By Wormwood, Ph. D.
(Intercepted by Jesse Jost)
The human brain is a disgustingly powerful little tool. But there are certain design flaws (others would call them “efficiencies”) that we demons can capitalize on to maximize human misery. I want to share some strategies I’ve honed over the centuries that take full advantage of the brain’s natural weaknesses.
These strategies work because humans place way too much trust in their powers of perception. When a human looks at the world, he believes that what he sees is the way things really are. When he remembers, he trusts that his vivid memories are accurate, and when he imagines the future, he assumes he is seeing clearly. Obviously we know that there is far too much going on in the world for any human mind to fully grasp it all, so the brain is selective in what it records and what it ignores. When the brain records what is going on around it, it chooses what sensory details to remember and what to leave out. If a person did not have this ability to tune things out, he would go crazy.
Most humans are aware of the fact that they miss certain details and they are okay with that, yet they are also confident that they have an accurate view of what is going on. But when they pull up their memories, there is a process going on they seem to be blissfully unaware of. You see, they think their memory is like a video recorder and that the memory files are stored just like they are recorded. But if everything was actually recorded that way, these files would be way too big for the brain to handle. In reality, the brain only selects a few key details and stores them in a compressed file. When the brain recalls a memory, it pulls up those details. However, in order to recreate the memory, the few details are not enough, and this is where it gets fun for us.
The brain then stealthily draws from present stimuli and makes stuff up to fill in the blanks! The memory feels complete and vivid and the human doesn’t even know the memory has been tampered with! The way a person feels in the present will greatly affect how and what memories are recalled.
Now not only will the present feelings change the memories, but new information can also actually cause the brain to rewrite the past so that it conforms with what it believes in the present. A man who goes through a painful divorce can begin to wonder if he ever was really in love with his wife. Their present discord makes it feel like it was always this way. A person hurt by a church and now sees it as judgmental will unknowingly alter the past so that she remembers the church always being that way, while the positives that drew her to the church will be lost in the memory rewrite.
Because of the brain’s limited perspective, details get missed or lost, yet the brain continues to act like it has the complete picture. However, the details that get missed can greatly alter the mind’s perception of the past and the future. Here are some ways to exploit these mental glitches.
The human poison of bitterness is extremely useful to us. When people obsess over how they have been wronged, they fail to see how much they have been blessed, and are kept in a state of misery. More importantly, their focus is yanked away from the hideous message of grace and forgiveness that would set them free. To create a state of bitterness in your victim, watch for an occasion where he is wronged or wounded by someone, and then while he is angry and in pain, gently help him recall the past. In this emotional state, the past that will be conjured up will be full of the other times he was offended and the good times will be strangely absent. By focusing on events that really happened and ignoring others, your victim will feel like he is recalling the past accurately and will never see what a twisted version he is believing.
In every human relationship, there will always be a mixture of one human harming and aggravating the other combined with a morbid dose of that same human blessing the other with acts of kindness. If your subject reviews his relationship with this person while he is happy or after he has received an act of generosity, his memory will gravitate to all the good times in the friendship. Blech! Try to minimize such horrible moments of reflection by distraction if at all possible! But when your subject is angry or humiliated, their memory will focus on all the times that louse of a person has done him wrong. It’s almost unfair how easy this is. These humans are so conditioned to focus on the negative.
To recap: the simple formula for bitterness is just to have them review the relationship while they are upset, and ignore the past when they are happy. One more example of how this works: Take a wayward child, and have him reflect on the relationship with his parents only when he is feeling hurt and angry. He will naturally remember all the times he was hurt or wronged by his parent. Keep only the select tapes playing and his past will grow darker and darker. On sunny days, when the teen is feeling upbeat, keep him distracted, and all the acts of kindness and service the parent regularly lavished on the child will become a distant memory. Your child will walk around feeling like he was raised by monsters, filled with a growing hatred for the way he was abused. I love it!! Some parents make this easier for us than others, but I have used this therapy so effectively that even selfless, sacrificial parents can be remembered as cold, uncaring control freaks!
As you should be figuring out right now, the fact that the brain can be manipulated to leave out details has all kinds of potential for us. A review of the past while your subject is feeling depressed will bring to mind all the trials and difficulties the person has had to endure. It will seem like their whole life has been one unending, rotten experience. Because all of these memories are of things that actually happened, this depressing picture of the past will seem very real. Of course, our Enemy is much too kind to these vermin, and lavishes countless undeserved gifts upon them amidst the hard times. But if they only look for the trials, that is all they will remember. They will complain about the hard times and never show an ounce of gratitude for the abundant gifts. Can you think of a more satisfying revenge for us?
