I first read C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters about a year ago, and while it’s full of great stuff, this particular passage has always stuck with me. I think about it often as I try to figure out what I’m going to write about or review on Opus, or when I think about the art that I seek out, and why I seek it out:
The deepest likings and impulses of any man are the raw material, the starting point, with which the Enemy has furnished him. To get him away from those is therefore always a point gained; even in things indifferent it is always desirable to substitute the standards of the World, or convention, or fashion, for a human’s own real likings and dislikings… The man who truly and disinterestedly enjoys any one thing in the world, for its own sake, and without caring two-pence what other people say about it, is by that very fact fore-armed against some of our subtlest modes of attack. You should always try to make the patient abandon the people or food or books he really likes in favour of the “best” people, the “right” food, the “important” books.
It’s always a temptation I face, to be in on the “next big thing” or get caught in the “next wave” of music, or films — not because I’ll enjoy it necessarily, but just so I’ll be in on the ground floor and can claim that I was there when it broke. When, truthfully speaking, I’d much rather prefer to be huddled down among the things I know I’ll like because they honestly and truthfully speak to me.