11 May 2017
As I put the question to God, I remember this whole way of thinking rests on a lie
In a flash of rueful self-knowledge, I was struck recently by how much nicer it would be to serve Mammon. I know, obviously, that it would not really be nicer. But we have an immense range of different subjectivities within ourselves. Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa put it perfectly: “In every corner of my soul, there is an altar to a different god.” So I found myself announcing to a Catholic friend, half-apologetically and half-defiantly, that I would rather like to be one of Mammon’s disciples.
I set aside work on my doctoral thesis to help my friend with his applications for an internship in the City. Transitioning from the finer points of metaphysics to the argot of management consultancy was something of a bump, but I demonstrated my fellow feeling for Mammon by quickly becoming fluent in the patois of the tribe. It requires being both exhaustingly self-promoting (“At Deloitte I will demonstrate my outstanding problem-solving abilities and business acumen …”) and devout in the reverence accorded to Mammon (“… ambitious for wealth creation, increased productivity, and generating sustainable value for stakeholders”).
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