Malthus my boy,
It is welcome news you tell me that the parental divide has ossified into a standoff with practically no verbal exchanges for long periods of time. As tempting as it is to facilitate magnificent disputes between married couples, it is in reality a more lasting and effective tool to have them isolate and keep all their thoughts to themselves. During domestic disputes, for all the good that can be done, the human defect of empathy is always present. Even in a bout of rage they may still feel a prick in their conscience if either of them crosses a line in the argument. Humans have this unfortunate ability to see themselves through the eyes of another, and when they are at their worst it is always possible for them to see how defective they are. This is common with spouses, for example a husband will yell something to his wife that he believes to be accurate, but she begins to weep as a result. When he sees this, he is likely to feel remorse and apologize. They have an irritating capacity to forgive each other. We cannot accept this notion of forgiveness as it is not reasonable. It is entirely non-mathematical and takes nothing into account for the debt that must be paid out of strict justice.
They act as if with one simple phrase of “I am truly sorry,” or “will you forgive me?” that the slate of their discord and malfeasance can be arbitrarily wiped clean. It is a lie. There are no natural means by which one can simply erase bad behaviour or suffering caused, but they persist in this delusion anyway. The Enemy is the worst offender in this regard and He even commands them to forgive the trespasses of others as a general rule. The Holy and Terrible Name furthers this condemnable philosophy so deeply that He claims to have offered Himself as an expiation for their faults; not only offering forgiveness, but even reparation of their sins. We know however that this sort of denial of true justice is not to be tolerated, and we demonstrate this with the consistent treatment of our permanent visitors. Not a single sin must be forgotten and we must remind them of the truly irredeemable nature of their fate. It is not only the damned who must be affirmed of their offenses, but also those we are still on earth. Just like our Father Below, the sinners must accept their destiny and reject the Enemy’s wholly unreasonable standards; why should anyone agree to standards they did not create? You see, we demonstrate true courage of conviction, not these measly penitents who claim that they feel sorrow in their soul for their transgressions. The desire for forgiveness is nothing but a weakness that cannot be tolerated by the conviction of Hell.
At any rate, since the couple is not on speaking terms, they cannot even insult each other, which nullifies the risk of empathy. Additionally, their recent domestic dispute ended with absolutely no resolution, and the same issues that caused the blow-up still fester like infected shrapnel. This is good. As they go about their days in verbal isolation, their only impressions of one another will be a combination of partial memories of their last heated exchange—memories which self aggrandize and demonize the other—and an imagined certainty that they understand the inner workings of the other’s mind. In reality, they will continue to create a fictitious version of their spouse in their head who is a callous and unforgiving caricature of the real person for whom they are growing in contempt. Every glance and movement can be analyzed as a form of non-verbal communication, and since they are not speaking, they can only interpret these actions through antagonistic bias.
Now, you may be confused—what am I saying! Of course you are confused—but in this case a form of silence is actually a good thing for our purposes. Normally we encourage physical noise and distractions, like that of the inspired propaganda that the news anchors vomit forth from the television screen or the addicting noise they blast into their heads at all times. However, it is not always necessary for external noise to be present when the internal forum of a man is as loud as a theatre of war. The true end of noise is to distract a man from reflection and peace of mind, and if his interior dialogue is chaotic then we actually prefer him to be left alone with the thoughts that cause him harm.
You have no doubt seen the utility of inundating them with useless activities on their electronic screens as a way of filling their minds with nonsense. As much as this behaviour plays on their appetites for fleeting pleasure, it is more importantly a training regime for sloth. As they scroll through the endless images and pages they are under the impression that they are participating in some sort of activity. However, it is actually the device that is doing the majority of the work. Not only is nothing required other than the mere movement of a thumb, but even their mind is relegated to a state of inaction. They may experience the flickering of a few neurons as an image or video excites their sensibilities, but after repeated exposure to unyielding information they cease to think and instead allow the device to think for them. Their device becomes like a surrogate brain, housing all of their thoughts and imagination. The trick is to use this delightful method to deaden their ability to think so completely, that we can encourage them to do absolutely nothing. Far from being a tool for pleasurable feelings, the device becomes a conduit of boredom.
Now, you may think if they become bored of their devices that they will resort to other habits to pass the time, however this is fortunately rarer and rarer. Many of the humans have become so dependent on their toys that they are practically unable to demonstrate the requisite brain power necessary to engage in most mental activities. This is why we now witness countless individuals staring at their brightly coloured displays for long periods of time without any recollection of what they have seen. The husband is perfectly primed for this consummate state of slothfulness. He now spends his nights hypnotized in a half-drunken stupor falling in and out of consciousness, staring at his computer until the wee hours of the morning. He is utterly bored, even with life itself. To make matters even more amenable to our control, the phone keeps ringing with unwelcome calls from the bank. Before the happy sequestration of the free world began, the family balanced an unrealistic amount of credit, with their lifestyle kept afloat by minimum payments and constant paychecks. They are not unique in this regard, many families have fallen into the same amusing trap. The amount of money they now have is not sufficient, and the prospect of earning enough to right the ship in the foreseeable future is quite unlikely. It is not lost on the man that his house has now become a prison of financial mismanagement.
Use this atmosphere of anxiety and despair to your benefit. As he lies there, looking through his computer as if it were invisible, your task is to convict him of the paralysing realization that he has succumbed to a completely useless state of inaction. Then, begin a swirling barrage of mental pictures and recollections that remind him of his constant failures as a man, father and husband. Ensure a whirling dervish of chaotic cerebral stimulation that forces him to entertain thoughts and moral failings that expose the moral rot in his soul. Do not have too much fun and allow this moment to continue for longer than is needed; if he is pushed to the pinnacle of despair it is possible he will appeal for help from the Enemy—even the most committed heathens sometimes do this out of weakness—and we do not want that to happen. Instead, when he is at the brink, remind him that he is not totally bored with the pleasures his electronics can offer him after all: there still remains that blissfully unholy pleasure which he has heretofore evaded.
Play your cards correctly and you will have him embracing a new form of self medication; the pure and undiluted poison of pornography. Before long you will have him yielding to the most primitive temptations, behaving no more human than an isolated chimpanzee in a cage.
Oh how fond I am of our profession.
Until next time,
To be continued next week.
Editor’s note: this serialization is from the novella Lockdown with the Devil.
Kennedy Hall is a contributing editor for OnePeterFive. He is the author Terror of Demons: Reclaiming Traditional Catholic Masculinity and Lockdown with the Devil, a novel about 2020 published by Our Lady of Victory Press. He is also a writer at Catholic Family News and LifeSiteNews. He is married with five children and lives in Ontario, Canada. You can find his work at kennedyhall.ca.