saw, was a lot of dangerous, wild animals walking vaguely about, and he kept on wondering why the other animals did not run away from the big lion. When the great moment came and the beast spoke, he missed the whole point for a rather interesting reason. When the lion had first begun singing long ago when it was still quite dark, he had realized that the noise was a song and he had disliked the song very much. It made him think and feel things he did not want to think and feel. Then, when the sun rose and he saw that the singer was only a lion—“only a lion,” he said to himself—he tried his hardest to make himself believe that it was not singing and never had been singing, only roaring might in a zoo in our own world. “Of course it cannot really have been singing,” he thought. “I must have imagined it. I have been letting my nerves get out of order. Whoever heard of a lion singing?” And the longer and more beautifully the lion sang, the harder Uncle Andrew tried to make himself believe that he could hear nothing but roaring. The trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that very often you succeed. Uncle Andrew did. He soon did hear nothing but roaring in Aslan’s song. Soon, he could not have heard anything else even if he had wanted to.


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