In the first of the three lectures contained in The Abolition of Man, C. S. Lewis uses the idea of “Men Without Chests” to symbolize human beings who lack what Lewis sees as “right sentiments,” or emotions that properly align with logical reasoning. Lewis argues that “The head rules the belly through the chest”—or, in other words, that human beings are properly governed by “emotions [the belly] organized by trained habit [the head, or reason] into stable sentiments [the chest].” In contrast to past eras, modern education, in Lewis’s view, tends to produce “Men Without Chests”—and then demands from its students moral values and virtues which, lacking well-formed sentiments, students are not equipped to recognize or embody.
Men Without Chests Quotes in The Abolition of Man
We were told it all long ago by Plato. As the king governs by his executive, so Reason in man must rule the mere appetites by means of the ‘spirited element’. The head rules the belly through the chest—the seat […] of emotions organized by trained habit into stable sentiments […] these are the indispensable liaison officers between cerebral man and visceral man. It may even be said that it is by this middle element that man is man: for by his intellect he is mere spirit and by his appetite mere animal.