Screwtape’s Formula

In the digital information era- the overload of all things in-coming and in-forming, our greatest challenge will be content filtering. And it makes sense that if the problem remains the human condition, then no amount of technology can cure the technology onslaught. Our eyes as the gateway, dictated by our soul, will determine our in-formation.

C.S. Lewis captured the tension in his brilliant Screwtape Letters.  The senior devil, Uncle Screwtape, instructs his nephew:

“…we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure,” he writes, “to that in which it is least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable. An ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula.”

You might want to work off a two-column chart for a week, sticking it in your Bible and reflecting over it in prayer. As technology continues to express our human condition, it’s a good exercise to ask:

1.  What activities do I enjoy that bring contentment? They always yield a therapy of sorts and don’t need an increasing amount of attention.

2.  What activities am I drawn to that used to require one hour but now require two? In what way is there a diminishing satisfaction for an increasing craving?

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I’m reminded of God’s simple invitation:

“Why spend money on what is not bread and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.” (Isaiah 55:2)

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