My Dear Mogslopper,

Though I have been disappointed in your tempting of late, I am greatly encouraged by your latest news. Work, at least the way that your patient means it, is not simply a means of procuring food or land or ordering the world to look more how the Enemy originally planned. Thanks to your very able tempting of late, not a bit of that sickeningly noble idea has ever entered his puny mind. Instead, your patient means by work the entire lifestyle of productivityóthe ìrat raceî as they call it. This is a mighty distance away from the original intention of the Enemy, but still has on it an odor of Design. I now shall instruct you how to keep any intentions of the Enemy toward a proper view of work quite foreign to your patient. Originally, the Enemy fashioned the universe ex nihlio, or so the old myths goóas if you believe any of those. Though according to the Official Story He needed no help, He employed the talents of angelic spirits such as ourselves. (Enslaved is more like it.) And then, as if working with the greasy dirt and inert gas of the universe wasnít ignominious enough, He decided to let these hairless apes in on the deal. Our Father Below immediately protested. Predictably, his rational perception of the situation was ignored by the majority of the Enemyís angelic slaves as well as by the Enemy Himself. Consequently, Our Father took it upon himself to remedy the situation. Though all of our current efforts fall along those original lines, the seemingly inevitable, intervention of bipedal nincompoops must spell eventual doom for Earth, just as Our Father Below envisioned. I echo the general bewilderment of Hell when I wonder why the Enemy has refrained from completely destroying His human creation. (Although, donít forget He was moved to great anger a number of times and, long eons ago even regretted that He fashioned the two-legged beasts. We should keep His little slip-up tucked away for a more opportune time.) In general, then, the Enemy wishes man to get to work. He wishes their efforts to be tiny versions of His. They should be using creativityófor He has made them in His Image in their desire to createóto improve in some small measure the harmony of the universe. Our efforts, therefore, have always been and will continue to be in the exact opposite direction. Where the Enemy desires a symphony, we desire cacophony. He wishes for order; we wish for Chaos. By and large, we have been far more successful in our attempts to create a vast Noise through the ineptitude of the humans than He has been in creating Music through them. But without proper and consistent tempting, it would not be so. As I see it, you possess several options when dealing with your patient and work at this stage. You could tempt him to see work as a necessary evil, a nasty means to a desirable end. Generally, at this time and in this place, the "end" is the accumulation of wealthóas symbolized by numbers written out on a small piece of paper they call "paycheck". This viewóI have dubbed it the begrudging accumulation viewóis common and effective. Another option would be to have your patient view his workplace as a time for social climbing. Usually it is best to avoid friendships where humans are concerned, but in this circleólimited in its perspective but regular in intervalóyou can produce a veritable popularity contest or "inner circle" wherein your man is a large fish in a very small pond. Hilarity ensues, as Iím sure you can imagine. But the best option for your patient, the option that will tangle him, plump him, roast him slowly over deliciously agonizing decades, is the one I have dubbed the Productivity Trap. Productivity, in and of itself, is neither good nor wicked. As an overarching concept of work ethic, however, it is much more useful. The productive man (according to our definition of "work" and "productive") is lodged firmly on the horns of a dilemma. On the one hand, your patient perceives he is valuable because he is working. On the other hand, his value persists only as long as he is productive. He is, whether he knows it or notóand likely he doesóa commodity. A thing. A machine that fulfills a necessary task. And yet he does not feel like a mere machine. His productiveness is what earns him respect, wealth, security; to lose the one is to lose the others. Or so he thinks and, if you are tempting him rightly, should persist in thinking. Tempt your patient to take pride in the sheer volume of work he can accomplish, phone calls he can make, paper he can push. Tempt him to despair both of the tedium and ultimate meaninglessness of the work he does and (this is the secret) of his inability to escape the tedium, lest he lose the respect, wealth, and security he craves. In all of this, you should toss him from one temptation to another: tempt him to view prayer as ineffective, to continue to hope for a brighter future, to dull his senses over the years of routine, to forget to ask why he does it in the first place, to see the wealth as an essential end, to calcify himself with momentary diversions of spending or drinking or flirting with co-workers. The opportunities for further vice are nearly endless. Cordially, Your Uncle


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