Monday, March 1, 2010

Social commentary in The Screwtape Letters

In 1942 C.S. Lewis published his groundbreaking work chronicling the discourse and strategizing between two demons bent on the destruction of a single man. Even for readers who did not attach themselves to Judeo-Christian worldview (let alone believe in the existence of demons), the book stripped away the pretensions of world culture and bluntly examined humanity through the eyes of an enemy.

Through the characters in The Screwtape Letters, Lewis goes to great length to expose the hypocrisy and double-speak in human relationships, especially between members of the same family. I believe the most relevant social ills the author illustrates is the disgust that an individual can feel towards his neighbors, finding small points of contention and then letting the mind extrapolate upon those to the point of something like class separation.

More than half a century after the first publication of the novel, the “over intelligizing” (yes yes, I made that up) of personal introspection has become our greatest downfall and biggest weak point. In a world (and specifically where I live in Southern California) where education is a commodity, many simply think rather that do. Over this past two weeks in which I read this book again, my biggest take away is not to merely ponder how to help the homeless, but to actually go volunteer at the local shelter; not to nearly talk about how wrong child abuse is, but to donate to reputable fostering organizations, etc. etc. etc.

I own a t-shirt from a band called Bane that bears the words “SEE FEEL THINK DO,” taken from a book with the same title.
I want to live that slogan.

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