Theology, in the form of a series of letters purportedly written by the old and cunning devil Downloads: 6, He is best known for his fictional work, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Epub, epub, If you cannot open ukraine-europe.info file on your mobile device, please ukraine-europe.info with an appropriate eReader. All our eBooks are FREE to download, but first you must sign in or create an account. Download Support epubBooks by making a small PayPal donation purchase. The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging and humorous account of. The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis; 93 editions; First published in ; Subjects: In DAISY for print-disabled Download ebook for print-disabled ( DAISY).
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Book Source: Digital Library of India Item ukraine-europe.info: C. S. ukraine-europe.infoioned. Book Source: Digital Library of India Item ukraine-europe.info: Lewis C ukraine-europe.infoioned. Original Preface To The Screwtape Letters. Identifier OriginalPrefaceToTheScrewtapeLetters. Identifier-ark ark://t05x4wh2m. Ocr ABBYY.
I have no intention of explaining how the correspondence which I now offer to the public fell into my hands. There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight. The sort of script which is used in this book can be very easily obtained by anyone who has once learned the knack; but ill-disposed or excitable people who might make a bad use of it shall not learn it from me.
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The Screwtape letters , Fortress Press. The Screwtape letters , The Macmillan company. He will be silent when he ought to speak and laugh when he ought to be silent.
He will assume, at first only by his manner, but presently by his words, all sorts of cynical and sceptical attitudes which are not really his. But if you play him well, they may become his. All mortals tend to turn into the thing they are pretending to be. This is elementary. The first thing is to delay as long as possible the moment at which he realises this new pleasure as a temptation.
But fortunately they have said very little about it for the last few decades. By it we rescue annually thousands of humans from temperance, chastity, and sobriety of life. If he is a big enough fool you can get him to realise the character of the friends only while they are absent; their presence can be made to sweep away all criticism.
If this succeeds, he can be induced to live, as I have known many humans live, for quite long periods, two parallel lives; he will not only appear to be, but actually be, a different man in each of the circles he frequents. Failing this, there is a subtler and more entertaining method. He can be made to take a positive pleasure in the perception that the two sides of his life are inconsistent. This is done by exploiting his vanity.
You see the idea—the worldly friends touch him on one side and the grocer on the other, and he is the complete, balanced, complex man who sees round them all.
Thus, while being permanently treacherous to at least two sets of people, he will feel, instead of shame, a continual undercurrent of self-satisfaction.
Meanwhile you will of course take the obvious precaution of seeing that this new development induces him to spend more than he can afford and to neglect his work and his mother. Her jealousy, and alarm, and his increasing evasiveness or rudeness, will be invaluable for the aggravation of the domestic tension,. Everything is clearly going very well. I am specially glad to hear that the two new friends have now made him acquainted with their whole set.
You speak of their being great laughers. I trust this does not mean that you are under the impression that laughter as such is always in our favour. The point is worth some attention. You will see the first among friends and lovers reunited on the eve of a holiday. Among adults some pretext in the way of Jokes is usually provided, but the facility with which the smallest witticisms produce laughter at such a time shows that they are not the real cause.
What that real cause is we do not know. Something like it is expressed in much of that detestable art which the humans call Music, and something like it occurs in Heaven—a  meaningless acceleration in the rhythm of celestial experience, quite opaque to us.
Laughter of this kind does us no good and should always be discouraged. Besides, the phenomenon is of itself disgusting and a direct insult to the realism, dignity, and austerity of Hell. Fun is closely related to Joy—a sort of emotional froth arising from the play instinct. It is very little use to us. It can sometimes be used, of course, to divert humans from something else which the Enemy would like them to be feeling or doing: The Joke Proper, which turns on sudden perception of incongruity, is a much more promising field.
I am not thinking primarily of indecent or bawdy humour, which, though much relied upon by second-rate tempters, is often disappointing in its results. The truth is that humans are pretty clearly divided on this matter into two classes. The first sort joke about sex because it gives rise to many incongruities: If your man is of the first type, bawdy humour will not help you—I shall never forget the hours which I wasted hours to me of unbearable tedium with one of my early patients in bars and smoking-rooms before I learned this rule.
Find out which group the patient belongs to—and see that he does not find out. Humour is for them the all-consoling and mark this the all-excusing, grace of life. Hence it is invaluable as a means of destroying shame.
Mere cowardice is shameful; cowardice boasted of with humorous exaggerations and grotesque gestures can be passed off as funny.
The Screwtape Letters
Cruelty is shameful—unless the cruel man can represent it as a practical joke. And this temptation can be almost entirely hidden from your patient by that English seriousness about Humour.
