C.S. Lewis is one of those few authors who get better on the third and fourth read. Personally, this is a timely read. Though I have read this particular Lewis work before, it was recommended to me this time because of the insurmountable worries, anxiety, doubts, and fears I tend to face in this season. Lewis is, oddly enough, encouraging by means of an unorthodox voice: the veteran devil named Screwtape.
Sure, Screwtape is a senior in the British field during a very different era. Yet, he is still illuminating. Hearing from Screwtape this time around impressed on me the power of small maneuvers. Small sins and distractions are preferred over extravagant and gaudy ones. Precisely, small sins and distractions at the opportune time. For example, it is not just thinking about food at any time but right when one crawls toward a deeper personal issue: thinking about food becomes a tangent that prevents possibly much-needed introspection. Another, it is not just judging some mannerisms a nuisance at any time, but when one is not around the person of annoyance. In other words, while one is with the person of annoyance all is glee, but as soon as one leaves that person’s presence judgments pour forth. What these timed judgments cause is the fiction that all is well with the relationship: no need to deepen it; actually, it is best kept at arm’s length.
This time around, I think, was my first time reading “Screwtape Proposes a Toast.” What a delightful read at the end! What a punchy piece towards the current state of affairs regarding education.