Memo to the junior devils in charge of apathy, discouragement and general stagnation in sector 456 of region 999

Thanks to C.S. Lewis, whose style I do not attempt to emulate here, but only the brilliant irony and, as my daughter says, snarkiness, embodied in his work, the Screwtape Letters

It has come to my attention that many of you have been working extremely hard to dampen any feelings of guilt and shame which those who serve the enemy have been trying to create among their pathetic flock. You perhaps assume that any time we thwart the intention of a foot soldier in the enemies ranks that we are actually working against Him?

Are you not aware that your betters have worked successfully instead to often confuse the enemy’s instructions so that the foot soldiers often work unwittingly toward the same goals we do? Or do you honestly think perhaps that guilt is actually the enemy’s goal? You fools should know by now that our enemy actually desires to be seen by those pathetic hairless apes as their father. That he actually desires them to be aware of the inexplicably dangerous degree to which he has granted them life and righteousness. He actually encourages them to look to a vision of themselves as His children, His image’s sake. He actually desires them to be guilt free. Stupid.

We on the other hand would rather they be consumed with guilt. Driven to see this promise of righteousness and freedom as the lie it is. For most of them this will keep them down and vulnerable for our purposes much better than apathy or any kind of obvious evil intent to do harm. Guilt is by it’s nature self absorbed, and we must, at all costs not allow them to lift their eyes to see His sickening smile, His obsequious face, for then they forget themselves and if they forget themselves they may actually begin to live in ways that He desires. He seems to think living for others is beneficial to them, and guilty people rarely live for anyone else.

To be sure if you can create a genuine sociopath with no conscience, that may be well and good, but more harm has been done by all the millions of desperate self righteous souls who are trying to soothe their own guilty consciences, than by the very rare sociopath who has enough ambition to follow our lead at all.

No, my despicable minions, apathy will not necessarily breed truly satisfying evil deeds, but self righteousness, guilt and shame can breed the best kind of offenses for our purposes. Guilt leads to hollow gestures, distance, rather than love, self righteous pride, and often paralysis. And, if apathy is truly your goal, there is no clearer path to it for these creatures, strangely driven by hunger and hope for eternity, than repeated despair; and no shorter path to despair than consistent guilt.

You are to immediately work instead to encourage guilt. Not mere awareness of wrong, mind you, but deep abiding, shame inducing, worth defying guilt. If the leader they follow is disposed to lead them there already, than for the love of Satan, stop getting in his way! Better yet, encourage him to soothe his own guilt by driving theirs. Let him see it as a desire to motivate and strengthen, allow him alone some respite from guilt as incentive to produce more among his followers.

Take care to follow this memo or face the consequences, my tasty minions.

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