Outwit the Devil

So your walking down the street minding your own business, when the devil appears and he has an offer: Your soul for anything you want in return.

Now you know the old stories well enough to know how this ends. No matter what you wish for he’ll find a way to pervert your wish into something that will make you miserable. Wish for wealth, and he’ll make you a miserable old geezer who stabbed all his friends in the back to win. Wish for fame and he’ll make you a burnt-out rock star with failing health and no privacy. And so on.

All theological argument for never dealing with the devil aside, is there any one wish you could make that would withstand the devil’s devious imagination? This short essay proposes such a wish and seeks comments from others on how to improve upon it while making it as succinct as possible. In other words, how can we make the wish as “bullet-proof” as possible, contractually speaking?

The wish: I wish to be happy, heathly, satisfied and immortal.

Let’s address each point as terms of a contract.

Happy: If one is happy, then one need not specify specific material things that make one happy. For example, if wealth makes one happy, there should be plenty of wealth (or no desire for money).

Healthy: Being happy is not enough. Without one’s health one may be happy in some ways (for example, an ill grandparent watching grandchildren play), but health is an important part of cheating the devil at his game.

Satisfied: What is the point of being happy and healthy if the devil simply hides you in a deep dark cave under the earth? This part of the wish prevents one from ending up in circumstances in which one finds unfavorable. If roaming through libraries or museums, or climbing mountains gives one satisfaction, this clause allows one to continue those pursuits.

Immortal: Let’s not beat around the bush here. The devil is after our souls! It becomes more difficult (I say because some spellcasters might argue if I said impossible) for him to collect if one is immortal. The first three clauses should allow one to experience immortality in as great a comfort as possible.

Happiness, Heath, Satisfaction and Immortality provide some strong arguments for outwitting the devil. The question for we mere mortals is to find the contract’s weaknesses: How could he accept this proposal and still get what he wants?

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