But flippancy is the best of all. In the first place it is very economical. Only a clever human can make a real Joke about virtue, or indeed about anything else; any of them can be trained to talk as if virtue were funny. Among flippant people the Joke is always assumed to have been made. No one actually makes it; but every serious subject is discussed in a manner which implies that they have already found a ridiculous side to it. If prolonged, the habit of Flippancy builds up around a man the finest armour-plating against the Enemy that I know, and it is quite free from the dangers inherent in the other sources of laughter.
It is a thousand miles away from joy: Obviously you are making excellent progress.
My only fear is lest in attempting to hurry the patient you awaken him to a sense of his real position. For you and I, who see that position as it really is, must never forget how totally different it ought to appear to him. We know that we have introduced a change of direction in his course which is already carrying him out of his orbit around the Enemy; but he must be made to imagine that all the choices which have effected this change of course are trivial and revocable.
He must not be allowed to suspect that he is now, however slowly, heading right away from the sun on a line which will carry him into the cold and dark of utmost space. For this reason I am almost glad to hear that he is still a churchgoer and a communicant.
I know there are dangers in this; but anything is better than that he should realise the break he has made with the first months of his Christian life. As long as he retains externally the habits of a Christian he can still be made to think of himself as one who has adopted a  few new friends and amusements but whose spiritual state is much the same as it was six weeks ago.
This dim uneasiness needs careful handling. If it gets too strong it may wake him up and spoil the whole game.
On the other hand, if you suppress it entirely—which, by the by, the Enemy will probably not allow you to do—we lose an element in the situation which can be turned to good account.
If such a feeling is allowed to live, but not allowed to become irresistible and flower into real repentance, it has one invaluable tendency.
All humans at nearly all times have some such reluctance; but when thinking of Him involves facing and intensifying a whole vague cloud of half-conscious guilt, this reluctance is increased tenfold. They hate every idea that suggests Him, just as men in financial embarrassment hate the very sight of a pass-book.
In this state your patient will not omit, but he will increasingly dislike, his religious duties. He will think about them as little as he feels he decently can beforehand, and forget them as  soon as possible when they are over. A few weeks ago you had to tempt him to unreality and inattention in his prayers: He will want his prayers to be unreal, for he will dread nothing so much as effective contact with the Enemy.
His aim will be to let sleeping worms lie. As this condition becomes more fully established, you will be gradually freed from the tiresome business of providing Pleasures as temptations. As the uneasiness and his reluctance to face it cut him off more and more from all real happiness, and as habit renders the pleasures of vanity and excitement and flippancy at once less pleasant and harder to forgo for that is what habit fortunately does to a pleasure you will find that anything or nothing is sufficient to attract his wandering attention.
You can make him waste his time not only in conversation he enjoys with people whom he likes, but in conversations with those he cares nothing about on subjects that bore him.
You can make him do nothing at all for long periods. And Nothing is very strong: You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness.
But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how  small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,.
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. The situation is very grave, and I really see no reason why I should try to shield you from the consequences of your inefficiency. It amounts to a second conversion—and probably on a deeper level than the first. As you ought to have known, the asphyxiating cloud which prevented your attacking the patient on his walk back from the old mill, is a well-known phenomenon.
Some humans are permanently surrounded by it and therefore inaccessible to us. 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. 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? 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? As a preliminary to detaching him from the Enemy, you wanted to detach him from himself, and had made some progress in doing so.
Now, all that is undone. Of course I know that the Enemy also wants to detach men from themselves, but in a different way. Remember always, that He really likes the little vermin, and sets an absurd value on the distinctness of every one of them.
When He talks of their losing their selves, He only means abandoning the clamour of self-will; once they have done that, He really gives them back all their personality, and boasts I am afraid, sincerely that when they are wholly His they will be more themselves than ever. Hence, while He is delighted to see them sacrificing even their innocent wills to His, He hates to see them drifting away from their own nature for any other reason. And we should always encourage them to do so.
The deepest likings and impulses of any man are the raw material, the starting-point, with which the Enemy has furnished him. I myself would carry this very far.
I would make it a rule to eradicate from my patient any strong personal taste which is not actually a sin, even if it is something quite trivial such as a fondness for county cricket or collecting stamps or drinking cocoa. Such things, I grant you, have nothing of virtue in them; but there is a sort of innocence and humility and self-forgetfulness about them which I distrust. The man who truly and disinterestedly enjoys any one thing in the world, for its own sake, and without caring twopence what other people say about it, is by that very fact fore-armed against some of our subtlest modes of attack.
