The Lost Letters

Here lies a pair of letters reported to have been torn from a devil’s handbook. These writings were composed by the crafty demon known as Screwtape, who makes his unforgettable debut in The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. These letters, like the ones before them, shed light on the enigmatic essence of human nature, as well as the fragility of the human heart. Among other things, these Lost Letters illustrate how Tempters, like Screwtape and his nephew Wormwood, succeed in bending the will of man to that of their own.

Let the chaos commence.

 

MY DEAR WORMWOOD,

I take it that you still haven’t the faintest idea of what you are to be doing. This, however, is not a striking revelation that I happened to acquire from Our Father Below. Rather, the string of nonsensical narratives that I have received from you recently has only confirmed my suspicions.

In your last letter, for instance, you made mention of a certain pastor who seems to have won—or so you claim— the affection of your patient’s beloved. As you describe in detail, the young, unmarried man is the scum of the earth. His character is tainted with all of the (forbidden) Fruits of the Spirit–Love, Joy, Peace, Forbearance, and Faithfulness– that are so often associated with the Enemy [1]. In fact, that vile creature is so far gone into the Enemy’s camp that he has prostituted his own will for that of his Creator’s. Instead of filling his prayers with selfish desires, his mantra has become “Let not my will, but Yours be done” [2]. This monster has spread the twisted rhetoric of the Enemy so frequently, and so fervently, that his church services have attracted even the likes of your patient and his filthy female companion.

What’s worse, still, is the Tempter that has been assigned to his care.

I have done my research on this fellow, Wormwood, and have been terrified with my findings. Bellyall, the poor fool, seems to be as inconsequential a Tempter as you are. In the same way that Bellyall has failed to pluck those seductive seeds (of love, faithfulness, peace et. al) from his patient before they germinated into firm fruit, you, too, have failed to use this opportunity to capitalize on your own little experiment. Know you nothing of the Twin Virtues that have led to the downfall of so many men? Or, were you simply “on leave” from the Tempter’s Training College when the professors lectured on Envy and Jealousy?

In any case, allow me to refresh your memory.

It may surprise you that I describe Envy and Jealousy as two distinct entities. And, yes, while we have succeeded in training humans to ignore the subtle—and yet significant— difference between the two terms, the distinction still remains clear. In simplest terms, Envy exists when Person B is embittered by what Person A has. A’s possession could be any number of things: extreme wealth, keen intelligence, an agreeable face. The source of the Envy, however, is entirely irrelevant to us. What we are concerned with, my dear Wormwood, is how we can use B’s resentment towards A’s possessions to carry out the purposes of Our Father Below—to steal, to kill, and to destroy [3].

Jealousy, on the other hand, is a game with three players. It occurs when B and A are enamored of each other, but B feels threatened by the presence of a third party, C. To name it, B is afraid of losing A’s “love” to C, and is thus “jealous” of C. So what distinguishes Envy from Jealousy? As some of the brighter humans have determined, Envy is merely the coveting of something that belongs to someone else. Meanwhile, Jealousy is one’s fear of losing a rightful possession (perceived or otherwise) to someone else. The distinction between Jealousy and Envy is important. They are not one and the same; rather, they are opposite sides of the same coin. Together, they combine to form the Twin Virtues.

This word—“virtue”—suggests that we can exploit these devices for our own benefit. And we do, my dear nephew. We do. Prior to the arrival of that girl, the only woman your patient has had a long term relationship with was his mother. This is not an issue to glance over. Use his insecurity about his status with women, as well as the woman’s increased affection for the pastor to foster jealous thoughts in your patient’s mind. Give him every reason to believe that the woman’s interest in the pastor is more erotic than platonic, more carnal than filial. Let him forget all the ways in which the woman has expressed–and indeed, still expresses–her affection for him. Instead, have him focus on the frequency with which the woman makes mention of the pastor in conversation. In essence, do whatever is in your power to infuse the Twin Virtues of Envy and Jealousy within your patient’s heart.

