How to use financial ruin effectively

My Dear Dissonance,

It is never acceptable to shirk your duties, no matter the circumstances. You were supposed to send me a report of your work with your patient, citing specific examples of tactics that succeeded and failed.

Instead, you sent me an outpouring of emotional psychobabble about your patient’s financial ruin. It was so nonsensical I could swear you were writing from the bar where your patient was drinking. I can tell from your writing that you feel the joy of one reaping the reward of a long and difficult effort. However, from my perspective, you enjoy a false sense of security.

Your patient’s insomnia, constant worrying and obsessive checking of her portfolio has nothing to do with your work. Of course, her state of mind gives you many opportunities. But financial downturns, just like wars and natural disasters, do not by definition work in our favor.

Of course, disaster of any sort is highly satisfying. Watching pure suffering is like gorging on expensive champagne and billing someone else for the millions of our tempters who are forced to revel in petty shortcomings each day. But despair does nothing for us unless it is hardened into hatred and permanent despondence. That is why we must not take the lazy and fatalistic approach to the stagnation engulfing the world economy. Now is the time to get down to serious work undermining the faith of those faced with losing their homes, living with broke adult children or seeing their retirement savings evaporate. From experience we know many Christians have almost always associated their faith with financial security. Very few will be strong enough to maintain it in the face of poverty.

Turning them requires a principled, calculated, and consistent application of Our Father’s tactics. For example, have you created nightmarish pictures of your patient living in a one bedroom apartment by herself in her mid forties? What about pictures of her shopping at Walmart? You know she wants to buy a house and spends thousands on clothes each year. Have you made her covet certain handbags and shoes uncontrollably? Sign her up for more high-end catalogs to fuel her envy. Nothing is better than instilling a passion for what she can’t afford to avert her from focusing on the present.

As mentioned earlier, it is not a given that your patient will turn against Him. Financial ruin for some people makes them reevaluate what they needed to begin with and focus on those worse off than themselves. In some cases it turns them to politics, a better route from our perspective, because causes have a way of becoming all consuming for those caught up in them. But even when the causes are not necessarily beneficial to Him, the leaders end up inspiring others to self-sacrifice, the worst possible outcome from our perspective.

It is much better when our patients have no cause for self reflection. We want them to be in a permanent state of pushing off important things to discuss and to prepare for. The less they think about death, for example, the less likely they will to be to consider what happens to them after death, and more importantly, use their time to its fullest. Thankfully there are very few great visionaries among the humans who inspire the masses to confront their mortality. Even when they are not believers in Him, they are very dangerous. Take Steve Jobs, for example, who invented all those electronic devices distracting our patients from their daily lives. We can thank him for that, but he once told a group of college graduates from a very prestigious school that, “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.” That is horrifying, considering one of our chief tasks is to prevent our patients from even realizing they have any potential. He had the temerity to launch two successful companies after being fired from one he helped to start. Can you imagine if everyone in the world thought like and acted like him? It would be chaos! If even a third of the people he spoke to that day took his words to heart we would be in serious trouble.

That is why I find financial loss – and disasters in general – less auspicious than many other tempters. Besides, those who believe in Him understand that suffering is part of the process of Redemption. The repulsive Jesus story is the ultimate example of this ethos. Those who can be swayed to our path easily are really not worth the time and effort to drag down with us. While you may find one of the strong ones in moments of panic or depression as a result of financial loss, if he or she calls on the Enemy for help, we usually lose.

Your affectionate aunt,

Pandemonium

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