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having found the only restaurant in the town where steaks are really "properly" cooked. What begins as vanity can then
be gradually turned into habit. But, however you approach it, the great thing is to bring him into the state in which the
denial of any one indulgence—it matters not which, champagne or tea, sole colbert or cigarettes—"puts him out", for
then his charity, justice, and obedience are all at your mercy.
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,
Your affectionate uncle
MY DEAR WORMWOOD, http://members.fortunecity.com/phantom1/books2/c._s._lewis_-_the_screwtape_letters.htm 2/07/2008 THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS Page 19 of 34 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 Enemy's demand on humans takes the form of a dilemma; either complete abstinence or unmitigated monogamy.
Ever since our Father's first great victory, we have rendered the former very difficult to them. The latter, for the last few
centuries, we have been closing as a way of escape. We have done this through the poets and novelists by persuading he
humans that a curious, and usually short-lived, experience which they call "being in love" is the only respectable
ground for marriage; that marriage can, and ought to, render this excitement permanent; and that a marriage which does
not do so is no longer binding. 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
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- Spring '07
- C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters