My Dear Hogwart,
I must add a short note to let you know how things have turned out with my ultra conservative Catholic patient. In my earlier days I would have been alarmed at the sight of him picking up a book with the title The Holy Spirit Heals Today. Such books are very dangerous. With all sorts of sneaky euphemisms like ‘healing’ or ‘the deliverance ministry’ the weasely authors actually discuss (and I hate to even whisper the word) ‘exorcism.’
Such things do not alarm me now. Instead of distracting my patient or telling him such a book was dangerous, I encouraged him to read it. Now Hogwart, this is the delight of a particular finesse that comes with a tempter of my skill and experience! I not only encouraged him to read the book, but I reminded him that a Catholic of his maturity, spiritual insight and knowledge was duty bound to read such a book, and to do so with all his critical faculties in place. I reminded him of the verse from their own banal and boring ‘Scriptures’ that he had a responsibility to ‘test all things’ to see whether they were of the Spirit.
It wasn’t long before he had written off the whole book as a load of sentimental, heterodox and dangerous nonsense. It doesn’t matter that the book was actually written by an adept and thoroughly ‘orthodox’ theologian. What matters is that my patient perceived it as such. You see, for a very long time now I have been constructing a nearly watertight, intricate and interlocking set of assumptions and prejudices in this particular patient.
I have encouraged his reading of spiritual books and his enthusiasm for all the outward signs of his religion. I have encouraged his tendency to pay attention to detail and his inclination to criticize those who are different from himself. This has led him to an exquisitely constant attitude of being critical and suspicious toward any aspect of religion that was unlike his own. By making sure that he believed he was right in all things and had nothing to learn I was soon able to guarantee that he would, indeed, learn nothing.
It worked like magic Hogwart! The patient took our point of view without the least bit of effort from me. All my hard work has paid off! I’m sure you will excuse my glee, but it really is enjoyable to see yourself doing something well. It is a justifiable delight to get things right, to know you’ve done it right and to realize that there really is no one quite like yourself in all the universe. One day Hogwart, you may ascend to such heights.
I wish you well,