Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Danger of False Hope

Screwtape writes to his nephew, Wormwood, about exploiting the fatigue and horrors of war:

To produce the best results from the patient's fatigue, therefore, you must feed him with false hopes. Put into his mind plausible reasons for believing that the air raid will not be repeated. Keep him comforting himself with the though of how much he will enjoy his bed next night. Exaggerate the weariness by making him think it will soon be over; for men usually feel that a strain could have been endured no longer at the very moment when it is ending, or when they think it is ending. In this, as in the problem of cowardice, the thing to avoid is the total commitment. Whatever he says, let his inner resolution be not to bear whatever comes to him, but to bear it 'for a reasonable period'--and let the reasonable period be shorter than the trial is likely to last. It need not be much shorter; in attacks on patience, chastity, and fortitude, the fun is to make the man yield just when (had he but known it) relief was almost in sight.
~C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, (1942)

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On this day:

1898: Clive Staples ("Jack") Lewis is born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, to parents Albert J. Lewis and Florence Augusta Hamilton Lewis.

1917 C.S. Lewis arrives at the front-line trenches in France.

1 Comment(s):

At Fri Dec 09, 09:56:00 PM EST, Blogger egmthree said...

The dark one 's greatest perverse thrill is to give us nothing in exchange for all that we will ever have.

 

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