But flippancy is the best of all. In the first place it is very economical. Only a clever human can make a real Joke about virtue, or indeed about anything else; any of them can be trained to talk as if virtue were funny. Among flippant people the Joke is always assumed to have been made. No one actually makes it; but every serious subject is discussed in a manner which implies that they have already found a ridiculous side to it. If prolonged, the habit of Flippancy builds up around a man the finest armour plating against the Enemy that I know, and it is quite free from the dangers inherent in the other sources of laughter. It is a thousand miles away from joy; it deadens, instead of sharpening, the intellect; and it excites no affection between those who practise it.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
The Screwtape Letters: Flippancy
I have begun reading The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis, and I have found it to be incredibly insightful. One chapter in particular has resonated strongly with me because it reminds me of many encounters I have had while travelling the tubes of the internets. Rather than try to summarize the chapter and most likely fail to relay its message, I will copy one of its paragraphs which does a pretty good job of getting the point across: