Infernal Correspondence

 

skoarvwMy Dear Wormwood,

It is, I am sure you will agree, the greatest satisfaction we can experience in our work when one of our pupils starts to act on his own initiative and in new and imaginative ways. Your Francis, I am delighted to observe, has reached that point.

I am sending you both, by way of congratulation, a presentation copy of the third edition of my ‘Seven Types of Ambiguity’. It was, as you know, begun long ago as a doctoral thesis, and intended simply as literary criticism. But you and your pupil have transposed it into the sphere of ethics, and developed its argument in so many ways.

The significance of the additions and emendations to the latest edition will not escape you. I have even included, on page 666, a new axiom: that to suggest something as a mere possibility (in a footnote for example) is to ensure that some bishop in California will treat it as obligatory. A brilliant ploy, if I may say so!

I owe this insight entirely to the ingenuity and hard work of your star pupil, which I have duly acknowledged in a footnote of my own, attributing the new principle to ‘JMB’.

Keep up the good work. Ambiguity is the way forward! We must always be on guard against precision and rigour, which are the weapons of the Enemy.

Your devoted Uncle,

Screwtape.

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