Tag Archives: Screwtape

‘Like you know’ — Christmas 2017


Vagueness is on the march and it isn’t just formal education that has brought this about, firstly television, then the Internet, and now mobile phone texting, all impact on both the written and the spoken word.  Read more of this post

A Letter For Christmas


The genre used by C. S. Lewis in The Chronicles of Narnia, and his friend J. R. R. Tolkien in The Lord Of The Rings is now used to popularize the concept of some supernatural force, contrary to that intended by Lewis and Tolkien who both attributed supernatural forces to the divine.

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Nurturing Education


It seems that the dumbing down in education is not simply an Anglo-Saxon model but a European one. A commonality is to be found in my post ‘Knowledge is not a shovel’, itself prompted by Gesine Schwan remarking  in  Knowledge is not a shovel – Universities and democratic society that:

“The primary aim of education, however one understands it, must be to nurture the ability to reflect, to develop new ideas, and to implement these collectively”.

Gesine Schwan would find much common ground with C S Lewis in saying 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”.

In the following extract from ‘Screwtape Proposes a Toast‘ (pdf), C.S. Lewis wrote:

I want to fix your attention on discrediting, and finally the elimination, of every kind of human excellence — moral, cultural, social, or intellectual. The spirit of I’m as good as you’ has already begun more than a generally social influence. It begins to work into their education system. The basic principle of the new education is to be that dunces and idlers must not be made to feel inferior to intelligent and industrious pupils. That would be “undemocratic”.

At universities, examinations must be framed so that nearly all the students get good marks. Entrance examinations must be framed so that all, or nearly all, citizens can go to universities, whether they have any power (or wish) to profit by higher education or not. At schools, the children who are too stupid or lazy to learn languages and mathematics and elementary science can be set to doing things that children used to do in their spare time. Whatever nonsense they are engaged in must have “parity of esteem.” (It’s Hell For Democracy)

When entry to higher education is motivated by the political expediency of taking young people off the unemployment register, and where the educational model is driven by ‘economic competitiveness’ (Schwan), then surely it should lead to employment opportunities. What we actually have, is an education system failing to provide the necessary education at any level. Those seeking employment are not only faced with very limited employment opportunities, but often find themselves competing with better educated applicants from nations where Schwan’s educational aims are still applied.

Educational and political chicanery has duped students and ultimately society. A chicanery that has changed not just an education system but in doing so, society itself. If the educational aims advocated by Schwan were applied, politicians may well fear an electorate endowed with any modicum of intellect. Fortunately for them, and as foreseen by Screwtape, we now have an education system incapable of nurturing the ability to reflect, to develop new ideas, and to implement these collectively. One whose sole purpose is the development of economic growth in the face of global competition.

Diffuse Dissatisfactions


In Lashed by Lash I mentioned  the American social critic Christopher Lasch, credited with coining the term diffuse dissatisfactions. I would express diffuse dissatisfactions as my belief that ‘the world is going to hell in a handcart‘. What other view would I hold, I’m a septuagenarian. 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, Prozacs for the proletariat ,  tranquillisers for the bourgeoisie and cocaine for aristocracy. To a layman like me, confirming the abstractions of the socially stressed. Read more of this post

Like – ‘er’, you know, they’re only words.


Education, Education, Education, was the mantra of New Labour in 1997, which certainly appealed to me, having the experience of two boys being educated in a state comprehensive school.  An appeal reinforced by my experience in a military training establishment for adolescent and mature students.  However, 13  years post New Labour’s mantra and some 20 years post the Tories Citizens Charter, it seems that instead of a nation educated and proficient in the use of ‘simple English’, we are now a nation of ‘English simpletons’.

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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?
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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.
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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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