Monday, April 14, 2008

Screwtape Writes Again

My dear Crimptongue,

I'm sorry now for the advice to get your subject involved in his friends' theological discussion.  Many of the underlings who are working with the friends found those discussions to be especially helpful in producing intellectual pride and disdain for others' lesser education.  But your subject took the discussion entirely the wrong way.  He applied them.  You shouldn't have let that happen.
Your delight over your subject's apparent despair over his inability to become better was quite evident in your last letter.  I think you are misunderstanding the situation.  Despair is a tool of the Enemy's.  It is one step from where the Enemy is trying to take the human.  His goal is to bring the human to Complete Despair, where the subject has no other option but to accept the offer of help.  Despair is not a good place for your subject to be.
On the other hand, he is not wholly lost.  He is still one step away and you can keep him from turning to Complete Despair by nudging him into Discouragement or Doubt, both of which are fully ours.  Allow him to begin to think along these lines and you will have taken the fool a step closer to a meeting with us.  There are several tricks you can try to bring the subject around to our side.
One especially helpful trick is the idea of addiction.  We have worked very hard with some of our more useful humans to make addiction seem like a disease with no cure.  Of course it is not, but if the human believes this, then like a cancer patient, there is no hope for the subject.  Let him be convinced he is addicted to his television shows, his music and his Internet.  Let him think he cannot live without it.  Once he is convinced of this, he will slip from Despair to Discouragement, thinking there is no hope for him.  That is where we want him.
Another helpful idea is to remind the subject of his many failures.  Let him think of the many times he's made vows to change and failed mere days later.  Let those be the ideas that dwell in his mind.  The more he dwells on those ideas, the more Doubt will begin to creep into his mind.  He will doubt the Enemy's power to "save" him; He will doubt the "change" in his life; He will doubt his own worthiness to live.
The key to turning Despair into Doubt or Discouragement is simple.  Turn the subject's thoughts away from the power the Enemy offers him.  And the thoughts are most easily turned toward the subject himself.  Let him dwell on the consequences to his quality of living, on the changes to his habits of life, on his own inability to change.  The more you can make the subject dwell on himself, the quicker and easier it will be for you to turn his Despair into Discouragement and Doubt.  Those are the things that will bring him back into our hands.
I look forward to hearing of your progress.  Until next time.

Your affectionate uncle,
Screwtape

1 comment:

Zachary said...

I like - very well done, very true