I have known a human defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions. It remains to consider how we can retrieve this disaster. The great thing is to prevent his doing anything. As long as he does not convert it into action, it does not matter how much he thinks about this new repentance. Let the little brute wallow in it. Let him, if he has any  bent that way, write a book about it; that is often an excellent way of sterilising the seeds which the Enemy plants in a human soul.
Let him do anything but act. No amount of piety in his imagination and affections will harm us if we can keep it out of his will. As one of the humans has said, active habits are strengthened by repetition but passive ones are weakened. The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel,. The most alarming thing in your last account of the patient is that he is making none of those confident resolutions which marked his original conversion.
This is very bad.
About Alfred O. Johnson
I see only one thing to do at the moment. Your patient has become humble; have you drawn his attention to the fact? All virtues are less formidable to us once the man is aware that he has them, but this is specially true of humility.
If he awakes to the danger and tries to smother this new form of pride, make him proud of his attempt—and so on, through as many stages as you please. But there are other profitable ways of fixing his attention on the virtue of Humility. All the abjection and self-hatred are designed, in the long run, solely for this end; unless they attain this end they do us little harm; and they may even do us good if they keep the man concerned with himself, and, above all, if self-contempt can be made the starting-point for contempt of other selves, and thus for gloom, cynicism, and cruelty.
You must therefore conceal from the patient the true end of Humility. Let him think of it not as self-forgetfulness but as a certain kind of opinion namely, a low opinion of his own talents and character.
Some talents, I gather, he really has. Fix in his mind the idea that humility consists in trying to believe those talents to be less valuable than he believes them to be.
No doubt they are in fact less valuable than he believes, but that is not the point. The great thing is to make him value an opinion for some quality other than truth, thus introducing an element of dishonesty and make-believe into the heart of what otherwise  threatens to become a virtue.
By this method thousands of humans have been brought to think that humility means pretty women trying to believe they are ugly and clever men trying to believe they are fools. And since what they are trying to believe may, in some cases, be manifest nonsense, they cannot succeed in believing it and we have the chance of keeping their minds endlessly revolving on themselves in an effort to achieve the impossible.
The Enemy wants to bring the man to a state of mind in which he could design the best cathedral in the world, and know it to be the best, and rejoice in the fact, without being any more or less or otherwise glad at having done it than he would be if it had been done by another. He wants each man, in the long run, to be able to recognise all creatures even himself as glorious and excellent things. He wants to kill their animal self-love as soon as possible; but it is His long-term policy, I fear, to restore to them a new kind of self-love—a charity and gratitude for all selves, including  their own; when they have really learned to love their neighbours as themselves, they will be allowed to love themselves as their neighbours.
For we must never forget what is the most repellent and inexplicable trait in our Enemy; He really loves the hairless bipeds He has created and always gives back to them with His right hand what He has taken away with His left. He would rather the man thought himself a great architect or a great poet and then forgot about it, than that he should spend much time and pains trying to think himself a bad one.
Even of his sins the Enemy does not want him to think too much: Do we want to encourage this, or to keep him worried? Tortured fear and stupid confidence are both desirable states of mind. Our choice between them raises important questions. The humans live in time but our Enemy destines them to eternity. He therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point of time which they call the Present.
For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience analogous to the experience which our Enemy has of reality as a whole; in it alone freedom and actuality are offered them.
He would therefore have them continually concerned either with eternity which means being concerned with Him or with the Present—either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself,  or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure.
Our business is to get them away from the eternal, and from the Present. With this in view, we sometimes tempt a human say a widow or a scholar to live in the Past. But this is of limited value, for they have some real knowledge of the past and it has a determinate nature and, to that extent, resembles eternity. It is far better to make them live in the Future. Biological necessity makes all their passions point in that direction already, so that thought about the Future inflames hope and fear.
Also, it is unknown to them, so that in making them think about it we make them think of unrealities. In a word, the Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most completely temporal part of time—for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays.
Hence nearly all vices are rooted in the future. Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead. Do not think lust an  exception. When the present pleasure arrives, the sin which alone interests us is already over. The pleasure is just the part of the process which we regret and would exclude if we could do so without losing the sin; it is the part contributed by the Enemy, and therefore experienced in a Present. The sin, which is our contribution, looked forward.
To be sure, the Enemy wants men to think of the Future too—just so much as is necessary for now planning the acts of justice or charity which will probably be their duty tomorrow. This is not straw splitting. He does not want men to give the Future their hearts, to place their treasure in it.
We do. His ideal is a man who, having worked all day for the good of posterity if that is his vocation , washes his mind of the whole subject, commits the issue to Heaven, and returns at once to the patience or gratitude demanded by the moment that is passing over him. It may describe a process which is really just as much concerned with the Future as anxiety itself. Your man may be untroubled about the Future, not because he is concerned with the Present, but because he has persuaded himself that the Future is going to be agreeable.
As long as that is the real course of his tranquillity, his tranquillity will do us good, because it is only piling up more disappointment, and therefore more impatience, for him when his false hopes are dashed.
If, on the other hand, he is aware that horrors may be in store for him and is praying for the virtues, wherewith to meet them, and meanwhile concerning himself with the Present because there, and there alone, all duty, all grace, all knowledge, and all pleasure  dwell, his state is very undesirable and should be attacked at once. The phenomenon would then be merely natural. All the same, I should break it up if I were you.
No natural phenomenon is really in our favour. And anyway, why should the creature be happy? You mentioned casually in your last letter that the patient has continued to attend one church, and one only, since he was converted, and that he is not wholly pleased with it. May I ask what you are about? Why have I no report on the causes of his fidelity to the parish church? Do you realise that unless it is due to indifference it is a very bad thing? The reasons are obvious.
In the first place the parochial organisation should always be attacked, because, being a unity of place and not of likings, it brings people of different classes and psychology together in the kind of unity the Enemy desires.
The congregational principle, on the other hand, makes each church into a kind of club, and finally, if all goes well, into a coterie or faction. What He wants of the layman in church is an attitude which may, indeed, be critical in the sense of rejecting what is false or unhelpful, but which is wholly uncritical in the sense that it does not appraise—does not waste time in thinking about what it rejects, but lays itself open in uncommenting, humble receptivity to any nourishment that is going.
You see how grovelling, how unspiritual, how irredeemably vulgar He is! This attitude, especially during sermons, creates the condition most hostile to our whole policy in which platitudes can become really audible to a human soul.
There is hardly any sermon, or any book, which may not be dangerous to us if it is received in this temper. So pray bestir yourself and send this fool the round of the neighbouring churches as soon as possible. Your record up to date has not given us much satisfaction. The two churches nearest to him, I have looked up in the office. Both have certain claims. At the first of these the Vicar is a man who has been so long engaged in watering down the faith to make it easier for a supposedly incredulous and hard-headed congregation that it is now he who shocks his parishioners with his unbelief, not vice versa.
His conduct of the services is also admirable. We are thus safe from the danger that any truth not already familiar to him and to his flock should ever reach them through Scripture. But perhaps your patient is not quite silly enough for this church—or not yet? At the other church we have Fr. We, of course, see the connecting link, which is Hatred. The man cannot bring himself to preach anything which is not calculated to shock, grieve, puzzle, or humiliate his parents and their friends.
A sermon which such people could accept would be to him as insipid as a poem which they could scan. But I must warn you that he has one fatal defect: And this may yet mar all. But there is one good point which both these churches have in common—they are both party churches. And all the purely indifferent things—candles and clothes and what not—are an admirable ground for our activities.
You would think they could not fail to see the application. And so it would have been but for our ceaseless labour. Without that the variety of usage within the Church of England might have become a positive hotbed of charity and humility,. The contemptuous way in which you spoke of gluttony as a means of catching souls, in your last letter, only shows your ignorance.
One of the great achievements of the last hundred years has been to deaden the human conscience on that subject, so that by now you will hardly find a sermon preached or a conscience troubled about it in the whole length and breadth of Europe. This has largely been effected by concentrating all our efforts on gluttony of Delicacy, not gluttony of Excess.
She would be astonished—one day, I hope, will be—to learn that her whole life is enslaved to this kind of sensuality, which is quite concealed from her by the fact that the quantities involved are small.
But what do quantities matter, provided we can use a human belly and palate to produce querulousness, impatience, uncharitableness, and self-concern? Glubose has this old woman well in hand.
She is a positive terror to hostesses and servants. You see? Because what she wants is smaller and less costly than what has been set before her, she never recognises as gluttony her determination to get what she wants, however troublesome it may be to others. At the very moment of indulging her appetite she believes that she is practising temperance. If challenged, she would say she was doing this to avoid waste; in reality she does it because the particular shade of delicacy to which we have enslaved her is offended by the sight of more food than she happens to want.
The real value of the quiet, unobtrusive work which Glubose has been doing for years on this old woman can be gauged by the way in which her belly now dominates her whole life. All she wants is a cup of tea properly made, or an egg properly boiled, or a slice of bread properly toasted.
