The Screwtape Legacy
My dear Shankhose,
I quite enjoyed your enthusiasm, but your estimation of our opportunity is misguided. Of course the bureaucratic separation of man has advantages. For decades we’ve refined the effectiveness of exaggerating isolation with this Internet. Even now we’re finding this medium useful. However, we’re beginning to observe that moving this wretched creature completely “online” has its limitations.
Naive enthusiasm has you blinded to the problem. Your subject is breaching the fantasy world with his real relationships. Previously we had him dissatisfied with life—seeking asylum in the fabricated elimination of limits. He assumed everyone’s polished narrative at face value while knowing his own to be a lie, and never ceased scrolling long enough to reconcile the incongruence. Everyone he knew from a distance remained at a distance—flourishing—which amplified the despair of his falsification.
And it is here we approach your naivety. This arrangement only works if he keeps one foot planted firmly in each reality. Now that all of them are seeking connection in only our fake world, the strategy is breaking down. No doubt, you should maintain your efforts of distraction with as much activity in the fake world as possible. It’s proven time and again as the most effective method for squashing all opportunity for him to hear the Enemy.
Concentrate your efforts on the binging of media content. Give less favor to these Zoom meetings (you’d think we named this, but credit where credit is due). In times of mutual isolation, these routinely benign conversations carry amplified risk of a colleague offering genuine introspection, and enticing him to do the same. This would be incredibly dangerous. As we’ve studied the limited data from last century, we’re learning that years of work can be undone in a matter of weeks if someone starts thinking the wrong way during a global pandemic.
While we cannot keep the man from contacting his congregation and kin, we can discourage his congregation from contacting him. Let me explain.
Our Father Below has laid out a strategy that builds on our recent successes. I need not remind you of our great progress in reducing their life of worship to the once-a-week consumer experience driven by charisma. These aspiring celebrities are showing no reservation in taking their Sunday emphasis online without a second thought. They’ve calcified their exchange of people for platform, and completed the transition from brotherhood to broadcast. We were much closer to our goal than we even imagined!
The remaining problem is their “Sunday follow up”. With each dispatch they encourage the sharing of needs through contact forms, emails, social media, and the like. And this is where Our Father Below’s brilliance shines anew. We’re going to flood their online services with “unchurched people”. We’ll bombard every communication channel with falsified confessions of conversion. The Enemy’s pastors (I still shudder at the word) will be so distracted by “what God is doing”, they’ll be too busy to tend to their flock. Yes! We’ll have them tied up in week long email exchanges with faceless persons who “stumbled across your online church service and gave my life to Christ”.
Overwhelmed by so much artificial activity, they’ll find themselves too exhausted to tend to the real needs within the Enemy’s so-called body. And because of the fruit, they’ll double down on producing content, leaving no time to strengthen the few disciples that remain. Growth at all costs keeps paying dividends in weakening their roots!
You must sense my excitement dear Shankhose. But you have yet to hear the best part of this plan. There’s zero opportunity for error! Our counterparts assigned to Russia presented a technology that will carry out all this tedium on our behalf. Bots they call them? It’s beyond me, but I trust our comrades.
Stay the course you outlined, except for the Zoom meetings. Show him ads about something called Tiger King if you’re short on ideas. Screwtape sends his regards.
Your affectionate uncle,
If you’ve yet to read The Screwtape Letters, it is a work worth your time. I especially recommend the Audio read by John Cleese. Writing this was so fun, I’m tempted to round out some Bourne-titled fan fiction installments: The Screwtape Identity, The Screwtape Supremacy, and The Screwtape Ultimatum.