katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Fandom)
Just yesterday I read for the first time The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis.

I'd forgotten how refreshing to the spirit, reading C.S. Lewis is. Or, more accurately, having only read his Narnia stories before now, I didn't know his other stories would also be a delight to read. I should definitely get his Out of the Silent Planet series of books one of these days.

*g* What George Orwell did for politics, I see C.S. Lewis doing in the Screwtape Letters for personal morality. Except that Orwell in 1984 described an *extremity* -- and so it's only echoes of the horridness of what he describes that we see in the current-day world. Only similarities and warning bells.

C.S. Lewis in the Screwtape Letters deals on the other hands with the utter joy-crushing mundanity of the descent to immorality. No extravagant evils, just joyless and pleasureless sins, repeated via conformity and tedium until they reduce Man to demonic food. As such it's not only echoes that one perceives. It's day-to-day examples of dreary "sins".

Given how my assumptions and C.S. Lewis are different (he believes in Christianity, I don't), it's strangely wonderful how many of the morality lessons in the Screwtape Letters I find ringing very true. Not *all*, mind you, but more than I had imagined would have been the case. *g* But then again one of my most basic assumption is similar to Lewis' -- that the only valid reason to believe or disbelieve something is that you consider it true or false. This may seem obvious, but given the number of people who believe or disbelieve because of tradition, or conformity, the convenience of the matter, or for mere fear of changing their opinions... well, let's just say that it puts C.S. Lewis and me on the same side of the issue after all. *g* Perhaps he sees angels and demons where I see the best and worst parts of each person's own nature, but most of the same principles apply in recognizing which is which.

I also see points where the imagination of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien (to whom the book is dedicated to) may have influenced one another -- or quite likely both are inspired by earlier sources. The way that the demons are quite incapable of accepting the existence of selfless love reminds me of Sauron judging all motivations according to his own; the idea of demons as prisoners in a dreary existence vaguely reminiscent of the orcs' own; most reminiscent of all was the way Screwtape raged that the demonic noise of hell will drown out the music and silences of heaven. I doubt there's any Tolkienian fan who can have read that and not be reminded of the Ainulindale.

Only one significant flaw to the book -- namely that it's too short. Other than that -- highly recommended!


katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
Aris Katsaris

July 2011

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