I am making an assumption that you, my reader, is familiar with the Faust story, but in the case that you are not, Faust sells himself (his soul) to the devil in exchange for all his desires being filled here on earth for a span of years.
Now not to be a ‘spoiler’ but in the end, in Goethe’s version, Faust is ‘redeemed’ and ends up in heaven, but in an earlier version, written by Christopher Marllowe, Dr. Faustus goes to hell.
As I was reading a commentary on Goethe, and enjoying some of his other poetry, it occurred to me that we seem to think we are giving up something to ‘be good’ and to sacrifice for others, and to not fall prey to our yearnings and lusts, but to follow the leadings of God. To not yearn for earthly pleasures but to look forward to the World to come. Do we think we are somehow depriving ourselves of something here on earth that might not be as good as Heaven.
Do any of us have the idea that good memories of pleasure will ‘tide us over’ future suffering and torment? Perhaps temporarily, but why give up heaven for the fleeting passion and pleasures of the moment here on earth?
Do we somehow forget that we really cannot take these "things" with us?
What are we, right here and now, selling our own souls for?