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Making “Pact with the Devil” is much more common than we think. A Faustian pact is a cultural or folkloric incident, a shortcut to achieve something of interest, as cataloged by Aarne-Thompson (1928). These pacts can involve sophisticated rituals or simply choosing the shortcuts of corruption, fraud, lies, crime, or convenience.

While sacred books contain stories in which the Devil seduces certain characters, it is worth considering that Origen (185-254) and Augustine of Hippo (354-430) were the first to describe these types of agreements or pacts. According to the beliefs of these authors, any act of magic, whether black or white, was the result of a “condemnable” union between humans and demons.

Throughout history, there have been countless legends and allegorical figures of these pacts or agreements between humans and demonic entities, where one would literally “sell their soul to the Devil in exchange for…”

In Christian demonology, specifically during the era of the Inquisition, witches and covens, individuals performed invocations, spells, or rituals, using techniques of necromancy or nigromancy. Nowadays, pacts are simpler and more secretive, based solely on business: making money, staying unnoticed, no complaints, no criticism…

The history of humanity is full of rumors of pacts with the Devil, particularly among famous artists: Niccolò Paganini, Giuseppe Tartini, Philippe Musard, Tommy Johnson, Robert Johnson, Johann Georg Faust, John Fian, Christoph Haizmann, Bernard Fokke, Jonathan Moulton, Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, Jimi Hendrix, John Fogerty, Bob Dylan. Envy, success, and the twisted and ignorant interpretation of lyrics or compositions are at the root of these sagas and rumors.

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But businessmen who make pacts with presidents, dictators, and authoritarian regimes don’t rely on rumors, but on concrete facts, evidence-based works, and agreements for commercial survival. Here, ethics, democratic principles, and social responsibility values are non-existent; only selfish interests and money prevail.

Let’s return to urban legends and ask ourselves: are there honest businessmen who have built their fortunes through effort, work, and discipline, or have they always needed the help and protection of governments to evade or minimize taxes, eliminate or reduce competition, facilitate smuggling, obtain state contracts with insider information? How many are on each side?

There are so many examples of corrupt fortunes that, if we were to investigate the evolution and development of many corporations, we would realize they always touch the edges of governments in power. Politicians and rulers seem to be necessary evils, and cronyism and clientelism are basic phenomena of corruption: obtaining insider information for a bid, favoring friends to complicate the competition, new companies with frontmen winning contracts, withholding and hiding information, countless tricks. Yes, these are also “Pacts with the Devil.”

However, these pacts usually end badly for one reason or another: erosion, greed, lack of ethics, little trust, fears, betrayal. Everything eventually comes to light, and the omnipotent fall, like Hitler, Gaddafi, Idi Amin, Pinochet, Lukashenko, Franco, Mussolini, Papadopoulos, Hernandez Martinez, Pol Pot, Bordaberry, Ceausescu, Diaz, Noriega… And those who haven’t fallen yet will inevitably fall, for power is pathological.

So, making “Pacts with the Devil” is a metaphor for creating a relationship of convenience, where both parties plan to win. However, in these types of agreements, since there is no ethics, the relationship always breaks, and the truth eventually comes out.

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Who is the Devil in the pact? Well, it depends. Generally, it is the evilest, manipulative one who possesses power, control, and blackmails. But those who accept or offer the deal can also be the Devil. Ultimately, between wicked individuals, the difference is minuscule. Mephistopheles, beyond being a simple representation of evil, is a symbol through which the possibility of evil being carried out by humans materializes.

J. Correa and C. Rodríguez point out: “Demonized from various ideological shores, the State, through one or two of its attributes of stateness, openly, covertly, or even implicitly, calls upon multiple individuals and collectives to participate in its actions when they are not the ones who consider themselves duty-bound, capable, or entitled to contribute to the strengthening of ideas that potentially foster the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of public policies” (2019). They become accomplices…

“I have earnestly addressed my mind to this question, and would like to make plain that I do not want to be led into negotiations with that man.” This is a quote from British Prime Minister Winston Churchill regarding whether or not to negotiate with Adolf Hitler. In the end, he decided that Britain would take the risk and fight to the bitter end… (Bargaining with the Devil: Robert Mnookin). One must always consider possible harms, interests, alternatives, and the Devil’s demands.

We are all capable of making wicked pacts; all it takes is dealing with the wrong person at the wrong time, prioritizing our selfishness or needs. The only life insurance policy that matters is ethics…

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Disclaimer: We are responsible for what we write, not how readers might interpret it. Through this material, we do not support gangs, criminals, politicians, terrorist groups, jihadists, political parties, sects, or football teams… The ideas expressed in this material are of an academic or journalistic nature and do not belong to any opposition movement.

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