Meanwhile, the daily disappointment produces daily ill temper: In fact, of course, her greed has been one of the chief sources of his domestic discomfort for many years. While working your hardest, quite rightly, on other fronts, you must not neglect a little quiet infiltration in respect of gluttony. Males are best turned into gluttons with the help of their vanity. What begins as vanity can then be gradually turned into habit.
Mere excess in food is much less valuable than delicacy. Its chief use is as a kind of artillery preparation for attacks on chastity. On that, as on every other subject, keep your man in a condition of false spirituality. Never let him notice the medical aspect. Keep him wondering what pride or lack of faith has delivered him into your hands when a simple enquiry into what he has been eating or drinking for the last twenty-four hours would show him whence your ammunition comes and thus enable him by a very little abstinence to imperil your lines of communication.
If he must think of the medical side of chastity, feed him the grand lie which we have made the English humans believe, that physical exercise in excess and consequent fatigue are specially favourable to this virtue. How they can believe this, in face of the notorious lustfulness of sailors and  soldiers, may well be asked.
But we used the schoolmasters to put the story about—men who were really interested in chastity as an excuse for games and therefore recommended games as an aid to chastity. But this whole business is too large to deal with at the tail-end of a letter,. Even under Slubgob you must have learned at college the routine technique of sexual temptation, and since, for us spirits, this whole subject is one of considerable tedium though necessary as part of our training I will pass it over. But on the larger issues involved I think you have a good deal to learn.
The latter, for the last few centuries, we have been closing up as a way of escape. This idea is our parody of an idea that came from the Enemy. The whole philosophy of Hell rests on recognition of the axiom that one thing is not another thing, and, specially, that one self is not another self. My good is my good and your good is yours.
What one gains another loses. Even an inanimate object is what it is by excluding all other objects from the space it occupies; if it expands, it does so by thrusting other objects aside or by absorbing them.
A self does the same. With beasts the absorption takes the form of eating; for us, it means the sucking of will and freedom out of a weaker self into a stronger. He aims at a contradiction. Things are to be many, yet somehow also one. The good of one self is to be the good of another. This impossibility He calls love , and this same monotonous panacea can be detected under all He does and even all He is—or claims to be.
Thus He is not content, even Himself, to be a sheer arithmetical unity; He claims to be three as well as one, in order that this nonsense about Love may find a foothold in His own nature. At the other end of the scale, He introduces into matter that obscene invention the organism, in which the  parts are perverted from their natural destiny of competition and made to co-operate.
His real motive for fixing on sex as the method of reproduction among humans is only too apparent from the use He has made of it. Sex might have been, from our point of view, quite innocent.
It might have been merely one more mode in which a stronger self preyed upon a weaker—as it is, indeed, among the spiders where the bride concludes her nuptials by eating her groom.
But in the humans the Enemy has gratuitously associated affection between the parties with sexual desire. He has also made the offspring dependent on the parents and given the parents an impulse to support it—thus producing the Family, which is like the organism, only worse; for the members are more distinct, yet also united in a more conscious and responsible way.
The whole thing, in fact, turns out to be simply one more device for dragging in Love. Now comes the joke. You can also make them forget that the man they call Paul did not confine it to married couples.
The truth is that wherever a man lies with a woman, there, whether they like it or not, a transcendental relation is set up between them which must be eternally enjoyed or eternally endured. In other words, the humans are to be encouraged to regard as the basis for marriage a highly-coloured and distorted version of something the Enemy really promises as its result.
Two advantages follow. Yes, they think that. They regard the intention of loyalty to a partnership for mutual help, for the preservation of chastity, and for the transmission of life, as something lower than a storm of emotion. But more of this in my next,. I have been thinking very hard about the question in your last letter. I hope, my dear boy, you have not shown my letters to anyone.
Not that it matters of course. Anyone would see that the appearance of heresy into which I have fallen is purely accidental. By the way, I hope you understood, too, that some apparently uncomplimentary references to Slubgob were purely jocular.
I really have the highest respect for him. And, of course, some things I said about not shielding you from the authorities were not seriously meant. You can trust me to look after your interests. But do keep everything under lock and key. The truth is I slipped by mere carelessness into saying that the Enemy really loves the humans. That, of course, is an impossibility. Their good cannot be His. All His talk about Love must be a disguise for something else—He must have some real motive for creating them and taking so much trouble about them.
The reason one comes to talk as if He really had this impossible Love is our utter failure to find out that real motive. What does He stand to make out of them? That is the insoluble question. When the creation of man was first mooted and when, even at that stage, the Enemy freely confessed that he foresaw a certain episode about a cross, Our Father very naturally sought an interview and asked for an explanation.
