The well-known demon, Screwtape, is mentoring his nephew, Wormwood, in the wiles of thwarting the plans of the “Enemy” (God). Circa 2006. . .
With apologies to C. S. Lewis.
My Dear Wormwood:
Congratulations on your new position. Instead of dealing with the pathetic activities of one person, you now oversee a much larger segment of the population. Hopefully, your skills are better suited for this role than your previous assignments.
You are beginning your new assignment in the best of situations. Human society in your sphere is doing quite well. This is to your advantage. Too much wealth and health is always disastrous for those who follow the Enemy. While these two areas comprise 90% of their prayers, they do not actually know how to behave when their prayers are answered. They come to believe either that they are entitled to this good fortune or that their efforts brought about the happy state. They think this abundance makes them more alive when the opposite is the reality.
Either way, they will become soft and mushy. If history holds true, their appetites should continue to grow and they will relegate the Enemy to theological statements, formal documents, and folders stuffed full with promissory notes.
The opportunity to accelerate this decline lies before you. Don’t mess this up!
So how should you proceed? You asked about your formal proposal for the broader society, “Project Isolation” you called it. By no means implement this program! You predict that isolating individuals from each other will keep them from discovering the seriousness of their lifeless spiritual existence. But contrary to your prediction, this will not keep them on the path to greater ruin. Isolation can provide extended periods for contemplation; a dangerous exercise. It could lead the very thoughtful among them to evaluate themselves, evaluate culture, in fact, evaluate far too much. They may – they will – peel back the veneer of their lives and begin to realize how miserable they really are.
Instead, multiply avenues of communication. Flood them with information and conversation. Give them constant and unlimited opportunities to say something. This way, they will never become aware they have nothing to say. But they will say it anyway.
With so much communication overwhelming them, they will be unable to discern truth from error or the good from the bad. They will become cynical on the one hand and gullible on the other.
They eventually will not even trust each other. Here’s where you must not falter. As they become suspicious of others, make them ask, “What are you?” rather than, “Who are you?” Heap on them labels to identify and marginalize the people around them. Use everything: politics, sports, ethnicity,. . . there are no limits to dividing these people. Theological labels are the best because the religiously educated tend to be the most insecure and they are vile in their treatment of each other – all in the name of the Enemy.
Above all, in the tsunami of communication keep feeding them entertainment. Divert and distract them so they will not know they are dead. Not good, not bad, just dead. Unwittingly they will only seek what takes away the agony of their deadness. Like Zombies.
Zombies. Hmm . . . See if you can do anything with that.
Make the most of this opportunity!