Three memorable writers died exactly 50 years ago.
Don’t expect the “news” to put them together…
So we will.
Here they are alphabetically:
Aldous Huxley (1894 – Nov. 22, 1963)
John F. Kennedy (1917 – Nov. 22, 1963)
C. S. Lewis (1898 – Nov. 22, 1963)
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Huxley wrote Brave New World in 1931. The Modern Library Association has selected this book as the 5th (of 100) “Best Novels.”¹ The following are (reputed to be) Huxley quotes:
“If we could sniff or swallow something that would, for five or six hours each day, abolish our solitude as individuals, atone us with our fellows in a glowing exaltation of affection and make life in all its aspects seem not only worth living, but divinely beautiful and significant, and if this heavenly, world-transfiguring drug were of such a kind that we could wake up next morning with a clear head and an undamaged constitution-then, it seems to me, all our problems (and not merely the one small problem of discovering a novel pleasure) would be wholly solved and earth would become paradise.”²
“I am I, and sometimes I wish I weren’t.”
“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.”
Kennedy wrote Profiles in Courage which won the Pulitzer Prize in biography in 1957 when he was junior senator of Massachusetts. Quotes from Kennedy:
“Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.” (Said at his Inaugural Address as President of the United States in January 1961)
“Ich bin ein Berliner.” (at the Berlin wall)
Lewis wrote Mere Christianity based upon a number of popular BBC radio broadcasts he made in England during WWII. Also The Screwtape Letters and the seven Narnia Chronicles. Many have said that Mere Christianity was the most significant book on Christian apologetics written in the 20th century. Of his many quotations, only “one” will be cited below (but be sure and check note ³.)
“You do not have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”³
These 3 able men, each with a different personal philosophy, died on the same day within hours of each other.
Exactly 50 years ago today.
¹ I couldn’t easily locate the date of this, or those making this decision, or the direct source of the quotes I listed–which are reported in several places. (I have to mention this because of our attempt to document significant facts…and especially because of Note³ below).
² We could easily give Huxley the “Longest Sentence Recently Encountered Award.”
³ Although several significant Christian ministers and apologists (e.g. Ravi Zacharias and John Piper) say Lewis made this statement, no record has ever been found that Lewis said this at least in print! Surprisingly, perhaps, this single statement has raised considerable discussion on the Internet. More on that in a future post.