No kingdom made of human hands can stand
Too bad about MacBeth
In order to possess that corruptible crown
Gotta make a deal with Mr Death - Bob Dylan
Faust was a doctor, and it was for knowledge that he signed his contract with the Devil. According to Goethe, modern science - Carl Sagan's "candle in the dark" of a demon-haunted world - is ignorantly under the patronage of the demon Mephistopheles.
Rupert Sheldrake brushes against Faust and our own lousy bargains in his trialogue with Terence McKenna and Ralph Abraham entitled Chaos, Creativity and Cosmic Consciousness:
How seriously do we need to take the idea that our whole society and civilization is under the possession of such a spirit.... How much are fallen angels actually guiding and perverting the progress of science and technology? Is a great war between the good and evil angels being acted out on Earth? We hardly know how to think or talk about such possibilities since they are so alien to the official, standard models of Western history.
Like Faust, the original sin of intelligence agencies is the appetite for unbound knowledge. The death-dealing, the drugs and guns, the fellowship of gangsters and terrorists all follow upon this seemingly benign desire.
The CIA damned itself at its birth by sheltering and shepherding the devils of Nazi Germany into the United States, and casting them as seeds across the western world. And it was all for knowledge. For knowledge of camp experiments, of anti-Soviet espionage, of rocket science. Like a medieval magician invoking demons to do his bidding while binding them in the name of God, Allen Dulles recruited Nazis into the service of America. But America is a changeable god, and Dulles and his Nazis helped change it.
Yesterday it was revealed the CIA knew the whereabouts of Adolf Eichmann, but withheld the information because it might have led to exposing the Nazi pedigree of the anti-communist intelligence efforts in West Germany. It would seem that Intelligence, and the protection of even relatively trivial knowledge, can be reason enough to overlook holocausts.
We too, rightly, want to know. But if that's all we want we'll slip into error ourselves, amassing data which won't change a thing but will leave us alternately thrilled and depressed. Knowledge must be the servant of justice, or we're just more clients for the devil.