This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: hich,
though faint, seem great to them, with emotional sweetness, and easy conquest over temptation. But He never allows
this state of affairs to last long. Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all
those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs—to carry out from the will alone
duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is
growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which
please Him best. We can drag our patients along by continual tempting, because we design them only for the table, and
the more their will is interfered with the better. He cannot "tempt" to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to
walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their
stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger, than when a human, no longer desiring,
but intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have
vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.
But of course the troughs afford opportunities to our side also. Next week I will give you some hints on how to exploit
Your affectionate uncle
SCREWTAPE http://members.fortunecity.com/phantom1/books2/c._s._lewis_-_the_screwtape_letters.htm 2/07/2008 THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS Page 10 of 34 IX
MY DEAR WORMWOOD,
I hope my last letter has convinced you that the trough of dulness or "dryness" through which your patient is going at
present will not, of itself, give you his soul, but needs to be properly exploited. What forms the exploitation should take
I will now consider.
In the first place I have always found that the Trough periods of the human undulation provide excellent opportunity for
all sensual temptations, particularly those of sex. This may surprise you, because, of course, there is more physical
energy, and therefore more potential appetite, at the Peak periods; but you must remember that the powers of resistance
are then also at their highest. The health and spirits which you want to use in producing lust can also, alas, be very
easily used for work or play or thought or innocuous merriment. The attack has a much better chance of success when
the man's whole inner world is drab and cold and empty. And it is also to be noted that the Trough sexuality is subtly
different in quality from that of the Peak—much less likely to lead to the milk and water phenomenon which the
humans call "being in love", much more easily drawn into perversions, much less contaminated by those generous and
imaginative and even spiritual concomitants which often render human sexuality so disappointing. It is the same with
other desires of the flesh. You are much more likely to make your man a sound drunkard by pressing drink on him as an
anodyne when he is dull and weary than by encouragi...
View Full Document
This note was uploaded on 02/07/2014 for the course MIS 304 taught by Professor Mejias during the Spring '07 term at University of Arizona- Tucson.
- Spring '07