As a side bonus, this ungrateful mindset can easily be directed into a crisis of faith. When a creature is doubting the goodness of God, he becomes easy prey. On the other hand, when they are captivated by his beauty and marveling at his goodness, they become immune to many of our schemes. Now if the human’s eyes were wide open and indiscriminately took in everything, there is no way we could hide the goodness of God. But thankfully, these humans can be very selective in what they notice. This makes our job relatively easy. Take the “problem of evil”, for instance. Even though the times of God’s protection and provision vastly exceed the number of tragedies, there are still enough tragedies to fill their imaginations. When all they see are the tragedies, it will seem like life is one dreadful misfortune after another. Seeing only the misery, it will be easy to make them doubt God’s goodness.
I have only scratched the surface of ways that the memory can be manipulated to our advantage, but the brain’s habit of unconsciously ignoring details can be utilized in other ways as well. I would now like to move to the subject of imagination. If these maggots get a faulty picture when they look back at a past they actually lived, just think about how twisted a vision of the future we can create!
If we can cause them to miss the details of God’s goodness to create ungratefulness, we can hide those same details from the picture of the future and create delicious terror. These humans rarely fully appreciate what they have, especially when it comes to their “loved” ones. But while they seldom cherish their family members in the present, they can often be led to worry about losing them. We can easily torment them by feeding their imaginations all kinds of savory and gory images about what it would be like to lose a family member. Have them focus only on what they would lose, and paint vivid, tormenting scenes of the ache they would experience. If all they imagine are the hard things (and they are hard, I am happy to report), the possibility of losing a love one will look like a torture no one could bear.
If only that were the case when they actually go through tragedy! Unfortunately, when they really do suffer loss, there are all kinds of comforting details and mercies from the Enemy that soften the blow, and make the experience far different from the hell they imagined it to be. Many humans who go through the thing they feared the most discover that while the experience is painful there are times of grace (oh, how I hate that word!) and worship (I can’t believe we were actually blind enough to do that!) that make the times of loss almost transcendent with a form of pleasure mingled with the pain.
Sadly, what has so much potential to cause these humans’ misery often leads to deeper joy and an awareness of the goodness of God. The trials actually work for their good when they come. This is why we must have them worry about the pain before it really arrives. When they worry about the future, they only feel the pain it will bring, but get none of the balancing comforts. And all the worrying will not make the tragedy any easier to bear when it does happen, but will only rob the present of happiness. Can you see why I am so passionate about the benefits of anxiety?!
If we can hide the details of the good and make them only see the bad in order to cause them to worry, we can reverse the process and make them focus on the good and hide the painful details in order to make them lust. This is a maneuver even the most incompetent of demons should be able to pull off, and believe me, that is saying something! Real life sexual immorality leads to painful consequences. Their wild escapades often leave them moaning “what was I thinking.” What they were thinking about was airbrushed, costless fantasy sex. Sex is disgustingly pleasurable. I hate even the thought of it, but because when it is misused, the painful consequences are so delicious, I just learn to hold my nose during the putrid pleasurable parts.
Sex is infused with so much tantalizing goodness, it is easy to fill their imaginations and get their engines revving. Of course, if they stopped to think about the guilt and shame of being found out, or the pain of betrayal it would cause their spouse, they might not be so easy to lead around. The key is to only let them think about the fantasy, the sensual images, and before you know it you will have the noose around their neck, and then you can strangle them with all the painful details at once. Nothing is more tasty for us than a human writhing in shame and guilt. Speaking of hiding details, I must warn you that there is a hideous detail that can free them, but I haven’t the stomach to repeat it here. You know what I am talking about. Do everything you can to hide THAT detail!
Our job can be quite fun at times, especially when we can take the things our Enemy meant for good and twist them to our advantage. These brain flaws are the perfect example of what I mean. I need to add that all of these processes of twisting their memories or distorting their imaginations are only really effective when the human is unaware of what is happening. When they begin to realize that their memories can fail them, or there is more going on than they had noticed, they begin to question and take the extra moment to see the details they might have missed. If this closer look reveals the details of God’s goodness and kindness, great damage is done to our cause. Remember, keep them unaware. Make them trust their memories and powers of perception. Don’t let them question their imagination. Once you have read this note, have it destroyed. It could be disastrous if it got into the wrong hands.
Brilliantly yours, Wormwood