Letter VIII

Dear Slugmulch,

The New Year has the potential to be destructive to our cause, so I implore you to read the following letter carefully. I know the holiday season has been a busy time for you, but do not let up. There is much more for you to do ahead. With a new year comes new beginnings, and with new beginnings comes hope. We must eliminate hope at its source and prevent it from growing while we still can. The enemy thrives on the hope of humanity, so we must do our best to quench the optimism that humans experience at the start of a new year.

Your patient will use the New Year as an excuse to start over and start fresh. There is a chance he will attempt to leave all the work that you have done in the past year behind him, but you must not let him succeed in doing so. Do not let all that you have worked for be destroyed by the hope of something new. Rather, destroy any attempt of your patient that may involve "self-improvement." Keep his habits the same as they were last year. Minimize, or even better, eliminate any growth that he will try to experience, and do everything within your power to maintain the status quo. The desire for change is a characteristic of something that is alive. Prevent your patient from changing, and he is as good as dead in your hands.

You should be aware that the enemy is the creator of new starts. He claims that he gives the humans a new start every morning, and your patient may be one of those who have fallen for this foolish notion. You must work to drag all the pain and regret from last year into this new year. With every year comes the opportunity for your patient to leave behind all of the baggage that you have heaped onto his back. Don't let him forget what you have done in his life. Keep the pain and regret from last year close to his mind, and it will be much easier for you to convince him to quit trying to prevent the same pain and regret from recurring this year.

These next few days and weeks will be crucial to setting the groundwork for the rest of the year. New starts can be a great thing if we make them miserable. You could even allow your patient to set ambitious goals and encourage him to think he is capable of anything. The higher they get their hopes, the further we are able to make them fall. Sometimes, the best way to set humans up for failure is to let them believe that they are capable of great success.

However, you must take care to only let your patient believe that he is capable of great success. Do not let him actually achieve any of the things he desires to do. As long as you keep him in the planning and desiring stage, you are free from harm. I wrote earlier that hope can be detrimental to our cause, but it is also true that empty and unfulfilled hope is beneficial to our cause. Let your patient dream that he can run triathlons, climb mountains, and change the world if you wish. Once none of these desires actually come true, your patient will slowly grow numb to the idea of hope, and that is our ultimate goal.

Disappointment is the antidote to hope, and cynicism is the fruit of overdrawn optimism. If you do your work well and destroy your patient's perception of hope for the future, you can translate this new perception into his relationship to the enemy. While the enemy has not failed your patient yet, that does not mean he won't in the future. Potential false hope is a seed worth planting.

Your incongruously,

Wormwood