*I recently took a doctoral seminar held at Oxford exploring the communication style of C.S. Lewis. This post, and the two following, are part of an assignment to create three contemporary Screwtape Letters. I would have liked more time, but such is the reality of homework deadlines. Gentle critiques are welcome, trolls will be sent to purgatory.
My dear Wormwood,
I am gratified to hear of your recent release after 75 years. No doubt decades submerged in the Stygian Marsh and a year spent in a flaming tomb have given you ample time to appreciate the gravity of your previous incompetence. I trust that you also found time to meditate on my previous lessons.
Much has changed since we last spoke and it has fallen unto me, your benevolent uncle, to enlighten you about our current work in the world. You will remember our discussion about how we confused humanity’s ability to discern truth with the bombardment of the weekly press? How your previous subject had been “accustomed” since childhood “to have a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing together inside his head?” Well, we have since improved upon that approach…substantially.
We have a new ally called the Internet. Like the press, it serves the Enemy. Yet, through careful manipulations we have turned it to our advantage. It functions as an ether of information. It is a noosophere–an invisible cloud of humanity’s ideas that hovers around the subject at all times. The Internet is place (which is why we treat it a proper noun) where people deposit and access their knowledge through technological devices.
Like mediums searching their crystal balls, they look into their glass screens into a world of floating texts and images—searching for answers. You are too young to remember, but in medieval times followers of the Enemy used to carry relics around with them as links to the transcendent. Through a careful application of pressure for continual connection, and a fear of silence and solitude, we have replicated this dynamic with mobile technology. They panic and are practically lost without their devices! They bypass contemplation, prayer, and conversation with one another for instant information. Their lives are bound to this ether of knowledge and it is this ether that we will use to undo their humanity and destroy the image of the Enemy.
I will write more later, but it would serve you well to spend time in Hell’s computer lab doing research. I am sure one of the other demons can help you send me your first email.
Your affectionate uncle