His working definition of honesty
in business, as in the rest of his life, was “I can do anything that I
want, as long as I have the desire and I am willing to pay the price.”
Herein lies the dilemma: at the top of the world, there is always a
huge price to pay. Yes, I could have had an opulent and luxurious
life and a princely sum of money for this quid pro quo—but I had
already seen what it had done to Ryan. What would be the real price
that I would have to pay?
We all have our greedy side, a side that makes us want to grasp
onto the wealth of the world—but at what price? In the jungle, a
hunter half-buries a long-necked bottle, its mouth pointing skyward.
The hunter then places candies into the bottle as bait and
waits. When a greedy monkey comes along, it reaches in and grasps
a fistful of candy but can’t extract its paw. Neither shaking with fear
nor screaming at the top of its lungs will unclench the monkey’s fist.
The hunter then sneaks up from behind, clubs the monkey on his
head, and with a knife skins him bare. What a price that monkey
has paid as the hunter first boils, then eats his flesh. Just like the
hunter and the monkey, Erika and Ryan would try to entice me.
But I was not about to let their enticements make a monkey out
of me.
Some, I am sure, would have taken their deals, be it the research
island or some other lucrative corporate contracts that would come
my way. But when negotiating with Ryan and Erika, I learned not
to make any more commitments. I had already made one, and it
was weighty enough. The Psi-control Switch was as heavy a promise
as I wanted to make in my life. “… then I will pay you whatever it
takes to get the project done—as long as there is a payout for me at
the end,” I had told Ryan when we had met for the second time at
La Champagne’s bar. I had seen with my own eyes the fates of those
unfortunates who failed. Once committed, there was no backing out.
Remember, Ryan’s organization has its rules and its own laws. These
are not the laws of your land, the nation-state in which you live.
Instead, they are the laws of their corporate command, regardless
of the country where you live. When I entered into a deal on
that fateful day in La Champagne’s bar regarding commitment to
the Psi-control Switch, the die was cast. When Ryan nodded his
head to seal the deal, that transcended any law in any land. It was
Ryan’s law, and no inked signature was required. Control under
Ryan’s corporate authority was usually subtle, not overtly forceful,
yet very effective. In the United States, maybe the control starts
out with a notice from the IRS stating that there seem to be some
irregularities in a past return. Next your supervisor at work just
happened to be reviewing your employment application from
years ago and now wants an explanation. Then your ex-wife suddenly
has a list of new demands. The mortgage company just called
leaving you a message stating they will be enacting a clause regarding
your house that you do not understand. Slow and tormenting,
the pressure to perform on your commitment is ratcheted up
until if there was to be the taking of a life, it most likely would come
by one’s own hand. These are the rules that you would play by, not
your rules—Ryan’s rules. And Erika, being cut from the same cloth
would be enforcing them. Now, knowing what would be at stake,
would you really want to reach in like that monkey and grab the
bait to satisfy your greed or your material insecurities?

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