Filthy Atrocities

The real test is this. Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper.

Next suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out.

Is one’s first feeling,

“Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,”

or is it a feeling of disappointment,

and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible?

If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils.

You see, one is beginning to wish that the distorted was a little more distorted.

If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see undistorted as distorted,

then we’re seeing what’s good as bad itself.

Finally, we shall insist on seeing everything —

God & our friends & ourselves included — as bad & not be able to stop doing it:

we will be twisted for ever into a universe of pure hatred.

Adapted C S Lewis

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