From Surprised by Joy by C. S. Lewis (p. 170).
Joy is not a substitute for sex; sex is very often a substitute for Joy. I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are substitutes for Joy.
Anybody out there wanna esplainify or illustrate that one for me?
Here's a summary statement on Lewis's understanding of and search for joy if that will help:
Along with his intellectual struggle to faith, he was also being drawn into an emotional relationship with the Person who is the Truth. Lewis understanding of Joy, of the imagination in its highest, purest state is described in his spiritual autobiography
. In it he recounts how he (and all humans) are alienated from this personal relationship yet we retain a longing with lifelong nostalgia to be united with the Holy Other. In the preface to
Surprised by Joy
Lewis writes, "The soul was made to enjoy some object that is never fully given - nay, cannot even be imagined as given - in our present mode of subjective and spatio-temporal experience." He saw Joy as pictures or blissful glimpses God sends to an estranged race to awaken sweet desire of pagans and thereby calling them to Himself. Lewis used the word Joy to connote the highest definition of imagination, that is the sense of awe at the presence of the Objective Realty, the Absolute Truth, which lies outside of ourselves. On a psychological level, it is the word Sehnsucht, to mean longing or desire for beauty, the transcendent or the sense of separation to that which is desired such as those imaginative experiences he describes in
The Pilgrim s Regress
- the green Castlereagh Hills outside his nursery window, the tiny toy garden on the lid of a biscuit tin, Beatrix Potter s Squirrel Nutkin and Longfellow's Saga of King Olaf. Later he distinguished these kinds of experiences of Joy from happiness and pleasure by observing their common quality as that of an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction...anyone who has experienced it will want it again.
Surprised by Joy