Monday, February 9, 2015

Deal with the devil

Deal with the devil

We’ve all heard the story. A person sells their soul or makes a deal with the devil in exchange for anything they desire. It makes for a great storytelling trope like in The Picture of Dorian Grey or Pirates of the Caribbean but what about in real life? It’s hard to prove someone has a soul let alone the ability to sell it to anyone, but people like blues musician Robert Johnson (1911-1938) have been thought to. 

The myth grew from his song "Crossroads" which was made popular by Creme. It goes Johnson wanted to be a great blues musician, so much so he met the devil at a crossroads and sold his soul to become a blues master. Payment was for an early death at the age 27. Sounds crazy but in the context you can see why this has grown into a legend. Johnson is arguably the most influential blues musician and we know little about him. Sometimes he sounds like two people are playing. He got so good so quick people needed an explanation. 

Why is this a bad thing? Saying someone sold their soul to the devil is copout. Believing someone did means they’re ignoring the obvious, they worked hard! The reason Johnson got so good at guitar was he practiced. He listened to songs on a phonograph and practiced his butt off. Believing someone sold their soul also robs the individual of the potential to reach that ability. In the middle ages, ancient arch bridges, like ones made by the Romans, were considered so advanced they couldn’t have possibly been built by man and instead were made by the devil.  

Sometimes things in life are hard to believe and it’s easier to believe in superstitions than the truth. 

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