Unformatted text preview: 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. But if your man is a Christian, and if he has
been well trained in nonsense about irresistible and all-excusing "Love", he can often be induced to marry her. And that
is very well worth bringing about. You will have failed as regards fornication and solitary vice; but there are other, and
more indirect, methods of using a man's sexuality to his undoing. And, by the way, they are not only efficient, but
delightful; the unhappiness produced is of a very lasting and exquisite kind,
Your affectionate uncle http://members.fortunecity.com/phantom1/books2/c._s._lewis_-_the_screwtape_letters.htm 2/07/2008 THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS Page 22 of 34
MY DEAR WORMWOOD,
Yes. A period of sexual temptation is an excellent time for working in a subordinate attack on the patient's peevishness.
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. It is the unexpected visitor (when he looked forward to a quiet evening), or the friend's talkative wife
(turning up when he looked forward to a tête-à-tête with the friend), that throw him out of gear. Now he is not yet so
uncharitable or slothful that these small demands on his courtesy are in themselves too much for it. They anger him
because he regards his time as his own and feels that it is being stolen. You must therefore zealously guard in his mind
the curious assumption "My time is my own". 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 his chattels. He is also, in theory,
committed 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 ref...
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- Spring '07
- C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters