Click Map for Details

Flag Counter

Sunday, July 29, 2012

One Minute Integrity Test

Faust is the protagonist of a classic German legend; a highly successful scholar, but also dissatisfied with his life, and so makes a deal with the devil, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. Faust's tale is the basis for many literary, artistic, cinematic, and musical works.

The meaning of the word and name has been reinterpreted through the ages. Faust, and the adjective faustian, are often used to describe an arrangement in which an ambitious person surrenders moral integrity in order to achieve power and success: the proverbial “deal with the devil”.

For a One Minute Integrity Test I would propose that you think of your closest, dearest friend. Now think of your most cherished personal ambition. Now imagine the devil has made a proposal to you: you can have your most cherished ambition fulfilled within this very year. All that's required is that you betray your dearest friend. This betrayal could take many forms, but in essence it would mean that you must promote yourself as innately superior and highly more worthy than your friend – attaining your own selfish interests at their expense. In short, to fulfill your ambition, you must forget all about your friendship and betray the mutual bonds of kindness it represents.

Essentially, here's what's being asked. You are to forsake all conscience based on the Golden Rule and in its place erect an idol to rapacious selfishness – sometimes politely known as self-interest. Conscience thereby is effectively vitiated and exists only as hollow terminology.

Whenever and wherever this deal is accepted (whether by a person or a nation), the core of individual or national integrity is lost that makes tenable peace and long-term survival. As in the Faust legend, once such a deal is struck the clock advances inexorably, sometimes spasmodically, towards doomsday.

Print Page