My dear Wormwood,
It warms my heart that you have done so well for yourself in your career and yet still turn to your old retired uncle for advice. But then, what is retirement to an eternal being feeding off of tortured souls in the underworld. I apologize for not responding to you on Instagram, although I have finally figured out how to use Whatsapp to forward clever little tid bits of misinformation to foment worry and fear. It’s so delightful how easily we can spread the idea these days that anything can cause cancer. I think Slubgob has really proved himself to Our Father by making humans now fear even being near eachother. But enough gab, let’s get on with your problem!
I hear that your patient, stuck at home, is somehow resisting the vices we had so perfectly set up for him. He has started to go for “walks” and read books which can be very dangerous to us if it makes him more peaceful and then think about the Enemy. You mentioned that he is even living with his family who reeks with that aura of goodness. Nevertheless, I am your senior for a reason. We must first infest him with an ostensibly innocuous idea: that his space and his time is his own. The Enemy too favours silence and quiet so he will believe that he is righteous in his desires. But we can turn this virtue in our favour by making him annoyed at his sister for playing her music or at his mother for watching the news about the virus at full volume. We can use annoyance and pull at it until it has stifled all charity from him, and turn it into hatred. Once this simmering hatred is prepared, like a hot pan with oil, we can throw on it our favourite ingredient: politics!
You have written pages about your patient’s political views and I can sense how worried you are about their “righteousness” but believe me, this is irrelevant. The main thing you must do is encourage as much pride as possible in your patient. Never allow your patient to actually focus on the issues he cares about, or else he may actually do something brave and useful for these causes. Ensure that he simply reads the tweets (ah, what a wonderful invention from MY department you’ll remember!) from people who already agree with him. Stoke his flame of anger and pride and it will engulf any charity or ability to think of solutions. The anger brings his delicious soul ever closer to us, even though he believes he is running toward the enemy.
In all this, you must never allow him to stop and think of the grocery store worker, or his local homeless shelter. We must keep him too fearful of the virus to help that old woman neighbour carry her groceries home. He must believe he is too busy fighting for a good cause by posting on Instagram and Twitter.
Best of luck,
Your most affectionate uncle, Screwtape