Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Selling a soul
Selling one's soul to the devil is such a cliché. Just the other day I saw the idea used in a comic strip. It's part of the culture. We think of a horned demon tempting some mortal with the riches of the world.
In the real world people sell their souls all the time. They don't sell it to a red monster with cloven feet, but sell it they do. Every time a scientist accepts money to “bend” the facts, a bit of his soul is bought and paid for. Anyone selling their professional opinion is selling their integrity and bits of their soul. When bureaucrats leave regulatory agencies to work for the companies they were supposed to regulate, they make a deal with the devil.
The devil doesn't appear with the stench of brimstone. Sometimes he appears as an old classmate. Some years back I was approached by an acquaintance from high school. He offered me a well paying job as a financial advisor. I told him I didn't know anything about the financial instruments he was pushing. No problem, he said, I didn't need to know. That wasn't important. What he wanted was my reputation. It was a lot of money and the family could have used it. All I would have to do is sell a bit of soul to convince people to buy something they didn't need. I walked away.
Sociopaths do really well in business, having no soul to sell.
Sell a soul is pretty easy if it's a shriveled up thing that never got any care or nourishment.