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Unformatted text preview: alises this new pleasure as a temptation. Since
the Enemy's servants have been preaching about "the World" as one of the great standard temptations for two thousand
years, this might seem difficult to do. But fortunately they have said very little about it for the last few decades. In
modern Christian writings, though I see much (indeed more than I like) about Mammon, I see few of the old warnings
about Worldly Vanities, the Choice of Friends, and the Value of Time. All that, your patient would probably classify as
"Puritanism"—and may I remark in passing that the value we have given to that word is one of the really solid triumphs
of the last hundred years? By it we rescue annually thousands of humans from temperance, chastity, and sobriety of life.
Sooner or later, however, the real nature of his new friends must become clear to him, and then your tactics must
depend on the patient's intelligence. 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. He can be taught to enjoy kneeling beside the grocer on Sunday just because he
remembers that the grocer could not possibly understand the urbane and mocking world which he inhabited on Saturday
evening; and contrariwise, to enjoy the bawdy and blasphemy over the coffee with these admirable friends all the more
because he is aware of a "deeper", "spiritual" world within him which they cannot understand. 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. Finally, if all else fails, you can persuade him, in defiance of
conscience, to continue the new acquaintance on the ground that he is, in some unspecified way, doing these people
"good" by the mere fact of drinking their cocktails and laughing at their jokes, and that to cease to do so would be
"priggish", "intolerant", and (of course) "Puritanical".
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,
Your affectionate uncle
MY DEAR WORMWOOD, http://members.fortu...
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- Spring '07