Hollywood seems to be rife with such biographies- a young person from a small town or city (maybe even a countryside farm), whose dreams simply can’t be contained by the place they grew up in. So they go to college or get a job in this big city, where they have a slave-driving boss whom they manage to please, much to the chagrin and amazement of co-workers. Sometimes they have sexual alliances with people they cannot really love. They work insane hours, and live by the textbook of schmoozing, networking, and being the life of every party. Then at some point they go on this big ego-trip and everything comes tumbling down thereafter. Sometimes, they do manage to redeem themselves. Other times, especially if it is a great movie, they end up in an un-survivable mess. Usually the protagonist has been warned before. Most often by a ‘wise ol’ guy’ archetype, who may or may not have had significant face time in the film. But, the Faustian ideals were embraced nonetheless.
Sometimes, I can look at such lives from the outside and admire the seemingly inhuman strength it takes these people. It isn’t easy to live with falling hair, dark circles, personal relationships falling apart, fake friends, 18 hour-workdays, and the negative energies that everybody is hurling your way. It is bound to be a dark, isolated life. In real life, I have seen people ‘partially’ embrace them. They prefer to keep distance from some aspects, but give in to some of the other seemingly non-poisonous carrots. Then I realize that it takes more strength to not rationalize such actions, and maintain one’s integrity. This involves recognizing temptations. Realizing you are only human, and that you do have a dark side. It gives you a sense of objectivity that is often identified with wisdom. You are a wiser person when you know that you are capable of doing the very things that disgust you. You are a stronger person when you deliberately stay away, even so.