In The Screwtape Letters (1942), C.S. Lewis presents letters from a Senior Demon, Screwtape, to his nephew Wormwood, the Junior Tempter seeking to secure the damnation of a British man they refer to as “the patient.” This satire begins with Screwtape mentoring Wormwood to lean on sensational jargon, not argument, to keep the patient from attending to universal issues and fixed in the unreal. “Your business, ” he says in his letter, “is to fix his attention on the stream of immediate sense experiences…..[and]…..to teach him to call it ‘real life’ and don’t let him ask what he means by ‘real.’ He goes on say, “They find it all but impossible to believe in the unfamiliar while the familiar is before their eyes. Keep pressing home on him the ordinariness of things,” discouraging thought about realities that cannot be touched or seen and giving him a “general idea that he knows it all and that everything he happens to have picked up in casual talk and reading is ‘the results of modern investigation.'”
Today we are constantly bombarded with sensational jargon through social media. For the most part, we are unconsciously experiencing information overload with minimal to no awareness of how this primes our minds to lose balance, be manipulated, exercise poor judgment, break down, etc. As we seek “more, more, more” we become “less, less, less” of ourselves and further away from our Selves.