My darling nephew,
Your uncle is terribly busy these days, but your auntie thought she would take a moment to write to her favorite nephew. I hope that you’re doing well and that you’re keeping warm. A chill will give you a devil of a cold. (Haha, I hope you’ll forgive the little pun.)
There’s so much happening amongst the humans these days that it’s almost a demon’s playground. I am certain that your dear Uncle Screwtape has given you much guidance about how to proceed with your important work of opposition. Your uncle advises that the One who is against us wants the humans (our patients) to be aware of what they can do and the heights of their capabilities. Our work, darling Wormwood, remains to keep what can happen to them and the depths of that fear at the forefront of their mind.
This season is absolutely delicious fodder for that. With every reminder of that wretched story of the Boy and his Mother, we can subtly push forward the images in which those Two looks like our patient- Westernized, white, and wonderful. The fewer images our patients see of a brown-skinned baby with his young brown mother and adoptive father (sigh, that one got away!), the easier it is to make the patients afraid of people who have those qualities.
The patients sing, “We wish you a Merry Christmas”, but they don’t truly because they are busy and tired and feeling exploited and fearful. This is the time to practice your whispering, dearest nephew. The most insidious and, thus, delightful whispers are as follows:
- There’s not enough to go around. Will you let your family be without to help someone who hasn’t worked like you have?
- You’re never going to be good enough if a bunch of new people come in and live in your neighborhood.
- You and you alone are responsible for your safety. You are alone in that goal. So alone.
- Who can you trust? Really, if someone disagrees with you on something small, who’s to say they don’t disagree about something fundamental? If you disagree on fundamentals, what’s to say that they follow any kinds of rules at all? Someone who disagrees with you is hardly better than an animal.
- There has never been a more dangerous time.
Wormwood, I am absolutely green with envy that you will have the thrill of uttering those whispers for the first time. Once they are swirling in a patient’s head, they are so difficult to expunge. That’s not our problem; that’s our success!
Our patients fail to see that the wars and skirmishes they perceive as cosmic and perpetual are really little battles that are in responses to kings, presidents, and military leaders jumping at these whispers. As long as they continue to believe the whispers and see each other as threats to their own, personal happiness (which we certainly endorse as the life goal), they will remain focused on what can happen to them and they will do all they can to prevent it.
And then, darling nephew, we will have won.
Auntie must wipe away a tear now. It’s so beautiful. The chaos, the fear, the loathing, and the delicious, delicious division- especially in families… it just makes me howl with enthusiasm. We can hardly be more grateful for social media. They use it themselves to stir things up and even the most well-meaning get drawn in. For a while, I did fear that the patients had grasped how to use the widespread contact for support, encouragement, and whatever else they think is “good”. But a few of Auntie’s patented whispers and they’re at each other’s throats.
Wormwood, dearest, I shall sign off now. I’m sure you’ll hear from your Uncle soon. Keep up your work and remember, a little whisper about fear goes a long way.
Aunt Mephistophelia Screwtape
All credit and apologies to C. S. Lewis and his original characters of Screwtape and Wormwood. Mephistophelia is my own creation.
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