Screwtape revisited


This week on Facebook: Any human thoughts on Theism present many different conclusions, as do human thoughts on the subject of Atheism and you must draw your own conclusions. To a certain extent the Inklings shared religious views¹, particularly on Christianity. Views that were certainly more prevalent than they are today, I mention this because their shared religious views was probably the glue that held the Inklings together, that and the friendship between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien)².

Inkle as verb is now rare but inkling as a noun has been in use for a long time and means, a feeling that something is true or likely to happen, although you are not certain. The verbal noun inkling was a bane in Molesworth’s life — the gerund,

One reason for this is the smallness of the World of Molesworth, where everyone has Latin lessons and piano lessons and knows enough about the gerund to find the idea of it as a long-nosed creature with horns sneering at a smaller bird-like thing – ‘Social snobery. A gerund cuts a gerundive’ — funny. A Ronald Searle Tribute

 

gerundi

However the Inklings group of writers always used a capital ‘I’ and never used the word in the singular.

Tolkien explained the name as a pun, meaning both “people with vague or half-formed intimations and ideas” and “those who dabble in ink”—thus doubly suitable for a group of writers discussing works-in-progress. Inklings


1. Here There Be Dragons: The Screwtape Letters, written by C. S. Lewis, purport to be the correspondence from a senior assistant named Screwtape, who is working on behalf of ‘Our Father Below’, to his nephew and subordinate Wormwood. They are a series of letters advising Wormwood on methods of securing the damnation of a man known only as “the Patient”. God is always referred to as ‘the Enemy‘, being the antagonist to ‘Our Father Below’.​ In the introduction Lewis writes; There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.

2. It’s Hell For Democracy: First separately published by C.S. Lewis some 50 years ago as ‘Screwtape Proposes a Toast‘ (pdf), it was written some 15 years after the Screwtape Letters. In the followed abridged version, Screwtape addresses the part played by democracy and education in the downfall of humanity. Those changes to gender references have not been done for political correctness, but to make it representative of our own age in which it would seem little has changed. Or has it?

3. Knowledge is not a shovel: Some time ago I posted a piece with the title It’s Hell For Democracy. Based on the writings of C.S. Lewis, part of its intent was to show that contemporary thinking and criticisms  on society are rarely the outcome of original thought. In the post Lewis’s thoughts on education are truly contemporary and yet he published them some 40 years ago.

4. Diffuse Dissatisfactions: In this I expressed my diffuse dissatisfactions as a belief that ‘the world is going to hell in a handcart‘. What other view would I hold as a septuagenarian at the time of writing. I am nevertheless empathetic with Lasch’s argument that the self-awareness movement instead of liberating the personality and helping the individual to understand the world and society, suggests an even more extreme defensive stance, a momentary relief, Prozac for the proletariat, tranquillisers for the bourgeoisie and cocaine for aristocracy.

5. Nurturing Education: A commonality is to be found in that today, discussions about the role of universities concentrate almost exclusively on their contribution to the economic development of a country or region, and more specifically on how universities can contribute to countering unemployment and improving competitiveness. On the whole, the frame of reference for the definition of the role of the university rarely goes beyond this aspect of economic competitiveness.


Referenced Articles Books & Definitions:

  • A bold text subscript above and preceding a title below (¹·²·³), refers to a book, pdf, podcast, video, slide show and a download url that is usually free.
  • Brackets containing a number e.g. (1) reference a particular included article (1-5).
  • A link (url), which usually includes the title, are to an included source.
  • The intended context of words, idioms, phrases, have their links in italics.
  • A long read url* (when used below) is followed by a superscript asterisk.
  • Occasionally Open University (OU) free courses are cited.
  • JSTOR lets you set up a free account allowing you to have 6 (interchangeable) books stored that you can read online.

¹Friendship and Disagreements Over Christian Theology (url): The author states that: Many fans are aware of that C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were close friends. Tolkien helped convert Lewis to Christianity, whereas Lewis encouraged Tolkien to expand his fictional writing; both taught at Oxford, both were interested in literature, and both wrote fictional books which propagated basic Christian themes and principles. At the same time, though, they also had serious disagreements – in particular, over the quality of Lewis’ Narnia books.

²J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis: A Legendary Friendship (url):  The book tells the story of how these two brilliant authors met, discovered their common love for mythical tales, and pledged to bring such stories into the mainstream of public reading taste. Tolkien and Lewis shared the belief that through myth and legend—for centuries the mode many cultures had used to communicate their deepest truths—a taste of the Christian gospel’s “True Myth” could be smuggled past the barriers and biases of secularized readers. [Reviewed by Chris Armstrong ]

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Martin Widlake's Yet Another Oracle Blog

Oracle performance, Oracle statistics and VLDBs

The Land Is Ours

a Landrights campaign for Britain

The Bulletin

This site was created for members and friends of My Telegraph blog site, but anyone is welcome to comment, and thereafter apply to become an author.

TCWG Short Stories

Join our monthly competition and share story ideas...

The Real Economy

Blogs and stuff from Ed Conway

Public Law for Everyone

Professor Mark Elliott

Bleda

Am I my Brothers keeper?

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