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Unchaining the Human Heart
— A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 4: Selling Your Soul

It’s an old story told many, many times. Hollywood (they should know!) loves it. The Devil and Daniel Webster. Bedazzled. Oh God, You Devil!

The Devil comes to some poor loser when he’s at the lowest point of his life — when everything’s gone to crap, when all seems lost, when hope has given way to despair — and makes him an offer he can’t refuse.

“I’ll give you everything you want,” says the Devil. “Just tell me and I’ll give it to you. And all I want is your useless, worthless, good-for-nothing soul.”

Somehow it just never seems to work out as advertised.

Guess what? It’s not just Hollywood that knows this story by heart. It’s also Washington D.C., Sacramento, New York City, and Juneau.

Every politician –every politician, even the ones with principles — has a little of Old Nick in him. Or — as Elizabeth Hurley in the 2000 remake of Bedazzled would point out — in her.

Just give us your useless, worthless, good for nothing freedom — you’ll never miss it! — and we’ll give you whatever you want. Anything you want.

You want a new shopping center for your run-down city? You got it! Oh, we might have to knock down a few houses and some mom-and-pop stores — not yours, nobody you know! — and that Hometown Buffet, thirty-screen multiplex, and Whole Foods Market is on its way. Not into consumerism? It can just as easily be a shiny new middle school, an endangered species habitat, a Gay and Lesbian Medical Marijuana Clinic, or a carbon-neutral performing arts center.

Let’s not forget the basics. Beef, peanut butter, and lettuce without E coli. Free health care — make sure to get that H1N1 shot! A minimum-wage job in a nice air-conditioned office and a four-day work week. A government guaranteed 30-year-fixed 4% mortgage so you can have that kitchen with the island and the swing set in the back yard for your kids. Don’t worry about your old age — we got your back … unless it needs surgery. And don’t worry — we promise not to tax you for any of this. I mean, you’ll never make enough to have to pay much income tax, and you shouldn’t be buying cigarettes, gas guzzlers, sugary soft drinks, fatty foods, or big-screen TVs, anyway.

And those silly dreams you had of making it in show business, or starting your own bookstore café, or dojo, or art gallery, or holistic health center, or living off food you raise on your own land. Have you looked at the statistics of how few people actually make a living as an actor, and how many small businesses go under in the first two years, or how the family farm is history? Grow up! You need to stay in school, and stay in college, and stay in graduate school — don’t worry, we’ll loan you the money at a reasonable interest rate — or you’ll never get a good job at General Motors — I mean Circuit City! — I mean TV Guide! — I mean MySpace! — I mean Walmart!

You know you’re making a deal with the Devil when at the end of the day you feel whipped, trapped, defeated, swindled, and just beat. And when all that’s left is getting off your feet and leaning back in the La-Z-Boy, snapping open a Bud and a box of Oreos, catching the scores, and wondering why you can’t see your dick when you pee anymore, you know it was a bad deal.

Don’t do it! Look that gift horse in the mouth — if the Trojans had, the Greeks wouldn’t have made it into Troy! If it seems like it’s too good to be true, it probably is! A sucker is born every minute. Be the genius who’s born on the half minute!

Above all, don’t let anyone tell you not to pursue your dreams. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again! Don’t break the Ten Commandments, but if you have to break the law to keep the tyrants off your back remember that Moses, Jesus, Jefferson, Thoreau, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr., broke the law, too!

Now let’s get back to looking at some more of those life-enhancing passions that the Devil doesn’t want you to have.

Next in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is Chapter V: Stomping Out Dancing

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.

My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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