Screwtape Proposes a Toast

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Screwtape Proposes a Toast

Postby Pattertwigs Pal » Apr 24, 2012 6:48 am

As always, you do not have to answer all of the questions or any of the questions, for that matter, if you would rather just express you thoughts.

1. If what Screwtape welcomes, we ought to dread, what do you make of his statement that mediocrity among the Patients is a change for the better?

2. How would you define democracy? How do you think most people define democracy? Or do most people even agree on what it is?

3. What do you think about Screwtape's statement "No man you says I'm as good as you believes it. ... The claim to equality, outside the strictly political field, is made only by those who feel themselves to be in some way inferior."?

4. Screwtape describes an ideal (for them) system of education. How does his ideal compare to the current system of education?

5. What do you think about Screwtape's closing statement?
All said and done, my friends, it will be an ill day for us if what most humans mean by 'religion' ever vanishes from the Earth. It can still send us the truly delicious sins. The fine flower of unholiness can grow only in the close neighborhood of the Holy. Nowhere do with tempt so successfully as on the very steps of the alter.


6. What idea can we take away from this Toast?

7. How does Screwtape Proposes a Toast fit with the letters (ex. Does it complement it? Does it contradict it? Is it better off being viewed as an individual work? etc.)
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Re: Screwtape Proposes a Toast

Postby Pattertwigs Pal » Jul 25, 2012 5:51 pm

1. If what Screwtape welcomes, we ought to dread, what do you make of his statement that mediocrity among the Patients is a change for the better? I suppose we should try not to be mediocre. If we use are God-given gifts and honor God that shouldn't be a problem.

2. How would you define democracy? How do you think most people define democracy? Or do most people even agree on what it is?
My definition based on what I learned in school: Democracy is a form of government in which all the people vote to make rules for a community. Most people would define it as a system of government where people elect representatives to make the rules / govern them.

3. What do you think about Screwtape's statement "No man you says I'm as good as you believes it. ... The claim to equality, outside the strictly political field, is made only by those who feel themselves to be in some way inferior."?
That is hard to say. I tend to except people to be better than me in things. ;)) I think Screwtape has a point. If people are saying that it is because something has happened to suggest otherwise. Very likely some kind of a slight - being left out of something or being around someone who has a snobbish air. In the later case, I'm not sure if they necessary feel themselves to be inferior - in some case they might just feel that they are being viewed that way, although I suppose if they are reacting to it at all there probably are some underlying feelings of inferiority.

4. Screwtape describes an ideal (for them) system of education. How does his ideal compare to the current system of education? I'm going to try not to go overboard on this answer. ;)) While there are definitely people out there who believe it is import to push students to achieve their full potential, in practice more attention is put on helping the underachieving students. All students must pass the standardized tests after all. Students must be taught that they can do anything they want to if they work hard enough. Their feelings need to be protected. Don't get me wrong, there are opportunities for students to excel. There are still quiz teams, AP classes, and pull out gifted and talented programs but the focus largely is on bringing the low level students to the necessary level. It is a real possibility that some day the educational system could be exactly like what Screwtape describes but it isn't that bad currently. I think I did a pretty good job keeping that short and to the point. (I hope I didn't come off as saying that helping lower achieving students is a bad thing. It isn't. The problem comes when they are helped at the expense of other students. Education should be about helping students excel in their areas of strength and improve in their areas of weakness.)

5. What do you think about Screwtape's closing statement?
All said and done, my friends, it will be an ill day for us if what most humans mean by 'religion' ever vanishes from the Earth. It can still send us the truly delicious sins. The fine flower of unholiness can grow only in the close neighborhood of the Holy. Nowhere do with tempt so successfully as on the very steps of the alter.
It is rather chilling. Unfortunately, I think there is truth in it - churches split, members leave when they don't get their way.

6. What idea can we take away from this Toast?
Once again the idea of jargon comes into play. We need to be really careful how we define equality and democracy.

7. How does Screwtape Proposes a Toast fit with the letters (ex. Does it complement it? Does it contradict it? Is it better off being viewed as an individual work? etc.) It would be fine as a stand alone work but it also works well with the Letters. It continues with the idea that jargon is important and the idea of "I am as good as you" and the desire to be "normal" complement what Screwtape said about false modesty.
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Re: Screwtape Proposes a Toast

Postby Movie Aristotle » Aug 08, 2012 1:12 am

1. If what Screwtape welcomes, we ought to dread, what do you make of his statement that mediocrity among the Patients is a change for the better?

We should celebrate excellence wherever we see it. Be happy with other people's accomplishments and never tear people down.

2. How would you define democracy? How do you think most people define democracy? Or do most people even agree on what it is?

Democracy is a political system in which the citizens vote.

I think the word "democracy," as Screwtape uses it, then described the same thing that some people use the words "fairness" or "equality" to describe today. Some people think it isn't "fair" that some people get rewarded for good grades in school while others who didn't do their work get punished. "Why aren't they being treated equally? Do you realize what this could do to their psyche?" Some people don't think it is fair that some were born rich while others were born poor. "They don't really deserve it. They were born into it." Some even think that they ought to have a natural right to talent, and are surprised when someone rejects them at an audition. "It isn't fair. I'm as good as them. Why didn't they pick me? They must be biased."

3. What do you think about Screwtape's statement "No man you says I'm as good as you believes it. ... The claim to equality, outside the strictly political field, is made only by those who feel themselves to be in some way inferior."?

The fact that a man must remind himself that he is as good as anyone else betrays the fact that he doesn't really feel this way.

4. Screwtape describes an ideal (for them) system of education. How does his ideal compare to the current system of education?

In some places the schools are quite like Screwtape's "ideal". Fortunately, I am not aware of any nearby schools which are this far-gone.

5. What do you think about Screwtape's closing statement?

I think he is talking about the hypocrite.

6. What idea can we take away from this Toast?

That Lewis evidently thinks that the greats, both the famous and the infamous were getting fewer, and more and more people are settling for mediocrity.

Also that because there are fewer greats, one person could lead a thousand. I would hope that one could lead a thousand to Heaven as well as Hell.

7. How does Screwtape Proposes a Toast fit with the letters (ex. Does it complement it? Does it contradict it? Is it better off being viewed as an individual work? etc.)

In that Screwtape is addressing a room of recent graduates, one similarity between the books is that they are both advice-giving monologues.

However, Screwtape Proposes a Toast is very different in form since it is a toast and not a letter. It also has less to do with theories or tutelage and more to do with the current state of affairs. In other words, here Lewis gets political. Whereas the letters were all about how to lead a man astray, here Screwtape talks about who to lead a nation, culture, or even an entire generation astray. He talks about the grand scheme of things and then asks the devils to apply it to specific cases.

It is certainly a different work of art, but there is something familiar about it as well.
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