The Enemy gave no reply except to produce the cock-and-bull story about disinterested love which He has been circulating ever since. This Our Father naturally could not accept. He implored the Enemy to lay His cards on the table, and gave Him every opportunity. Since then, we have begun to see why our Oppressor was so secretive. His throne depends on the secret. Members of His faction have frequently admitted that if ever we came to understand what He means by Love, the war would be over and we should re-enter Heaven.
And there lies the great task. We know that He cannot really love: If we could only find out what He is really up to! Yet we must never lose hope; more and more complicated theories, fuller and fuller collections of data, richer rewards for researchers who make progress, more and more terrible punishments for those who fail—all this, pursued and accelerated to the very end of time, cannot, surely, fail to succeed. You complain that my last letter does not make it clear whether I regard being in love as a desirable state for a human or not.
But really, Wormwood, that is the sort of question one expects them to ask! Nothing matters at all except the tendency of a given state of mind, in given circumstances, to move a particular patient at a particular moment nearer to the Enemy or nearer to us. If he is an arrogant man with a contempt for the body really based on delicacy but mistaken by him for purity—and one who takes pleasure in flouting what most of his fellows approve—by all means let him decide against love. Instil into him an overweening asceticism and then, when you have separated his sexuality from all that might humanise it, weigh in on him with it in some much more brutal and cynical form.
Failing that, it can be used to steer the patient into a useful marriage. Please send me a report on this when you next write. In the meantime, get it quite clear in your own mind that this state of falling in love is not, in itself, necessarily, favourable either to us or to the other side.
It is simply an occasion which we and the Enemy are both trying to exploit. Like most of the other things which humans are excited about, such as health and sickness, age and youth, or war and peace, it is, from the point of view of the spiritual life, mainly raw material,. You ought to have known that He always does in the end, and you ought to have stopped before you reached that stage. In a rough and ready way, of course, this question is decided for us by spirits far deeper down in the Lowerarchy than you and I.
This they do by working through the small circle of popular artists, dressmakers, actresses and advertisers who determine the fashionable type. The aim is to guide each sex away from those members of the other with whom spiritually helpful, happy, and fertile marriages are most likely. Thus we have now for many centuries triumphed over nature to the extent of making certain secondary characteristics of the male such as the beard disagreeable to nearly all the females—and there is more in that than you might suppose.
As regards the male taste we have varied a good deal. At another, we have selected an exaggeratedly feminine type, faint and languishing, so that folly and cowardice, and all the general falseness and littleness of mind which go with them, shall be at a premium.
At present we are on the opposite tack. The age of jazz has succeeded  the age of the waltz, and we now teach men to like women whose bodies are scarcely distinguishable from those of boys. And that is not all. We have engineered a great increase in the licence which society allows to the representation of the apparent nude not the real nude in art, and its exhibition on the stage or the bathing beach. It is all a fake, of course; the figures in the popular art are falsely drawn; the real women in bathing suits or tights are actually pinched in and propped up to make them appear firmer and more slender and more boyish than nature allows a full-grown woman to be.
What follows you can easily forecast! That is the general strategy of the moment. There is one type for which his desire is such as to be naturally amenable to the Enemy—readily mixed with charity, readily obedient to marriage, coloured all through with that golden light of reverence and naturalness which we detest; there is another type which he desires brutally, and desires to desire brutally, a type best used to draw him away from marriage altogether but which, even within marriage, he would tend to treat as a slave, an idol, or an accomplice.
In the face, it is the visible animality, or sulkiness, or craft, or cruelty which he likes and in the body, something quite different from what he ordinarily calls Beauty, something he may even, in a sane hour, describe as ugliness, but which, by our art, can be made  to play on the raw nerve of his private obsession.
The real use of the infernal Venus is, no doubt, as prostitute or mistress. And that is very well worth bringing about. And, by the way, they are not only efficient, but delightful; the unhappiness produced is of a very lasting and exquisite kind,.
It may even be the main attack, as long as he thinks it the subordinate one. But here, as in everything else, the way must be prepared for your moral assault by darkening his intellect. Men are not angered by mere misfortune but by misfortune conceived as injury. And the sense of injury depends on the feeling that a legitimate claim has been denied. The more claims on life, therefore, that your patient can be induced to make, the more often he will feel injured and, as a result, ill-tempered.
Now you will have noticed that nothing throws him into a passion so easily as to find a tract of time which he reckoned on having at his own disposal unexpectedly taken from him.
Now he is not yet so uncharitable or slothful that these small demands on his  courtesy are in themselves too much for it.
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They anger him because he regards his time as his own and feels that it is being stolen. Let him have the feeling that he starts each day as the lawful possessor of twenty-four hours. Let him feel as a grievous tax that portion of this property which he has to make over to his employers, and as a generous donation that further portion which he allows to religious duties.
