Screwtape Revisited

From: B.B. Screwtape [mailto:]
To: D.A. Wormwood [mailto:]
Date: June 26, 2001
Re: Current Assignments and Suggested Course of Action

My dear child:

I have been watching your progress over the past few decades, and I am happy to report that the results are most promising. You are doing fine work down there, and I hope to see even more delicious chaos from you in the years to come. Now that I am on this confounded computer (and I think it’s quite wonderful that my service is nicknamed “AO-Hell”, don’t you?) and have been happily “surfing the web” as they say a few things have come to my attention that I think might assist you greatly in our work.

Before we get to that, however, I really must comment on the excellent job you’ve done with the educational systems for those poor, hapless mortals. Never mind the near upset we suffered as a result of that land war in Asia that almost brought those cursed “peaceniks” into power. Your recovery in that matter I could not have done better myself. A few careful words in the right corporate ears, a few suggestions about the definite (however untrue) limitations of planetary resources, and your appeal to the Pirate nature of those behind the scenes with the real power has resulted in a “dumbing down” of humanity to such a level that even mindless superstition is making a jolly comeback. Now that we can utilize the power of the Internet to innundate mortals with more information than they can possibly assimilate, the moral ambivalence we have always dreamed of is within our grasp. And nice work on that Buckminster Fuller business. The gentle genius? Hrmphf. To think that one man could possibly convince others that an egalitarian and cooperative universe was possible … I warn you, my boy, it’s always the crackpots that pose the greatest threat to our future. And none of us are immune to little oversights … for myself, who would have guessed that the Dalai Lama would have lived this long? I should have worked harder with Mao when I had the chance.

But back to my suggestions … along with the increase in available information (much of which is mere opinion paraded as self-righteous clap-trap), the very anonymity of the Internet introduces great possibilities. I myself have witnessed people saying things on-line (in chat rooms, on bulletin boards and the like) that they would NEVER say if they knew that the other parties knew what they looked like, where they lived, or had to actually converse with them face to face, like that Hawaiian concept of ho’oponopono, until their differences were resolved. It makes me positively gleeful, the way they think that these on-line places are real – and not an artificial construct that provides the illusion of gathering in a single place without the damning evidence of having to sit together and look each other in the face. The fact that some even believe that real life problems can be resolved in the “ether” that reputedly connects these electrons that give us a obviously false sense of community makes me laugh aloud – or should I say, ROFLMAO !!!!

Well … someone is trying to IM me, so I’d better go. Let me know what you think and I’ll be checking back with you soon.


From: D.A. Wormwood [mailto:]
To: B.B. Screwtape [mailto:]
Date: June 27, 2001
Re: Re: Current Assignments

Dear Uncle Screwtape:

Thank you so much for your encouragement. You know how much it means to me to know that you are happy with my work.
I agree … the Internet does provide SO many avenues for encroachment into the mortal world. I’m surprised you didn’t mention my work in getting all the fundamentalists, isolationists and hate-mongers to spread their propaganda more readily thanks to the WWW. They certainly have cut down on our own recruiting costs – and that’s one of the bonuses about self-publishing — people see it in print, and they mindlessly give it more validity that it often deserves. LOL.

I do have a concern about the Internet, however. Have you noticed the number of earth-based, nature-loving religions have proliferated? It worries me that the concepts of personal responsibility and inner-connectness that they espouse might do away with years of our effort. In particular, this “education” about witchcraft and the like is disturbing. They are trying to convince people that WE don’t even exist! Please provide me with any insights you might have. Your treasured pearls of wisdom will not fall upon deaf ears, I can assure you.
Now, dear Uncle, I must sign off … there is a meeting of an ecumenical council that I absolutely must visit. There is nothing so sweet as denominations of the same so-called faith that can’t stand to be in the same building together … >;-}

Your faithful servant,


From: B.B. Screwtape [mailto:]
To: D.A. Wormwood [mailto:]
Date: June 30, 2001
Re: PAGANISM [was: Current Assignments]

My dear lad,

Sorry for the delay in responding … my AOL account has been booting me every time I pause to think for more than 45 seconds … AAARGH! It certainly is a double-edged sword … on the one hand, it keeps people from forming complete thoughts … and on the other hand, it keeps ME from forming complete thoughts.
I am quite sorry for overlooking your work with extremists of all sorts. You’ll have to forgive me, young one. There are SO many sites to look at on-line that one does get a bit overwhelmed.

I too have noticed this trend toward “earth-based” religions. While the Christians seem to think it’s due to our influence, sadly nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I think our work with His people has been much more productive than any steering away from the path that we could have possibly engineered. It’s so much easier just to change the underlying principles that support His organizations – no one is really paying much attention anyway, and it doesn’t seem to matter how ridiculous we make His emissaries look. But as you know, we have had our people in place in His hierarchy all along. In fact, hierarchy was MY idea! LOL!

Yes, all those pitiful mortals imagining they see some kind of greater community and a need to take personal responsibility for their actions, “harming none”, as it were, is quite troublesome. But you need not worry over it … it will pass. If any of those organizations every actually DO get organized, and forget their petty in-fighting, squabbling and “pseudo” traditions, then we might have cause for alarm. But I don’t see that coming any time in the near future. Ultimately, they’re all tied into our bureaucratic method to begin with – so they’re already lost.

Focus on keeping them prideful and jealous of each other’s standing in their so-called “community” – that’s worked for centuries with all of them. Fortunately for us, some things never DO change.

One last thing – and I hesitate to bring it up, because I don’t want you to feel like I’m disappointed in your progress.

While I applaud your efforts in so many areas, I have noticed a disturbing trend of mortals seeking to escape their urban and suburban hells and find ways to keep themselves afloat in the rural areas. THIS MUST NOT CONTINUE. There is nothing worse for us than any of them realizing that they don’t need to continue living like rats in cages, and blaming Him for putting them there. Keep drilling into them the need for Power Over, and they will forget there ever was such a thing as Power With. I could kick myself for not doing something about those trees and their centuries-long babbling. When He gave them voices, I knew it was trouble. Now, it’s all we can do to keep the concrete growing and the green places shrinking. BTW, your endangered species project seems to be slowing down. I need to see some improvement there, my boy. And WHAT HAPPENED WITH WHALE HUNTING?

It’s obvious I need to stay more involved. Keep me apprised of any new developments – and don’t think I won’t know what’s REALLY going on … I DO have a clipping service now, you know.

Your Uncle,

In 2001, Harper-Collins held a contest related to the anniversary of C.S. Lewis’ “Screwtape Letters” asking participants to propose how these letters might be updated to reflect the current environment and the historical changes that occurred since Lewis originally wrote the book. This was my entry.

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