My dear Wormwood,
I am filled with pride at your recent successes. You have made such formidable progress in just these few short weeks with both the male and the female patient, though particularly with the female. Congratulations are in order. You have outdone yourself and made Our Father below rejoice over his recent acquisitions. You truly took to heart what I told you long ago about rejecting argument when dealing with these humans, and relying on jargon as your best ally in keeping them in our clutches. Remember how I told you that by “the very act of arguing, you awake the patient’s reason; and once it is awake, who can foresee the result?” Those are words to live by, Wormwood. And your hard work is only just beginning to pay off. You will see your success grow immeasurably, as your two patients take the same methods you have used on them and apply them to the large number of other humans that they address in their speeches, thus becoming your foot soldiers and recruiting untold numbers of other souls to our fold. Bravo, Wormwood. Again, I applaud you.
Your success with the female patient is particularly gratifying, given her outspoken allegiance to the Enemy. She claims to be a Christian, one of those of renewed personal faith, or “born again,” as they are called these days. Though normally we are in the danger zone with any creatures who tie themselves to the Enemy, fortunately for us she is of that particular breed that is filled with the righteous arrogance that sometimes comes to those who are reawakened or converted to the Enemy’s path, the firm and unwavering belief that they know the truth, that they are perpetuating the Enemy’s will, and that they have a mission to spread that “truth” to as many other humans as possible. Arrogance, as we know, is ripe breeding ground for our work, and, when coupled with fierce ambition, as it is in her case, it is a golden opportunity to plant our seeds and watch them grow. Thus she is a specially valuable asset to our cause, as she can do our work while maintaining the charade of belonging to the Enemy’s camp. We know that this works wonders with these humans, there is almost no limit to the atrocities that they can commit without persecution, if it is done in the name of Christianity.
Despite your success, you must not rest on your laurels, dear nephew, as it is Our Father’s great wish that these two patients of yours will win this contest and become the leaders of their people, thus giving them unlimited opportunities to spread our messages to the other human animals of their country, and potentially to those of all the world. Just think of all the souls that we shall welcome below as a result of your efforts! You have worked your way to this trusted position, which is why these two precious subjects were placed in your hands, but you must continue your assault without pause. I am continuously observing the behavior of your patients, and want to point out to you a few crucial moments that are most telling of the strides you have made with them, and, consequentially, with their faithful followers.
This is beautiful work. You have obviously listened when I told you that “some ages are lukewarm and complacent, and then it is our business to soothe them yet faster asleep. Other ages, of which the present is one, are unbalanced and prone to faction, and it is our business to inflame them.” And as we have discussed, what better way to inflame them than to play to their fears, fear of the “other,” the unfamiliar, but especially, as this is a nation of humans that is particularly fearful and has suffered from an attack of terrorism in recent memory, fear of fear. For what is terrorism? It is the use of terror, or fear, as a weapon. An incredibly delicious idea. So a fear of terrorism is in fact a fear of greater fear. Your patient’s extremely skillful inciting of this fear regarding her opponent is an exemplary achievement for you, for it displays her willingness to listen to your influence, to play upon and invigorate the fears of her followers, and to encourage in them their most base emotion: fear of the other. Fortunately for us the opponent in this case can easily be classified by this group of humans as the other, as his skin is dark, which for many of them tends to be reason enough to despise, discredit and fear him.
Another moment I would like to analyze, if you would indulge me, is this telling exchange between the male patient and his listening crowd. Here he is also emphasizing that his opponent is unknown, and therefore scary to those that want the comfort of familiar faces and names in their leaders. You did well to encourage this kind of approach in your subject, as it elicits just the kind of ignorant and angry response from his followers that we are hoping for.
If you will allow me this one criticism, your subject does not seem to be entirely pleased with the shout of “terrorist!” that his appeal to the crowd has drawn, as he visibly grimaces and looks surprised. You must try harder, my nephew, for he must not waver in his attack. Keep up the pressure, and he will be fully in your grasp, like the female patient so clearly is. Remember what I told you, “all mortals tend to turn into the thing they are pretending to be.” To your credit, your patient did not condemn the human’s outburst, but continued with his rhetoric, which was a beautiful strategy of accusing his opponent of the very acts that both of your patients are in fact guilty of.
Yes, my dear Wormwood, these displays on the part of your patients and their followers are very heartening to me and to Our Father below, especially as they appear to be increasing in frequency, and in vehemence. It has come to my attention that the human animals attending these gatherings held by your patients are becoming increasingly vitriolic, and even calling for violence towards the opponent. You realize if you succeed in bringing about violence between humans as a direct result of your influence, you will undoubtedly be promoted to the next level. If you manage – and I tremble with excitement at the thought – to bring about murder as a result of your work, you will be forever in Our Father’s graces, and there is no telling where he will place you next.
However I must be harsh with you for a moment, for as you grow closer to realizing your goal, I’m afraid that you might get a bit sloppy from your desperate desire to succeed. You see, your two patients, despite your best efforts, are not winning in their contest. They are winning with their followers, but they are losing with the general population of humans, because their tactics are too transparent. Humans in general don’t like to see our methods being carried out before their eyes, and if it is too obvious, they will reject your patients and turn to their opponent, which may mean that they reject us and become vulnerable to the Enemy. You must stop this. You must be more careful in your work with these two, for although I think we are safe in assuming that their souls are ours at this point, as well as many of their followers, we want to keep our eyes on the greater prize, the vast number of souls we can reach if they attain a position of power. I know I told you to keep up the attack, however you must also be more subtle, stop pushing them so hard so fast. Remember, as I told you long ago, “the safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” Bring them along softly, my dear nephew, and we will have not only their souls, but the millions that they bring with them.
Your affectionate uncle,
PS: So as not to leave you too crestfallen or discouraged by my final words, I am including some evidence of the wonderfully wicked ideas and attitudes displayed by some of your patients’ loyal followers. I watch them often, as it warms my heart to know that the ignorance, prejudice, fear and unmasked hatred displayed here are the result of your labors. Fine work, my boy, mighty fine work.
The above piece is a reference to The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis. Though it does cite some of his phrases, it is solely and completely written by me, in an attempt to approximate his style.