But what he must never be permitted to doubt is that the total from which these deductions have been made was, in some mysterious sense, his own personal birthright. You have here a delicate task. The assumption which you want him to go on making is so absurd that, if once it is questioned, even we cannot find a shred of argument in its defence. The man can neither make, nor retain, one moment of time; it all comes to him by pure gift; he might as well regard the sun and moon as his chattels.
He is also, in theory, committed to a total service of the Enemy; and if the Enemy appeared to him in bodily form and demanded that total service for even one day, he would not refuse. Now if he thinks about his assumption for a moment, even he is bound to realise that he is actually in this situation every day. When I speak of preserving this assumption in his mind, therefore, the last thing I mean you to do is to furnish him with arguments in its defence.
Your task is purely negative. Wrap a darkness about it; and in the centre of that darkness let his sense of ownership-in-Time lie silent, uninspected, and operative. The sense of ownership in general is always to be encouraged. The humans are always putting up claims to ownership which sound equally funny in Heaven and in Hell and we must keep them doing so. We produce this sense of ownership not only by pride but by confusion.
They will find out in the end, never fear, to whom their time, their souls, and their bodies really belong—certainly not to them , whatever happens. Your man is in love—and in the worst kind he could possibly have fallen into—and with a girl who does not even appear in the report you sent me.
You may be interested to learn that the little misunderstanding with the Secret Police which you tried to raise about some unguarded expressions in one of my letters has been tided over. If you were reckoning on that to secure my good offices, you will find yourself mistaken. You shall pay for that as well as for your other blunders.
Meanwhile I enclose a little booklet, just issued, on the new House of Correction for Incompetent Tempters. It is profusely illustrated and you will not find a dull page in it. Not only a Christian but such a Christian—a vile, sneaking, simpering, demure, monosyllabic, mouse-like, watery, insignificant, virginal, bread-and-butter miss. The little brute. She makes me vomit. She stinks and scalds through the very pages of the dossier. It drives me mad, the way the world has worsened. A cheat every way.
Or only like foam on the sea shore. Out at sea, out in His sea, there is pleasure, and more pleasure. He has a bourgeois mind. He has filled His world full of pleasures. There are things for humans to do all day long without His minding in the least—sleeping, washing, eating, drinking, making love, playing, praying, working. We fight under cruel disadvantages. Not that that excuses you. You have always hated me and been insolent when you dared.
Could you not see that the very house she lives in is one that he ought never to have entered? The whole place reeks of that deadly odour.
The very gardener, though he has only been there five years, is beginning to acquire it. Even guests, after a week-end visit, carry some of the smell away with them. The dog and the cat are tainted with it. And a house full of the impenetrable mystery. They guard as jealously as the Enemy Himself the secret of what really lies behind this pretence of disinterested love.
The whole house and garden is one vast obscenity. It bears a sickening resemblance to the description one human writer made of Heaven: Music and silence—how I detest them both! How thankful we should be that ever since our Father entered Hell—though longer ago than  humans, reckoning in light years, could express—no square inch of infernal space and no moment of infernal time has been surrendered to either of those abominable forces, but all has been occupied by Noise—Noise, the grand dynamism, the audible expression of all that is exultant, ruthless, and virile—Noise which alone defends us from silly qualms, despairing scruples, and impossible desires.
We will make the whole universe a noise in the end. We have already made great strides in this direction as regards the Earth. The melodies and silences of Heaven will be shouted down in the end. But I admit we are not yet loud enough, or anything like it. Research is in progress. Meanwhile you , disgusting little——. In the heat of composition I find that I have inadvertently allowed myself to assume the form of a large centipede.
I am accordingly dictating the rest to my secretary. Now that the transformation is complete I recognise it as a periodical phenomenon. A more modern writer—someone with a name like Pshaw—has, however, grasped the truth. Transformation proceeds from within and is a glorious manifestation of that Life Force which Our Father would worship if he worshipped anything but himself. In my present form I feel even more anxious to see you, to unite you to myself in an indissoluble embrace,.
Through this girl and her disgusting family the patient is now getting to know more Christians every day, and very intelligent Christians too. For a long time it will be quite impossible to remove spirituality from his life. Very well then; we must corrupt it.
No doubt you have often practised transforming yourself into an angel of light as a parade-ground exercise.
Now is the time to do it in the face of the Enemy. The World and the Flesh have failed us; a third Power remains. And success of this third kind is the most glorious of all.
