Beguiled

by Hugh Mungus

Today we may have more information than any other generation, but what good are answers, if we never begin to ask the right questions?

- The Questions We Never Ask

"They can't be that stupid. They'll never go for it!"

"They're not stupid at all. In fact, they're quite intelligent - far more than we lead them to believe."

"Then how do we pull this off?"

"Brainwashing."

A pause. "That's it?"

"As simple as it gets."

"It just- Well, it just can't be that easy."

"Of course it is. In their nascent state, they're simply neutral, and programmable; blobs of clay, ready to be molded into whatever we desire."

"They don't know they're neither inherently good nor evil?"

"No. We brainwash them to believe it's simply their nature to kill one another - destroy their own, and everything around them; fill them with false guilt and fallacious sin. We lie to them they'd decimate their own species, if it weren't for us."

"They actually believe that?"

"Believe it?! They cling to it. They end up begging us to 'save' them, even though we're the ones exterminating them."

"Wouldn't they see through this?"

"We don't call it begging; we refer to it as 'voting,' and lie to them it's for their benefit."

"How does that work?"

"We pretend they're given a choice. In reality, they're only provided a couple options, and those are dupes anyway. Whichever they choose, both carry out the bidding of the same master: Us."

"Very clever."

"There's nothing clever about it; it's just cruel."

"But how do we ensure they keep voting?"

"Again, brainwashing. We deluge them with 12 years of it, and refer to it as school."

" 'School'?"

"Yes, and we inform them such is necessary.

In addition, we flood their waking moments - outside of school - with this same indoctrination."

"What does the brainwashing consist of?"

"Simple divide and conquer. We tell them there are invisible lines on the planet, and then pretend they're real."

"They believe in them?"

"Without question."

"How?"

"We lie that those on the other side of these lines are their enemies. They're led to believe everyone inside their territory - encompassed by the fake lines - are their friends; everyone outside, their foes."

"Is it easy to carry this plan to fruition?"

"Quite. Those on the other side of the non-existent lines tend to have a divergent skin tone, and speak another language. Hence, we portray them as different...even though they're not."

"So, the turmoil only exists within the minds of the populace?

"Yes. And it isn't enough to solely divide using the fabricated borders. Those within these imaginary territories must fight against each other, as well."

"And how do you get them to do that?"

"We inform them there aren't enough resources on Earth, and they'll naturally kill each other to hoard what they need."

"So, there's no shortage?"

"Of course not. There's an overabundance of resources on their planet - so much so, they could feed, clothe and house every one of their kind several times over."

"How can you conceal something so obvious?"

"We place screens in front of their faces that lie to them constantly, and supplement the indoctrination already begun by schools. The brainwashing is overwhelming; they can't escape it."

" 'Screens'?"

"We've named them televisions; TVs for short."

"So, they're forced to view these 'TVs'?"

"No. That would be too overtly coercive, and run the risk of exposing us. Suffice it to say the televisions are highly addictive. Humans end up craving them to the extent of a drug; feeling incomplete without them."

"But if viewing these TVs isn't compulsory, won't these humans - as you call them - stop watching them, once they realize what's being done?"

"Some will."

"So, how do you mitigate that dilemma?"

"We ridicule those who have seen through the lies in front of those who are already addicted. As a result, the ignorant ostracize their own kind - who are simply revealing us; disclosing reality."

"Again, this sounds brilliant."

"And again, it's nothing more than cruelty. Wait until I enlighten you about money."

" 'M- money'? Am I pronouncing that correctly?"

"Yes."

"What is that?"

"Useless swatches of fabric we brainwash them into murdering themselves, in order to obtain."

"Suicide?!"

"Self-imposed genocide, and most of them never even realize it."

"But how-?"

"Again, divide and conquer, a strict diet of indoctrination, and the promotion of erroneous scarcity. There's no need to attack them with conventional weapons. That would expose us. Via this modality, they enslave and slaughter themselves for us.

A pause. "And you're certain this will work?"

"Of course...We've done this before."

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