Thursday, October 14, 2004

Wormwood Blunders

(A letter from the devil Screwtape to his nephew, Wormwood)

My dear Wormwood,

It seems to me that you take a great many pages to tell a very simple story. The long and the short of it is that you have let the man slip through your fingers...

And now for your blunders. On your own showing you first of all allowed the patient to read a book he really enjoyed, because he enjoyed it and not in order to make clever remarks about it to his new friends. In the second place, you allowed him to walk down to the old mill and have tea there--a walk through country he really likes, and taken alone. In other words you allowed him two real positive Pleasures. Were you so ignorant as not to see the danger of this? The characteristic of Pains and Pleasures is that they are unmistakably real, and therefore, as far as they go, give the man who feels them a touchstone of reality....because, of course, five minutes' genuine toothache would reveal the romantic sorrows for the nonsense they are and unmask your whole strategem. But you were trying to damn your patient by the World, that is by palming off vanity, bustle, irony, and expensive tedium as pleasures. How can you have failed to see that a real pleasure was the last thing you ought to have let him meet? Didn't you foresee that it would just kill by contrast all the trumpery which you have been so laboriously teaching him to value? And that the sort of pleasure which the book and the walk gave him was the most dangerous of all? That it would peel off from his sensibility the kind of crust you have been forming on it, and make him feel that he was coming home, recovering himself?...

The man who truly and disinterestedly enjoys any one thing in the world, for its own sake, and without caring two-pence what other people say about it, is by that very fact forearmed against some of our subtlest modes of attack. You should always try to make the patient abandon the people or food or books he really likes in favour of the 'best' people, the 'right' food, the 'important' books.
~C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, Chapter 13

On this day:

1924 Lewis gives his first lecture at the University of Oxford, on "The Good: Its Position Among Values."

Cool link of the day: The Wetplate Collodion Photography of Robert J. Szabo

Click here to learn more about wetplate collodion photography.

7 Comment(s):

At Thu Oct 14, 02:03:00 PM EST, Blogger Joelle said...

That is SO true! I can think of many times unfortunately that I've bought something or did something just because that was you did, and not because I liked it.

At Thu Oct 14, 02:39:00 PM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

If you're referring to the incident with the "Dune" novel, I was barely involved! ;-)

At Thu Oct 14, 03:08:00 PM EST, Blogger Joelle said...


Nah...I'm glad I read it...there are some really neat concepts in it. I will never be able to read something dessert related again without thinking of the device that conserves the body's water.
*Pictures Israel wandering the desert with those on* *Shakes head* Yup...I'm a Bible college geek. ;)

At Thu Oct 14, 03:14:00 PM EST, Blogger Joelle said...

Oh...and folks ignore my first post...I am ditz and can't type.

At Thu Oct 14, 03:19:00 PM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

And one who apparently can't spell "desert". ;-)

Ya know I love ya kiddo!

At Thu Oct 14, 07:30:00 PM EST, Blogger Sandicomm said...

Ah, Dune. The first book is good, but they get progressively worse the older Leto II gets. Stupid kid. Ruined the whole series. Didn't even bother reading the fourth one.

I think we all know how it is to try and do something because it's "popular" and you want to chill with the "cool" people.

Of course it's not necessarily something that you do to be cool. I remember racing through the Wheel of Time series so I could understand what my friends were talking about. What a waste of time. The first two WoT books are good, but it seems that Robert Jordan is so self-important, and the books so convuluted, that they have become parodies of themselves. And Rand (the main character) has three mistresses? ANd htey don't care? Uh, yeah, gag me with a spoon. He can't be THAT hot. ;) I hope that in the end he doesn't die, like the prophecy says, and stays alive and SUFFERS (mwahahahaha), I really don't like that character.

But I digress. **Smiles innocently.**

At Mon Dec 10, 01:47:00 AM EST, Blogger Stephen said...

My son, pay attention to my wisdom;
listen closely to my understanding
2 so that you may maintain discretion and your lips safeguard knowledge.
3 Though the lips of the 'forbidden woman' (seductions or temptations') drip honey and her words are smoother than oil,
4 in the end she’s as bitter as wormwood and as sharp as a double-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps head straight for Sheol.
6 She doesn't consider the path of life; she doesn't know that her ways are unstable.


Post a Comment

<< Home