Here Thar Be Monsters!

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You're Gonna Have To Serve Somebody

In order to sit atop the food chain, you must become a predator.  There are no two ways about it.  It doesn't matter the industry or discipline, if you want to reach the highest echelons of power and fame, then the price is nothing less than all you have.

And there is no greater price than integrity.  Once you have sold that, then you have nothing left to call you own.  If you have talent (can make the bosses rich), but are unwilling to sell your integrity, then you will be allowed 'success', meaning that you can feed your family and maybe buy a house and/or a car, but that is the limit of your rise.

One of the reasons I went into media was that I could work in any industry.  I could go anywhere, do anything and experience all that the world had to offer, because I had a skill that was necessary to every market...the ability to craft high-quality communications.  As a consequence, I have delved deep into the petroleum industry, the medical industry, the financial industry, the religion industry, and the entertainment industry.

I have put my hands deep inside a human body.  I have climbed to the bottom of oil tankers and played with ROVs.  I have sat in board rooms on Manhattan's lower east side with views of Hudson Bay.  I have worked side-by-side with household names.  In every case, the price is the same.

It always starts the same way.  You are given tastes of the top.  There are limo rides from JFK to the Meridien at the base of the Twin Towers.  There are private jets.  There are dinners for ten where the wine bill alone is $5,000, and there's more silverware at each place-setting than the average family owns altogether.

And then there's the parties.  Hot and cold running bimbos.  Horizonless pools overlooking LA.  Snack trays and punch bowls full of prescription and non-prescription drugs.  Orgy scenes that make anything in the film Caligula seem overly modest and sedate.  And should you require a brief respite, there's the Montana mountain home with a 12-person jacuzzi, maids and butlers, and beds pre-heated by the 'skin pillow' of your choice.

This sets the hook.  You get addicted to the lifestyle, not to mention anything else.  You don't move in the same world that 'normal' people do.  You don't stand in lines or fight for scraps.  You make the scraps.

But at some point, the Moment of Truth comes.  You are presented with the keys to the next level.  You have seen what is waiting.  You are ready to throw integrity to the wind to put your name on that mountain house or have the pilot's number on your speed dial.  You are hungry to make Maxim' in Paris your personal breakfast stop, where the Eggs Benedict is your Egg McMuffin at $53 a pop.

So as you stare at the bottom line and all the legalese blurs behind your daydream of fame and wealth, and you take pen in hand and start to initial the bottom corner of each page, somewhere in the back of your mind, a small, almost vanishing voice says, "But at what price this?"

At some level, you are aware of the photos and videos of the orgies and nights in the jacuzzi.  Somewhere there are photos of you playing strip pool with hookers and straws up your nose.  You know, even without verbalizing it, that the road back from this point will mean wading through your sins.  This time, though, it will involve all the wrong people seeing and judging those sins, even though everyone standing in judgement of you secretly wishes they had been there too.  And maybe that's why it gets so surreal.

What few people ever realize, though, are the connections between the severe emotional tragedies in your life and the contract sitting in front of you.  Whether the tragedies were created, or simply taken advantage of, they are used to control you.  They are milked for every drop of emotional anguish that can be inflicted on you.  At some point, most people will surrender thinking they have nothing else to lose.  They will develop personas that hide the vulnerable True Self from further harm and take over the public face of the individual.

The potent combination of desire and fear combine on the bottom line of that 50-page contract sitting in front of you.  You think to yourself, "If I sign this, not only will I have the good life, but the power to slay my personal dragons."

Ah, and the revenge.  Yes, the revenge lies at the bottom of everything.  With power and money, you can get back at all those who hurt you, who made you feel inadequate, ineffective and unconsequential.

With these powerful motivations, you hurriedly march through the contract to the last page, and there, shining like a beacon in the darkness, is a single line with your name neatly typed under it.  Just one more quick scribble and your bank account will swell, your power will increase, you will have it all at your fingertips.

Within seconds of signing, you realize you've lost it all.  You feel the profound loss of having traded your soul for paper.  Suddenly, all the people who were just fawning all over you begin to act as if you aren't there.  They have what they came for: your pound of flesh.  You know instinctively that the way back is far more treacherous than anything you braved to get here.

The vision of fame that you had moments before turns to sharks ripping the flesh off your bones.  You are now fodder for the masses and any sense of privacy and individuality have fled the scene.  You are left with only two choices: wield the sword you picked up, or fall on it.  In either case, someone must die for your choice.

It dawns on you that the reason people who have it all never look happy is because of what they lost to gain what they have.  For what does it profit a man that he should gain the world but lose his soul?  Everyone wants it until they have it.

Show me anyone who is rich and famous, and I will show you an empty vessel.