A Critique of C. S. Lewiss Argument on the Pursuit of Happiness and Generalization of Relationships
Our Right to Happiness?
According to the august declaration, we have the right to “the pursuit of happiness.” In C.S. Lewis’ essay he poses a situation where the pursuit of happiness isn’t necessarily right. This conflict is Lewis’ main argument for proving that women are constant victims of men. I think Lewis is wrong for assuming that every relationship is the same because nothing can be generalized when it comes to humans.
C.S. Lewis presents two couples: Mr. & Mrs. A, Mr. & Mrs. B. Mr. A falls in love with Mrs. B and vice versa. Both Mr. A and Mrs. B get divorces so they can be together. Mr. A and Mrs. B are pursuing happiness, but is it right? What happens to Mr. B and Mrs. A? I think it’s unfair to deprive others of happiness just to satisfy your wants and needs. Lewis’ example is good because it reinforces his point that we have no right to happiness. Although it is pessimistic, happiness is not a constant emotion, our feelings change all the time. For example Mr. A and Mrs. A must’ve been happy at some point because they got married. However, somewhere along the way that strong love for each other was lost. In theory, we have no right to happiness because there is no such thing.
C.S. Lewis uses love and relationships to explain why there is no right to happiness. In his argument he blames men for any and all problems in a relationship. Men are depicted as sexist pigs who have constant sexual cravings, while women are weak victims who cannot fend for themselves. In his essay C.S. Lewis says, referring to women, “Where promiscuity prevails, they will therefore always be more often the victims than the culprits.” Completely denouncing any fault to women, he is almost implying that women are incapable of doing anything that contradicts what defines a good housewife. C.S. Lewis acts as the liberator for women and says he will defend
them but in the process insults them. His views are warped, he judges people in bulks
rather than as individuals.
There is no real way to say whether Mr. A and Mrs. B’s relationship was true love or just temporary happiness. Having a very demented view of men, Lewis believes that if the relationship fails then it would be Mr. A’s fault. Since Mr. A left Mrs. A for Mrs. B, who’s to say he won’t do it again. It is logical to put most of the blame on Mr. A if the relationship failed, however it is wrong to say this is how all men are. The generalization that all relationships are doomed to this outcome because all men are deviant is wrong.
C.S. Lewis tends to judge everything based solely on one example. In this case every relationship is like the two couples. If this is true then Lewis is right, there is no right to happiness. Everyone would be pursuing happiness and falling short of the luxurious life they want to live. However, this is not realistic. Not every man is a sexist and not every woman is helpless. Although C.S. Lewis makes some good points, it is unrealistic to label everyone as evil sex fiends. I think Lewis has a very dark view of the world and tends to take everything to the extreme.