Author's Note: Yes, I know I should be studying! But I was thinking about this today for some reason and decided since I'd written this chapter... last year... I might as well post it. Anyway, if you want to make exams much more bearable for me, read, review, and enjoy! goes back to studying


My dear Wormwood,

It seems that your time with our Correction department after your miserable failure with your last patient has taught you something. In fact, if you are not quite careful, you will actually succeed with this one.

I would not, of course, hand out praise this high unless you had done something to merit it. But even old Slubgob has read your last letter and thinks you are doing a fine job. You spoke chiefly, as I recall, of your patient's introduction to incest.

Her defences must be already practically non-existent for her to even entertain this thought, and gone for good if she is considering writing it. My, what a pleasurable sensation! To read of a young, 'innocent' mind twisted beyond recognition into a putrid swamp of filth, just waiting to boil over and scorch her readers forever!

My delight, no matter how justified, is still not the end of this matter. Rather it is your patient's assured residence with Our Father which remains the goal of this enterprise. And as much as is in my powers to do so, I shall assist you in this task with my words.

My advice, then, is this: having worn down the patient's moral barriers, make sure that there is no possibility that they are raised again. This may take the form of, firstly, responding with anything other than anger and indignation to any comment which suggests incest is immoral; secondly, continuing on a diet of similar fictions, and aspiring to their levels, and thirdly, gradually becoming convinced that any societal conventions regarding relationships are merely those of the times, and are meant to be and indeed are best if challenged and changed.

Regarding the first, we may easily prescribe a method for exciting the desired behaviour. Since anger, or at the very least, hurt is almost invariably the human response to insult or criticism of any type, your job as tempter is already half done. While you may stir up her anger still further, be careful not to make her very defensive. For if she attempts a defence of her work, some part of her which still remembers what her parents taught her years ago may surface and perhaps agree with any objections to brother-sister relationships. And as you know, an argument requires some sensibility of thought; no matter how rare this may be in your patient, the last thing you want her doing is thinking rationally about what she has written, for this will undoubtedly come down to who is Right and who is Wrong – herself or her critics. While it would be most excellent if she were to prove herself Right, there is still the possibility that such questioning would cause herself to be unsure of what she is writing, and revert to more conventional romance. And we need not mention the consequences of deciding that she is Wrong. No, no, Wormwood, simply use the anger, for it is blind to reason.

Convincing your patient to read more of the same stuff she writes should also present no difficulty. There is some danger that she will grow bored of it – but the delicious thing about Sin is that it tends to taste even better the more it is consumed, while Good, when done for the sake of simply not sinning, is easily tired of. So do encourage her to do her research before she writes – she must know, because she could not write a good story without it, every detail and possibility associated with incest. Fill her mind with it, and it will not only flow out onto the paper but into her actions.

These are wonderful times for your patient to live in – everything is now and everything is relative; nothing is permanent or absolute. Furthermore, most of what she was taught at an early age was not well explained to her, so that now, if she bothers to ask why incest is wrong, the answer she will most likely get is something that translates to a 'because we told you so' from her parents. It is the rare person now who will firmly tell her that it is wrong and give her the solid reasons why – because it is not natural or because it leads to undesirable consequences – and even a rarer person who will declare that the Enemy did not design man this way and forbids it along with all other kinds of immorality. Thank Hell for that – and also that, even if she were told so, your patient would likely only consider it as 'another point-of-view' (if she gave it any thought at all), not the hard Truth, and wave it away as such. In this way the Enemy's will and wishes can be projected as antiquated notions, things of yesterday, and a constricting and narrow worldview.

So by all means let your patient think that 'they are so adorable together' and 'it's meant to be' and brush away any qualms and morals she might have regarding the Enemy's institution of Family,

Your affectionate uncle,

Screwtape

P.S. However, I expect you to have some regard for our relation, and give me the respect I deserve. Otherwise I might be tempted to eat you.