The rewards are numerous. Not only will the patient be jealous of the pastor whom he believes to have “stolen” the love of the woman, he will also be envious of the pastor’s newfound possession. The patient will undoubtedly begin to make the very human mistake of comparing himself to the pastor. From here onwards, dear Wormwood, our work becomes easy; our burden becomes light. Your man will no longer attend church services with the mindset of a faithful servant, but rather, that of a spiteful spectator. Indeed, he will begin practicing the same craft that we demons have perfected: Fault-Finding. Don’t be surprised if you find him aligning his strengths and weaknesses with that of the young pastor. In fact, use that opportunity to swell your patient’s Pride. Allow the spirit of “I’m as good as you” to filter through his mind-thoughts along the lines of, “Even though he can preach from the pulpit for hours on end, he’s absolutely useless when it comes to handiwork” [4]. Let him think himself so far superior to the man on the altar that he can’t bear to attend his insipid church services any longer. Or, should he feel inferior to the man, allow your patient to become so frustrated with his own flaws and shortcomings that he begins to treat his woman, the mother, and the other vermin in his life like the trash they are. Be sure that he never realizes that everything—from his impressive sense of direction to his inability to carry a tune—is all part of the Enemy’s Divine Design.

With time, Wormwood, you will see just how capable Jealousy and Envy are of corrupting everything, and everyone, that the patient has ever enjoyed. From there, eternal damnation is his portion.

And victory is ours.

Your affectionate Uncle,

SCREWTAPE

 

 

MY DEAR WORMWOOD,

You asked me to elaborate on the “Divine Design” principle that I mentioned in one of my previous letters. I want to first admonish you, however, for failing to retain any of the knowledge afforded you by the Tempter’s Training College. You have been taught a great deal, and yet you have learned nothing.

How human of you.

I will, however, honor your request. As I have mentioned before, the Enemy has “formed man from the dust of the ground” [5]. Nevertheless, he has also created them “in His own image” and “after His own likeness,” explaining how these mutts manage to exist both as animals and as spirits [6][7]. I can just imagine you shaking your head at this conundrum. Well, Wormwood. Consider this: In their science classes, the humans are taught that light exists both as a particle and as a wave. The poor fools have never stopped to consider that the same could be said about them.

It gets worse. Even though the Enemy has sprinkled a couple billion copies of himself across Earth, no two of them are exactly the same. Each and every one of the little brutes is endowed with specific gifts, talents, and abilities that neither anyone one before them, nor anyone after them, will ever possess. Physically, they exist in more heights, hues, and hair colors than I care to mention, and their personalities are equally distinct. They are, in a word, unique.

The Divine Design is this. Mankind is one hundred percent the product of the Enemy (who else would concoct such a slobbering species?), but one hundred percent different from one another. Fortunate for us, Wormwood, is that they often forget this fact. What they fail to realize is that their only commonality is that they are constantly influenced both by Enemy and by us. These self-aggrandizing animals have called this phenomenon “the Human Experience.”

My dear Wormwood, your goal as Tempter is to ensure that your patient remains ignorant of this truth. Should he know of the uniqueness in which he was made, he would laugh at every attempt you made to tempt him with the Twin Virtues. How can you corrupt a man with Envy or Jealousy when he is truly grateful for what the Enemy has given Him? Our researchers have found no solutions. Neither have I.

As always, we have resorted to corruption. By manipulating the minds of these monsters through morals and media, we have convinced these humans to spend their lives trying to achieve an unachievable goal: to become like each other. We have taught them what is “good,” what is “legal,” what is “right,” and they have simply taken us at our word. It’s magnificent. We must continue to do so, lest they turn their eyes from one another, and turn them towards the Enemy. This is to be avoided at all costs.

These humans may exist in variety, but their souls taste the same,

Your affectionate uncle,

SCREWTAPE

 

[1] Galatians 5:22-23. Bible. New International Version
[2] Luke 22:42
[3] John 10:10
[4] “Screwtape Proposes a Toast” (pg. 203) from the Screwtape Letters.
[5] Genesis 2:7
[6] Genesis 1:27
[7] Genesis 1:26

Sources:
Bible. New International Version. Selected Verses from Genesis, John, Luke, and Galatians.
“Envy vs. Jealousy”. Diffen.com. 22 October 2013. http://www.diffen.com/difference/Envy_vs_Jealousy
Lewis, C. S. The Screwtape Letters: With Screwtape Proposes a Toast. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001. Print.

Image: Detail from “Mankind Beset by Devils” by Hieronymus Bosch.

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