Why you should read Descent Into Hell by Charles Williams

I don’t pretend to have a complete or accurate understanding of this book as I have only read it once. But when I completed this William’s masterpiece I knew I had become profoundly different.

For many, Williams is simply incomprehensible, thus frustrating. To others, he is a Classic Romantic. My experience of Williams is somewhere in between these two ideas. At times, I have no idea what he is saying- yet other times he gives me longings like no other author I have read before- longings to experience true joy and true facts and obtain true knowledge of myself.

Williams brilliantly and eloquently shows how the pursuit of ultimate joy is found in the love of “facts” and that self-knowledge is gained through the continual search for truth. In contrast, self-destruction and damnation come to those who put self above truth and pleasure above joy; to those who avoid the truth by perversely seeking their own self-ambition.

This book shows that life is about two ends: ascending to heaven through facing fears and pursuing self-knowledge by relentlessly seeking the truth; or descending to hell by cocooning yourself in a coffin of selfishness.

Thus, every step every day is a journey toward one of the two ends. Will I wake up tomorrow and face the truth? Or will I evade the truth and place self as the end? These are the questions of everyday; of every choice.

Williams has shown me the danger behind choosing wrongly.


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