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Transcript of Screwtape Letters
and I am a material girl. These words can say a lot about this generation: people obsessed with objects as proof of emotions such as love, utilizing material things as a means of pleasing someone; both stemming from a growing form of materialism among the younger generations. "...a child can be taught to mean by 'my teddy bear' NOT the old imagined recipient of affection to whom it stands in a special relation (for that is what the Enemy will teach them to mean if we are not careful) but 'the bear I can pull to pieces if I like.' ...we have taught men to say 'my God' in a sense not really different from 'my boots,' meaning 'the God on whom I have a claim for my distinguished services and whom I exploit from the puplpit- the God I have done a corner in." (Lewis, 114). Buy It, Use It- Break It? Buy Another! Screwtape's continued dialogue on the premise of human materialism in epistle 21 rings very true with a particularly modern concept: that, instead of fixing something- be it physical or not- one can simply buy something to replace it or repair it. The value of money to a person's life and well-being is so great, it manifests itself in the love of material objects. Consider the value we put on objects important to us- phones, cameras, shoes, etc. In comparison to a human life or soul (however you may believe), which is more important? Religion: Satisfaction Guaranteed (or Your Money Back) Otherwise Known as "the Comical View" This little red creature is the common imagery among people; as children, they are taught, in order to protect them from the lesser innocence of the outside world, to view the Devil in a more comical form. This version is taken less seriously and does not seem to be as necessarily evil; although in this particular image you can extract the duality of a person's conscience: the "shoulder angel" and the "shoulder devil." Often times, it occurs that people will use the excuse or justification of religion as means of achieving a goal or as an excuse for bigotry. A currently controversial issue is that of gay marriage; many people have varying views on this topic, but a common reason for the protest is that it is against someone's religion. While it is admirable for someone to stand so solidly on their religious morals (a rare sight in the modern world), it has too often been used as a reason to discriminate against homosexuals in general. Often, people use religion as an object to satisfy their means, where as its ideals in itself should instead be enough to satisfy the soul.
A form of satire on the moral character of some Christians (and people of other religions as well), Screwtape's commentary here reflects greatly upon this aspect of our modern society. Demons C.S. Lewis's view of demons is much like the common viewof demons as they sit on your shoulder and tempt you. However, unlike how Lewis portrays them, the modern world sees them in varying forms: either in other human beings, or as monsters, ranging from horrifying to comical. How We Teach Our Children to View Demons Our Views as We Get Older Hollywood The "Comfort/Cope" View Having a more
us more monstrous
using humans as a
base for their monster. People also tend to
view demons as monsters that reside within themselves or others- meant as a a sort of "coping" for why people may act cruel or discriminative. A Closing Statement More on the Nature of Modern Humans, as Addressed by Screwtape The social mind of the human being influences their actions and character greatly, as they must not only attempt to fit in to their own morals but also those of society, as well as meeting society's expectations about what may or may not be acceptable in various cases. In the 25th epistle, many of the individual ideas combine together, expressing each other in relation to one another. Avarice, Materialism, Fashion; Anything but Ordinary! Screwtape states: "...it diminishes pleasure while increasing desire. The pleasure of novelty is by its very nature more subject than any other to the law of diminishing returns... continued novelty costs money, so that the desire for it spells avarice or unhappiness or both... the more rapacious this desire, the sooner it must eat up all the innocent sources of pleasure and pass on to those the Enemy forbids... now daily drawn into fresh, and still fresh, excesses of lasciviousness, unreason, cruelty, and pride..." (Lewis, 137). The Social Human Being and Society The desire for one's life to be anything but dull is constantly witnessed in literature, and sighs can be heard all over the world (from children to the the elderly), followed by the phrase, "I'm so bored!". Here Screwtape proposes a more material remedy of this plague of boredom among people, a method that often can result as he says, and the affects of greed can be horrifying. To relate this back to the modern world, however, consider the enticing slogans of ads to "make a new you," or to not be "merely satisfied by the you of yesterday- become someone new!". These are a strong advocate of the "something other than ordinary" part of this quote. As for the fashion aspect, consider fashion magazines; materialism is also present here, and can be exemplified by people going on shopping sprees for no reason simply other than they could; even rich celebrities can provide a great example of Screwtape's message, frivolously purchasing things such as cars "because they can,"or because they have "money to burn." On the final pages of the 25th epistle, Screwtape writes: "He wants men, so far as I can see, to ask very simple questions; is it righteous?... if we can only keep men asking 'Is it in general accordance with the movement of our time?..." Again, Screwtape insinuates the nature of human beings to follow the crowd, limited by social prerequisites, rather than thinking for themselves. Hoping to swade them from simple questions that lead them down the path of their own righteousness and morals, they would rather keep the humans guessing at a freater meaning that, in the end, is completely unanswerable, thus blaming a higher power for not being able to answer them. The Westboro Baptist Church seems to use God as a way to draw attention to themselves and force their extremist views on the rest of the country. This small group travels to picket funerals of homosexuals and other events related to gay people to voice their anti-homosexual views in the name of God.