Unformatted text preview: ortunecity.com/phantom1/books2/c._s._lewis_-_the_screwtape_letters.htm 2/07/2008 THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS Page 8 of 34 intellect or even, in some measure, loved and admired, will not keep a man from our Father's house: indeed they may
make him more amusing when he gets there,
Your affectionate uncle
MY DEAR WORMWOOD,
I wonder you should ask me whether it is essential to keep the patient in ignorance of your own existence. That
question, at least for the present phase of the struggle, has been answered for us by the High Command. Our policy, for
the moment, is to conceal ourselves. Of course this has not always been so. We are really faced with a cruel dilemma.
When the humans disbelieve in our existence we lose all he pleasing results of direct terrorism and we make no
magicians. On the other hand, when they believe in us, we cannot make them materialists and sceptics. At least, not yet.
I have great hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalise and mythologise their science to such an extent
that what is, in effect, belief in us, (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to
belief in the Enemy. The "Life Force", the worship of sex, and some aspects of Psychoanalysis, may here prove useful.
If once we can produce our perfect work—the Materialist Magician, the man, not using, but veritably worshipping,
what he vaguely calls "Forces" while denying the existence of "spirits"—then the end of the war will be in sight. But in
the meantime we must obey our orders. I do not think you will have much difficulty in keeping the patient in the dark.
The fact that "devils" are predominantly comic figures in the modern imagination will help you. If any faint suspicion
of your existence begins to arise in his mind, suggest to him a picture of something in red tights, and persuade him that
since he cannot believe in that (it is an old textbook method of confusing them) he therefore cannot believe in you.
I had not forgotten my promise to consider whether we should make the patient an extreme patriot or an extreme
pacifist. All extremes, except extreme devotion to the Enemy, are to be encouraged. Not always, of course, but at this
period. Some ages are lukewarm and complacent, and then it is our business to soothe them yet faster asleep. Other
ages, of which the present is one, are unbalanced and prone to faction, and it is our business to inflame them. Any small
coterie, bound together by some interest which other men dislike or ignore, tends to develop inside itself a hothouse
mutual admiration, and towards the outer world, a great deal of pride and hatred which is entertained without shame
because the "Cause" is its sponsor and it is thought to be impersonal. Even when the little group exists originally for the
Enemy's own purposes, this remains true. We want the Church to be small not only that fewer men may know the
Enemy but also that those who do may acquire the uneasy intensity and the defensive self-rightousness of a secret
society or a clique. The Church herself is, of course, heavily defended and we have never yet q...
View Full Document
- Spring '07
- C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters