“Hell’s Greater Triumphs”

My dear Wormwood,

You mustn’t ask those sorts of questions. If you entertain faulty notions within your own little mind, just imagine how much greater those notions would reflect on the mind of your patient.

“If they are so eager to exterminate each other, why should we intervene at all?”

Firstly, I would have you recall that the humans’ eagerness is a direct result of centuries-worth of painful labor on our part. We started by introducing a sense of general unhappiness into human lives where the vermin ordinarily found such a disgusting sense of joy. We then began to push further the already-present human instinct to elevate one’s own needs over all else. That instinct, nephew, is one of the easily apparent symptoms of Our Father Below’s first fateful touch on primordial humanity so long ago.

The result was inevitably the general hive-mentality that children ultimately bring responsibility into human lives. I will take a moment here, dear nephew, to momentarily reflect on one of Hell’s greater triumphs over the human psyche in recent years. By conditioning humans to never cease thinking of themselves as children, we have created a multitude of fissures for the human race, which previously only children were naïve or immature enough to plunge into. To necessitate such a change we altered both the physical and mental interpretations of an adult in general culture.

A laxity in parental discipline throughout the entirety of a human child’s home life has introduced a general refusal to mature that now stays with human beings throughout their entire lives. This phenomenon is quite evident if you were ever to take a moment to listen in on the average work-or-schoolplace conversation in the world. A human’s inability to either register or care for one person’s words and experiences, and an all-consuming, overpowering need to twist the conversation until the listener is again the talker, is so petty and delectable to the ears of any respectable hellion. Then there is the laughably evident readiness, even eagerness, to take offense at the slightest perceived wrong; the bellicosity behind every gesture and underneath every sentence.

We have coupled this with suffusing into popular culture an attraction to what is ultimately the physique and mindset of a prepubescent boy, a damning combination now strived after by men and women alike, and which is utterly impossible to attain after twelve years of age. The result is a profound abhorrence in the minds of humans at the symptoms of adulthood. This renders any thought or inclination toward responsibility effectively neutralized.

And so, women are hurling themselves every which way out of the path of responsibility. Especially that awful responsibility, that atrophies their bodies, destroys their careers, that burns checkbooks and shatters intimacy, that is motherhood. They think (never overtly) something like this: If only women can fly from the burden of a child until they cross the safe threshold of menopause– or until such a time as we let them decide they will make ready mothers– then they will be successful and happy for the wispy remainder of their mortal lives. We seeded their irresponsibility, now we simply provide mortals with the tools to maintain it.

You know the tool of which I speak.

Your affectionate uncle,

Screwtape

 

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“Hell’s Finest Scalpel”

My dear Wormwood,

I, too, am pleased with the developing situation in Europe. A rising tide of Islamic migrants will undoubtedly see a rise in European converts for their god. One of the chief duties of Hell, as you should by now know (and is widely recognized among our colleagues), is to encourage the practicing of devout religions among mankind. Do not mistake me, I do not mean every devout religion; obviously Christianity is to be made in its every facet inconsequential* in our patients’ minds. And even the vaguely tethered branches of skewed Christianity that have survived through millennia of hate and fire (despite our best efforts at their extirpation) are, when in their pure and ardent forms, damaging to our cause. Not because they of themselves lead souls to the Enemy’s gates, but because they encourage the kinds of charity and critical thinking that we strive to block out of human minds. But barring that, religion, when utilized properly, is Hell’s finest scalpel.

The devout religions that we should and do encourage have done us very little harm over the course of history, while a great tonnage of ignorant lives has been taken by Hell in profit. I am talking, mainly, of the myriad Eastern religions that have been used to justify every ridiculous human fantasy from animal-worship to polygamy to genocide. And need I even mention our two greatest weapons where Western religion is concerned? Atheism and Materialism, no matter that their practitioners (at least, the ones who are competent enough to recognize that they are practitioners) adorably insist they aren’t religious, are religions that have been utilized by Hell for decades to ensnare the “intellectuals” of mankind.

I feel I should clarify what I mean by inconsequential; you are growing to be quite an adept hellion, but you are young, and the last thing I want is for you to ignore, or, worse, to attempt to entirely smother any thoughts of Christianity in your patient. In the first place, as I have said many times before, the Enemy will probably not allow you to block out all thoughts of Him– He is self-admittedly a jealous kind, after all.

The aim is not to deflect every possible thought from your patient’s mind that revolves around faith. Rather, block any thought that might stimulate his conscience, waking him from the dreamy quagmire you have so meticulously woven around his soul. Do not for any reason allow him to think of the wrath one base action would incur on him from the Enemy; rather, let him dwell on those actions that he perceives should “please his ‘Father'”. So long as there is no cause for your man to be alarmed at the gaps in his spiritual armor, there also is no cause for him to seek repentance. So then, Christianity does us good as long as it is conditioned. Work the thought of it to be subconsciously viewed as inconsequential but not entirely irrelevant, for as you have so plainly seen in the last few decades, a man who considers himself to be “right with Jesus”, but still acts a pagan, is some of the easiest prey Hell has known.

And that is what I mean by all this tiresome talk- that the humans in our charge must in no way feel as though there is an imminent need or relevant reason to, say, confess their sins in fervent prayer. It has been proven to us countless times that the man who attends church on Sunday only to mindlessly frequent his favorite brothel on Monday is unconsciously experiencing just the type of gradual and unsuspecting damnation that we desire. This is the method of choice for Hell’s seasoned tempters (I do hope you note this), and has for centuries provided a steady flow of comfortable souls into the glorious, insatiable, deserving maw of Our Father Below,

Your affectionate uncle

Screwtape