A spoiled saint, a Pharisee, an inquisitor, or a magician, makes better sport in Hell than a mere common tyrant or debauchee. Several of his new friends are very much alive to the social implications of their religion.
That, in itself, is a bad thing; but good can be made out of it. You will find that a good many Christian-political writers think that Christianity began  going wrong, and departing from the doctrine of its Founder, at a very early stage. The advantages of these constructions, which we intend to change every thirty years or so, are manifold.
In the second place, all such constructions place the importance of their Historical Jesus in some peculiar  theory He is supposed to have promulgated. We first make Him solely a teacher, and then conceal the very substantial agreement between His teachings and those of all other great moral teachers. For humans must not be allowed to notice that all great moralists are sent by the Enemy not to inform men but to remind them, to restate the primeval moral platitudes against our continual concealment of them.
We make the Sophists: He raises up a Socrates to answer them. Our third aim is, by these constructions, to destroy the devotional life. For the real presence of the Enemy, otherwise experienced by men in prayer and sacrament, we substitute a merely probable, remote, shadowy, and uncouth figure, one who spoke a strange language and died a long time ago. Such an object cannot in fact be worshipped. Instead of the Creator adored by its creature, you soon have merely a leader acclaimed by a partisan, and finally a distinguished character approved by a judicious historian.
And fourthly, besides being unhistorical in the Jesus it depicts, religion of  this kind is false to history in another sense. Indeed materials for a full biography have been withheld from men. About the general connection between Christianity and politics, our position is more delicate.
Certainly we do not want men to allow their Christianity to flow over into their political life, for the establishment of anything like a really just society would be a major disaster. On the other hand we do want, and want very much, to make men treat Christianity as a means; preferably, of course, as a means to their own  advancement, but, failing that, as a means to anything—even to social justice.
The thing to do is to get a man at first to value social justice as a thing which the Enemy demands, and then work him on to the stage at which he values Christianity because it may produce social justice. For the Enemy will not be used as a convenience. Fortunately it is quite easy to coax humans round this little corner. You see the little rift? It is an unobtrusive little vice which she shares with nearly all women who have grown up in an intelligent circle united by a clearly defined belief; and it consists in a quite untroubled assumption that the outsiders who do not share this belief are really too stupid and ridiculous.
The males, who habitually meet these outsiders, do not feel that way; their confidence, if they are confident, is of a different kind.
Hers, which she supposes to be due to Faith, is in reality largely due to the mere colour she has taken from her surroundings. But have you thought of how it can be made to influence your own patient? It is always the novice who exaggerates. The man who has risen in society is over-refined, the young scholar is pedantic. In this new circle your patient is a novice. He is there daily meeting Christian life of a quality he never before imagined and seeing it all through an enchanted glass because he is in love.
He is anxious indeed the Enemy commands him to imitate this quality. Can you get him to imitate this defect in his mistress and to exaggerate it until what was venial in her becomes in him the strongest and most beautiful of the vices—Spiritual Pride? The conditions seem ideally favourable. The new circle in which he finds himself is one of which he is tempted to be proud for many reasons other than its Christianity. It is a better educated, more intelligent, more agreeable society than any he has yet encountered.
He is also under some degree of illusion as to his own place in it. He has no notion how much in him is forgiven because they are charitable and made the best of because he is now one of the family. He does not dream  how much of his conversation, how many of his opinions, are recognised by them all as mere echoes of their own.
Still less does he suspect how much of the delight he takes in these people is due to the erotic enchantment which the girl, for him, spreads over all her surroundings. He thinks that he likes their talk and way of life because of some congruity between their spiritual state and his, when in fact they are so far beyond him that if he were not in love he would be merely puzzled and repelled by much which he now accepts. Here is your chance. When he turns from them to other society he will find it dull; partly because almost any society within his reach is, in fact, much less entertaining, but still more because he will miss the enchantment of the young woman.
You must teach him to mistake this contrast between the circle that delights  and the circle that bores him for the contrast between Christians and unbelievers. Success here depends on confusing him. Play on that nerve. Teach him, using the influence of this girl when she is silliest, to adopt an air of amusement at the things the unbelievers say. It is no affair of yours whether those theories are true or false; the great thing is to make Christianity a mystery religion in which he feels himself one of the initiates.
Pray do not fill your letters with rubbish about this European War. Its final issue is, no doubt, important, but that is a matter for the High Command. I am not in the least interested in knowing how many people in England have been killed by bombs. In what state of mind they died, I can learn from the office at this end. That they were going to die sometime, I knew already.
Please keep your mind on your work,. The real trouble about the set your patient is living in is that it is merely Christian. They all have individual interests, of course, but the bond remains mere Christianity.
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