Wormwood Replies - Letter 1
My dear and affectionate Uncle Screwtape,
You’ll be pleased to hear that I have left my post as a junior tempter in Europe and have taken up a senior rank in North America. I know this promotion may come as a surprise, given the relatively short century I occupied my previous position. This war, as you know, has had some setbacks. In the necessity to out-maneuver the church, I was reassigned. No doubt your recommendations and previous letters have served me well in their guidance and instruction. The domain in which I operate and prowl is fairly new. Only a few hundred years ago these lands lived in ignorance of the enemy. But as humanity’s filth has grown and spread, so has the battleground. The department from which I now launch attacks is no longer limited to individuals, but I now operate over entire systems and networks these humans have cleverly devised and, in their puny minds, believed they solely control. I’m weary to speak too openly of our new method, lest it becomes discovered and loses effectiveness.
For a while, the ground we lost was through the proliferation of the enemy’s word. We only had to stop a few of this wry variety from entering into nations under our father’s control. At most, there would be only a case filled with those terrible little books these Christians are so enamored with. But with the near-instant digital re-creation of that book, those efforts to thwart the enemy were nearly nullified. I say “nearly” because we are in the midst of applying our counter-blow. Though that detestable document called The Bible has now been made accessible to nearly everyone, so has everything else. You, of all, know this well. It was by your hand that the pornographic dissemination has been so successful. I admire such work and aspire to continue to please you through my own efforts, Uncle. The variety of which has been subtler than your own, for sure. But the game has not changed. All of our actions, temptations, corruptions and “sin” can be summed to either inversion or de-creation; suppression of their so-called “transgressions” is something these humans do all on their own though they often flatter us by attributing their own faltering to us.
The matter for me has been one that pairs well with your own. These humans, followers of the enemy or not, have recognized the harmful effects of those graphic images they love so much. No doubt we will use it with varying effectiveness until we finally claim victory through our great conquest. But where I now place my efforts is tainted with such a sweet deception. This aforementioned proliferation comes through these creature’s creation of technology and the internet. It is not the kind of use I speak of, per se, but the quantity which makes this such a fertile environment to take captives. I must apologize for being so coy, much of this operation is cloak and dagger, you see. What I am unable to share I’m assured you can request through the proper channels and will find detailed in our intelligence reports.
You see, once one of these humans who professes loyalty to the enemy has broken the bondage of pornography, we merely trade them one set of shackles for another. The task is transferred from your department to my own. The church has been fighting ferociously to remove the influence and grip your toil has. Where they are nearly blind is where we flank them. I receive reports of thousands of these humans who now think they are free because they are, as they call it, “accountable” to someone. This is no matter for us because we still have their devotion. It is in their short attention spans that we trickle in a slow mix of toxicity with truth. All the while, this persistent drip erodes the immensity of the “problem” your work causes. Ah, yes. The subtle, yet delightful comparison of a “small sin” to a “large sin” allows our efforts to thrive. The pride it creates when one of them believes he doesn’t misuse this technology like others takes little effort to cultivate.
I now focus in keeping them distracted, busy, and disengaged primarily by keeping them engaged in trivial matters. Many will innocently use, as they call it, “social media.” They are proud of the fact that they themselves aren’t engaging with the lude material your regiment and other deeper and darker workers handle. Where we were once spread thin managing the growing numbers of these smelly creatures, we now handle and stir the hearts of millions. Our task is multiplying quickly, too. The environment, among all the variety and platforms the humans operate, is a context where there isn’t any. How dreadful it would be for them to learn to care for context once more. It is, after all, a principle by which we lost the most ground through the dreaded scriptures. I keep them scrolling and picking phrases, memes, videos, and headlines they find amusing or already resonate with. To amuse is simply to “not think.” The best part is, they hardly ever stop to actually read the article their friend posts and they subsequently repost! Why, I will observe dozens of these interactions chained together before one ever pauses to consider context and validity! But by then, my work has accomplished its goal. The polemical one-liner which appears in a singular place spreads wildly and viciously through their compartmentalized ranks. Oh, to be a junior tempter during this season!
Have you read the after-action reports on that once renown pastor in America? Our departments took part in a coordinated effort to take him down. I must say, it is quite delicious to see your work and enjoy it from afar, Uncle. When he was finally caught in that scandal, it brought to fruition the secrets he had been nurturing for a decade or more under your malicious and fine schemes. The more he succumbed to the alluring temptations of images, the more enslaved he was. But that isn’t the part of which I speak. It was when this life had become known to those around him that my own legions carried out their task. Tempters suggesting, heaping upon what these humans thought was a righteous repulsion. To have them turn on their own and this pastor was pleasurable, indeed. Enough of these similar scandals have been rehearsed that it no longer takes a real investigation for any of them to believe it! We simply move one of these humans we have under our influence to write an article and it gets picked up. The most difficult task is in the headline, which is usually the entirety that most of them even read. One accusation, a sprinkle of truth, and I let them carry out the task to pick themselves apart. How quickly this so-called “body” of theirs eats their own like a raveging cancer. It consumes, divides, creates confusion and relentless distraction. The harvest is beyond plentiful, the hunt is indeed, good. The more information we can provide them the less time they can understand it. It’s the overload of being connected to everyone which forces them to jettison locating meaning in any form of communication; true as the proper adjective to meaning, that is. These creatures find meaning everywhere, sometimes despite our best efforts they will get redirected into enemy territory. Just so long as we rob the context all we have to do is let their twisted nature do the rest.
Your most malevolent nephew,
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