Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Conquest is an evil productive of almost every other evil both to those who commit and to those who suffer it.
I have been pondering this quote from C.S. Lewis most of the day.  It is easy to see how "conquest" negatively effects the conquered.  One only has to consider the effects of slavery and, in today's world, racism to see the effects of being "conquered."  The more interesting question is how does "conquest" negatively impact the "conqueror."  I think the answer is twofold.

First, the conqueror naturally has the illusion of control.  The sooner we rid ourselves of this illusion, the healthier we are.  We try to control so much of our lives; but how much of our lives can we actually control.  We can control our reactions to things -- sometimes.  But we almost never can control what happens to us. The sooner we relinquish this idea of control and begin to trust that Someone else is controlling our lives, the better off we are.  The "conqueror" has the illusion that she is in control of her life.  And she may...for a short time. Ultimately, however, she does not and when something happens that is out of her control, she will be devastated by the event.

The second way that a "conqueror" is negatively effected is because of his own insatiable, evil nature.  Once the conqueror completes his task, what does he do?  He begins to fulfill his base desires, whether it be desire for money, sex, or whatever.  The conqueror will be fulfilled...for a time.  Then once the conqueror understands that he is not being fulfilled, he begins to attempt to satisfy himself by conquering more.  It is the classic truth that, "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."  The examples in history are plentiful.  Solomon had no enemies; he had "conquered" the entire world.  Yet, though he was the wisest man to ever live, he gave in to sexual desires that ultimately led him astray.  Why did Alexander the Great need to conquer the whole known world?  Why did he not just stop when he controlled Greece?  The same for Napoleon or Genghis Khan.

What is the relevance to our lives?  Figuratively, our society tells us,  "that history is written by the conqueror",  or, "to the victor goes the spoils."  Our society lauds Alexander the Great, Napoleon, and Genghis Khan.  It is quite different from the words of Jesus,
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.  Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." Matthew 5:3-9
What are you trying to control?  Have you given up on the illusion of control? 

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