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Toadpipe teaches a semester, day 3
Evolution - A Screwtape inspired post
Mr Toadpipe: Good evening students. Please sit down.
I have your assignments on the effective use of myth and I must say how terribly disappointed I am in your efforts. I don’t know what Mrs Daemonosis has been teaching you in her revisionism classes, but I fear some of those ideas have gone to your head in a most unhealthy manner. What I mean, my dear imbeciles, is that you have altogether missed the point of my lectures on myth. I did not mean for you to reinvent any mythology at all, but to simply apply the principles of what is already deeply embedded in the human species to maintain a certain momentum of deception.
For those of you who must have listened to at least some of my lectures, I commend you only partially. I find your work childish at best, and at worst downright dangerous. You either underestimate the intelligence of humanity or you provoke them with too many questions. In the first instance, although there are many stupid humans, you must never underestimate the intelligence of your patients - not at the beginning at least. This is a grave mistake that can often leave you exposed as an obvious fraud and your time and energy is lost.
Squintydumb, do you honestly believe that the Avengers franchise is a… “remarkable example of mass mythorevivalism among young western humans”? You stupid devil. The effectiveness of such mythology has been in place long before these tiresome film were ever conceived. And in any case, characters like Thor are so diluted from their original potency it’s incredible they have any real impact for our cause at all. Don’t be distracted by street entertainers on the way to the theatre and mistake them for the main act. Again, you obviously didn’t read my papers on the matter.
In the second instance, provoking your patient to ask questions about the myth to reinforce it - this should only be done by a senior devil with a good deal of experience. For beginners, you should try to avert the questioning mind altogether, as human curiosity can quickly get away from you and before you know it your patient is considering the Enemies propaganda as a possible truth! I have seen what those in Lower Command do to the instigators of such bungles and I have to warn you, it’s never pretty.
So let me outline for you once again why you should not need, nor should you ever try, to reinvent the mythologies our Father Below has so impeccably established over these past few centuries.
The central myth we have infused into the human psyche over the past few hundred years is that of evolution. Not just the biological idea of chemicals spawning microorganisms and then finally humans, but the whole gamut of evolutionary thought - whereby everything is getting better, more sophisticated, more complex, against all the odds. However, the biological myth is not an end in itself, but serves as the foundational story, the hero’s journey, if you will, of increasing life in the face of chaos.
What I want you to do with such a myth, is to craft your deceptions in harmony with it. Do not provoke questions about it, leave your patients to assume the underlying principles are settled - “It’s just the way things are.” Humans have an insatiable appetite for what has been epitomised in the Greek tragedy, or the hero’s journey; the insignificant, the underdog, the overlooked, rising to the challenge of monsters, overcoming and being born anew. But then a twist, a tragic end.
This is the essence I want you to remember:
Against the great void of lifelessness and chaos emerges a cell. Everything, it seems, is against it. The struggle to emerge, seemingly insurmountable. Here is our protagonist, order personified, who will struggle against his antagonist Chaos - a monster that will, as the story goes, manifests in many ways. You know how the story progresses: the cell becomes a multitude of complex organisms against all odds through an incredible number of circumstances, each advance of our protagonist a trillionth trillionth chance over countless millennia. Through untold twists and turns, sufferings and elations, the infant hero becomes a man. The specific details are mysterious, every good story needs mystery. It is mystery except for the gnosis of the high priests. The guardians of the myth, The Scientists, who, even though they themselves cannot give a satisfactory account of the emergence of the protagonist, are charged with ministering to the faithful. They hold at least the appearance of special knowledge to propel man godward. A ministry that permeates, not only biology, but every area of human existence.
Darwinian evolution may be a hypothesis to the biologist, maybe the only viable one to his mind because the metaphysical alternative of special creation is intolerable to him, but it is the pattern of reality. That reality is the continual improvement of our protagonist. He started as a cell in a primordial swamp and has risen to the stature of a demigod, taking his throne and ruling the world with an iron fist. He has slain his dragons, he has flung his sling and defeated the giant, he has ascended the mountain.
As with the evolution of all creatures from primitive to complex, powerful, interesting, the principle of newer being better captures the human imagination. Things always move onwards and upwards. They see it when the seed becomes a tree or an infant a man. It is instilled in their economy where the latest thing is always better and more desirable than the former thing - thus the rapid evolution of gadgets for capital gain.
In the struggle against the monsters of chaos, to avoid being flung into the void, there has to be revolutions - accelerating the evolution of our protagonist. Out with the old and in with the new! To exist means to change, to move from something lesser to something greater. The revolutionary imagines an evolutionary leap to something much better. In fact, now we have them believing that social evolution is only possible in tandem with a technologically assisted biological evolution, a transhuman revolution. It is not enough to wait on natural progression, but now, with new technology, the human condition can be fast tracked toward immortality and defeat that monster Entropy and its brother Chaos.
Of course now that our protagonist has reached god status, the forces of nature, the changing climate, emerges as the ultimate antagonist to challenge the gods very existence. And like a good Greek tragedy, the monster who is about to destroy the hero, is ironically, the creation of the hero himself. He flies too close to the sun.
The climate change myth, a myth within a myth, may not always be a burning planet, it may be a freezing one. Otherwise it will be a dying sun, a collapsing universe, however it plays out the story ends a tragedy. For that is what they find most satisfying to their imagination.
And thus humanity today is enormously motivated to stave off the final act. For those who have embraced the final tragic end there is despair, and even state sanctioned exit strategies for them, all of which have increased our intake enormously of late. But this is not the long game. What is most satisfying is seeing them frantically grasping for the new - the new social structure, the new philosophy, the new body, the new thing that will propel them up the evolutionary tree, further from the roots of chaos from whence they came.
With each of their imagined evolutionary steps they move further from the Enemies propaganda, further from His way, truth and life. Which is, needless to say, simply wonderful for our cause.
What I want you to really grasp here, is not to reinvent the myth but to simply agree with it. Is your patient leaning toward a more traditional way of life? Suggest to him that things have advanced for the better since those days, and to disregard the ‘old days’ and embrace the new. Remember, our Ministry of Historical Reformation is continually at work reforming history to substantiate the myth. Except when they are not, as with ancient aliens and the like, but that’s another discussion. Is your patient listening to her parents or grandparents? Guide her to despise their perspective and values and look to the new and improved philosophy of life. In fact if there is any indication that your patient is wandering into the Enemies ancient paths you’d better act quickly and distract them with the latest thing. It doesn’t matter what. It may be the latest gadget, film, video, gender issue, political wrangle, or pseudo-philosophical discussion with equally ignorant friends. If the latest iPhone is superior to all iPhones that have gone before then it follows that the new morality is superior to the old.
Remember, out with the old, in with the new. We have a lot more control if this is your patient’s mantra. Things are changing rapidly so encourage your patients to keep up or to be left irrelevant - and please, don’t give them time to think.
OK, that will do for today. All glory and power to Our Father Below!
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