The book is full of my highlights, which implies that it must be "about" something real, even if one doesn't believe Satan is real. Indeed, it is very much as if there is a Satan-shaped influence on the human soul, which we call... Satan.
For this shape is consistent, timeless, and universal, so it must be something. A Jungian archetype? Maybe, but that only begs the question. I studied Jung back in the 1980s, as he is a kind of semi-spiritual alternative to a purely secular psychoanalysis. Nevertheless, I soon enough found him to be simplistic, presumptuous, reductionistic, and incoherent, so I moved on. If you find him adequate, you may want to question your own adequacy.
As usual, I'm going to just flip through the book and blogviate (the g is silent) on whatever arrested my attention and seemed ripe for commentary.
It begins with a quote by Thomas More to the effect that the devil "cannot endure to be mocked." So true is this observation that it also applies the other way around: there is something diabolical in those who cannot endure mockery, who cannot make fun of themselves. Jumping straight to Godwin's Law, do you think Hitler ever laughed at himself? Stalin? Mao? Castro?
Jumping next to Godwin himself, trolls have been mocking me for over 14 years. But if they really want to know what is ridiculous about me, they should just ask. It's never what they think. They always get it wrong.
What is it about self-mockery that is so healthy? Well, for starters, it implies self-awareness, objectivity, and humility. Once again turning this around, there is something demonic in anyone lacking in self-awareness, objectivity, and humility; or at least these are the wounds through which the demonic energies enter and further influence the person.
If we were playing Jeopardy and the answer was "Lacking in self-awareness, objectivity, humility, and irony," I can think of two immediate answers: What is the MSM?! or What is academia?!
I defy anyone to point to something genuinely witty that has ever been written by Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd, Thomas Friedman, Charles Blow, or Nicholas Kristof, AKA the Times idiotorial page. This is not intended as an insult. Rather, a diagnosis. Likewise, say what you want about feminism, but it is the cure for hypocardiopathy, or in layman's terms, a light heart.
Jumping ahead momentarily to the next book we will be discussing, Traditional Truth, Poetry, Sacrament, Pieper observes that
one could even go so far as to speak of the cheerfulness connected with not being able to comprehend, a cheerfulness which is closely related to humor and which is based on the fact that man knows that he is a not-absolute being -- a creature.... The claim to absolute certainty contains not only something which is fundamentally humorless but even formally un-human.
And for this very reason -- the combination of blind certitude and utter cluelessness -- these incarnations of incognition are always inadvertently funny, from the demonic Mullahs running Iran into the ground to Democrat morons running aground in Iowa.
Funny, like Elizabeth Warren. Who is as funny as Greta Thunberg. Who is as funny as Rachel Maddow, or Adam Schiff, or Jerry Nadler. Which is pretty comical. The impeachment is already a mockery, but the senate really needs to bring out the humor by calling Schiff and the Bidens to the witless stand. Comedy gold if handled correctly.
It just occurred to me that since I've been alive, the funnier (or at least less unfunny) candidate has always prevailed, for example Kennedy over Nixon, Reagan over Carter, Bush 1 over Dukakis, Clinton over Bush & Dole, Bush 2 over Gore & Kerry, Obama over McCain & Romney, and of course Trump over Hillary.
Which means that President Trump will win in a landslide over any of the current crop of dour and sourpussies.
Let's get back to the Letters. In the preface, Lewis notes that our demonic colleagues are equally delighted if a man is a magician or a materialist, for these reduce the same thing.
A Darwinian materialist, for example, cannot account for the soul except by an appeal to magic, just as the physicist who denies the transnatural must inhabit a cosmos that magically gives rise to information, law, order, beauty, truth, life, consciousness, teleology -- and, of course, physicists. If physics could account for physicists, knowledge of physics would be impossible.
Speaking of ineluctable logic, i.e., of things that cannot not be the case, Screwtape highlights the danger of trying to use logic to turn people away from God, because this will -- if pursued logically -- lead to awkward questions about the ground and nature of logic itself. He doesn't put it exactly this way, but the point is the same, and reminds us of the truism that while a little philosophy inclines one to atheism, a lot of it leads straight to God. D'oh! Atheism is a kind of arrested development whereby logic is arrested at an arbitrary point.
Screwtape cautions his naive pupil that logical argument poses the danger of awakening the transrational intellect, and this is the last thing Satan wants. Of course, he doesn't mind people being locked into reason, i.e., rationalism, because this is ultimately a self-enclosed anti-philosophy that ensures a lifetime of mental masturbation or soph-tautology. Atheists are nothing if not proud, and this is why: unlike you, they are rational! Just ask one.
We're running out of time. Bottom line for today:
The trouble about argument is that it moves the whole struggle on to the Enemy's [God's] own ground.... By the very act of arguing, you awake the patient's reason; and once it is awake, who can foresee the result?
So never wonder why the left responds to argument with censorship, slander, smears, accusations, and -- irony of ironies! -- demonization.
Nothing funny about this video -- plus, she's TOTALLY self-aware: