What is a Faustian bargain?
The legend of Faust is a thought-provoking tale from the middle ages, which has a surprising connection to our world today. The story is both inspiring and tragic at the same time. In one famous version of the tale from Goethe, Faust is an idealist scholar that becomes disillusioned with his limits to knowledge. Bored and suicidal, Faust becomes the target of the devil Mephistopheles who says he can satisfy Faust’s desire for unlimited knowledge and also promises him youth, pleasures of the flesh, and magical powers—for a predetermined period. In exchange, after the allotted time, the devil will claim Faust’s soul and forever be enslaved. The story of Faust has become a metaphor for a promise or tradeoff that at first seems appealing, but with time is revealed to be a bad bargain.
I am drawing attention to some aspects of modern life, that on closer reflection seem like Faustian bargains. You might see many more around you.
Is life extension today, a Faustian bargain: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmed.2017.00215/full
Video ( 14 minutes) Scott Dewing: Our Faustian bargain with Technology : https://youtu.be/zZM2Gsnxtdk
Video ( 13 minutes) of Dr Anthony Grayling on AI and the Faustian bargain: https://youtu.be/ms9pfKOjoTw
For the curious, here are a few more interesting resources. And of course you may do your own research and find others. You are welcome to share any that you think are worth sharing.
1: Article from Encyclopedia Britannica : https://www.britannica.com/topic/Faustian-bargain
2: Wikipedia article : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faust