1.01.2005

My Dear Mogslopper,

You may have heard I have been called Up to assist His Majesty's Southeast Asia elite affliction taskforce. I daresay you recognize the esteem accorded me in this assignment and will keep your sniveling pleas for assistance to a minimum until I resume my post following our current operations. There is much to say for the exquisitely vast amount of grief and anguish being poured out through the recent disaster; we have rarely been given an opportunity like the one we have before us at present. But we mustn't lose our heads or we'll have no ultimate gain. Human pain is lovely, but when raw it is a sweet treat and not a filling meal. Rather than more sheer pain and terror, what we need most abundantly now are the Three Chief Vices: some old-fashioned Hopelessness, Faithlessness and especially self-centered Apathy to secure a favorable harvest over the long term. And those, my dear Mogslopper, are the conditions under which I do my best work. So, not to flap my own wings too loudly, but my main priority of late has been this affliction effort rather than advising you. I did receive your last few communications and would write back in my usual manner, but at the moment, this measly blog was the most convenient medium available. Now down to business. I must say that I am more than a trifle concerned. Your patient seemed to be going the typical American way of meaningless diversion hopping from cinema to store to office to gymnasium to home and back again, leaving behind all consistent time for contemplation, reading, or prayer. But this last report seems to be hinting at something alarming. I am not, of course, referring to his New Years' resolution to attend church more often and be a "better person." Hell knows we have too much to attend to at the moment to concern ourselves with every promise for good behavior solemnly forsworn to Our Enemy. It is understandable perhaps that he makes these resolutions--though it would be better that he did not. What you must do is make them more grandiose, and therefore less obtainable, than they would otherwise be. Drinking and camaraderie make your task easier, as does human natural tendency to wax and wane in emotion. What you want is a man who makes unreachable promises and yet makes them oh-so-passionately. Perhaps he swears in public that he will become "god-fearing" or "honest" or "more generous" in the upcoming year. And, as his friends laugh with good-natured humor (the worst kind--I detest it), he mistakes their laughter for a challenge and even more fervently proclaims this or that virtue that he endeavors to accomplish the whole year though. In such a situation, your man really commits wholeheartedly to something vague and yet difficult and in so doing traps himself. He will not be able to live up to his promise after a few days and in so doing will not only stop improving himself but will feel guilty about his aborted attempt. This result is helpful in two ways: first it makes your patient less likely to turn to Our Enemy in real contrition, seeking a relatively painful transformation of the Will--since he was unable to even attain the simpler "goodening" of himself--and secondly it makes him more shallow in general, eminently less likely to return to the kind of self-critique that put him in the resolution-making spirit to begin with. In reality, however, New Years' resolutions are not the issue. What concerns me is not these half-baked promises to the Enemy. Our Enemy may hold your man to his promises and there is little we can do about that. What does trouble me is the way he quietly and without fanfare decided to take action about an area of the Enemy's interest. I am speaking, of course, of his decision to give of his finances and his effort to a human charity operating in our Southeast Asian disaster area. It may not appear to be much--I happen to know that the money he gave helped to purchase office supplies and coffee for an assistant secretary at some out-of-the-way office unaffected by the calamity. Your patient's attitude while donating the money, however, was plainly unconcerned for himself. Imagine! In America! He did not think twice about parting with money and time. This is completely unacceptable behavior and you failed to suggest a little self-satisfaction to him in the act. If you are unlucky and stupid enough to leave him unopposed in a moment of generosity again, your man may start to actually bless those that cannot bless him back. Perhaps he might even pray for his enemies or turn his cheek to those that wish to mock him. Then where will you be? Have you entirely neglected to learn that the Enemy works through sacrifice, that His Language is one of selflessness, that His Kingdom is ruled through weakness? As the meddlesome Apostle said, Our Enemy's so-called good news is one of action, not talk. The more we have your man puffed up with chatter about his devotion without the act of devotion itself, the better off we are in the long run. So let him follow their silly New Years' customs. These humans love to have traditions; they love to do things the same way day-in and day-out, year-in and year-out without examining what it is they do and why. They do things without doing anything. They dole out extravagant presents at Christmas, (ironically) masking the more meaningful gift-giving celebrations of centuries ago. Likewise they annually gather together and imbibe strong drink and slap each other on the back and make empty promises on the first Night of every year, they obscure the true reason for their ritual. They substitute a cheap version of contemplation for authentic soul-searching and life-change. Instead of doing a small thing that would actually help others, they talk about big things that help only themselves--and that not much--and then accomplish even less as their emotions die down. In other words, Mogslopper, the shallow life full of much talk and little meaningful action is one that leads Downhere. There are other, more satisfying routes, but this one is the safest for us. Your direction during this time is most profitably the one that turns him away from true introspection and toward a hollow facsimile of empty and emotional resolution-making and following guilt. That way, your patient goes nowhere and feels terrible for doing so--you should get some amusement from that. But in all of this remember the less he takes a look at his real self the better. With great affection, Your Uncle

3 Comments:

Blogger Ray said...

Very well said, Erik.

1/04/2005 1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this satire?

1/09/2005 5:22 PM  
Blogger Shelby said...

LOL, yeah I did'nt really read your whole deal so if I sound like an idiot, okay...but I agree with you on the whole thing about agreeing to disagree. God knows so much more than we ever could, maybe the miracal is the process, and the process is the miracal.

1/09/2005 6:15 PM  

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