At the Discarded Image, we change our minds. Frequently, and intentionally.
We explore the humanities and sciences—as independent lines of thought and as interdisciplinary conversation partners—actively seeking how they work together to advance our understanding of the world.
We embrace questions.
We celebrate the discovery of previously unknown facts and the subsequent revision of mental models.
We refuse to rationalize inaccurate models merely because they are convenient or once offered comfort.
You will more likely resonate with this blog if:
- you willingly embrace change, seeking conversations that spark new perspectives
- you read religion, science, philosophy, history or fiction to broaden your understanding and appreciation of a global modern world
- you have been misunderstood, feared, or sidelined in your community because of your changing perspective
- you seek common ground with those who are different from you
If, however, you are confident that your way of seeing the world is the right way and will always be the right way, The Discarded Image is probably not for you. You’re welcome to read, but keep in mind that the intended audience is someone else.
We invite comments and will respond as soon as possible. We reserve the right to delete comments we find inappropriate, including trolling, conspiracy theories, and general threats of eternal damnation.
Behind the Name
The Discarded Image is the title of the highly-regarded but lesser-known and final book by medieval scholar C.S Lewis (read a review here). Lewis delves into the nature of medieval cosmology and its Ptolemaic foundation, explaining how it brought form and structure to the world of the medievals. “This is the medieval synthesis itself,” Lewis writes, “the whole organization of their theology, science, and history into a single, complex, harmonious mental Model of the Universe.”
Lewis insists that, when this model of the universe came to an end with Copernicus and Galileo, it was not simply as a result of human beings becoming smarter. It was primarily because the existing model no longer gave meaning to the world as it once had.
“We can no longer dismiss the change of Models as a simple progress from error to truth,” he writes. “No Model is a catalogue of ultimate realities, and none is a mere fantasy. Each is a serious attempt to get in all the phenomena known at a given period.”
How does such a fundamental model change? Lewis says they change as a result of “an unprovoked assault of new facts”; in other words, because we, not the facts, change. Scientific theories emerge. Ancient languages are deciphered. As we grapple with the altered perspective these new facts provide, we become unsatisfied with the current model and discard the images that no longer make sense.
In the spirit of Lewis’ book, this blog is our “serious attempt to get in all the phenomena known at a given period.” It’s an exploration of the discarded images and replacement models that are helping us to make sense of a twenty-first century world.
About Review Copies
Review copies of books in genres we generally discuss here are welcome but are not guaranteed a review. Books will be considered on the basis of how they will contribute to our individual reading lists, as most books discussed here are a result of our current interests. Publishers and authors may contact us using our contact page.
Self-published books, like all review pitches, will be considered on a case-by-case basis. In your pitch, please include an explanation as to why you chose not to pursue traditional publishing.
If we accept a book for review, the source will be noted clearly in the review.
And a Disclaimer
As this blog is a practice in thinking aloud, the opinions voiced here (subject to change!) are those of our contributors and should not be confused with the institutions with which we are affiliated.
Brandon G. Withrow
Mindy Rice Withrow