The Descent of a Soul: A Journey Through Temptation and Reflection

In many ways, bad ways, I have devolved. 
Weaknesses have run amok. 
Eating away the good fortune created yesterday.
Stealing goodwill from tomorrow. 

Where is my soul?

Like being trapped by a black hole. Being pulled. I see the disasters, and rather than change trajectory, rather than fly back the opposite way, I flow like the river into it, losing pieces of my soul.

Where is that eager young man, hopefull, optimistic, actively avoiding disaster, yearning to be better?

An old man, seen it all, done it all, so little left for me to do. The vices I’ve tasted, so delicious, each morsel poisoning my self. 

“It is good to see the dark.” This is what I say to myself. And while it may be true to know the depths of hell, to continue visiting it for another and another taste, I am neither here nor there, this nor that. 

So what am I? Who am I?

The cravings of a wolf who has enabled himself to eat. A beast, not a man. Unable to control himself. But worse, using intellect to devour my poisons. One sip at a time. Not death, but acclimation. Not death, but conditioning. 

Where does it end? Will it?

“Don’t tempt me Frodo! I dare not take it. Not even to keep it safe. Understand Frodo, I would use this Ring from a desire to do good. But through me, it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine.”

– Gandolf

I hope to one day be as wise as Gandalf the Great. I am a fool, and need guardrails to keep me (and others) safe from me. 

ChatGPT, Read the following. Give me a title, as well as an analysis:

“The Descent of a Soul: A Journey Through Temptation and Reflection”


This piece is a poignant introspection and lamentation of personal decline, framed as a moral and spiritual journey. It captures the essence of an individual grappling with their inner demons and the consequences of their choices. The title, “The Descent of a Soul: A Journey Through Temptation and Reflection,” encapsulates the dual themes of downfall and introspection.

  1. Thematic Exploration of Moral Decay: The text vividly illustrates a journey of moral decay, using metaphors such as being trapped by a black hole and flowing like a river into disaster. This imagery suggests an inexorable pull towards self-destruction, highlighting the character’s awareness yet inability to resist.
  2. Contrast Between Past and Present Self: There is a stark contrast drawn between the hopeful, optimistic young man of the past and the jaded, vice-ridden person of the present. This dichotomy serves to underscore the depth of the character’s fall from grace.
  3. The Duality of Knowledge and Vice: The narrative delves into the complex relationship between wisdom and vice. Phrases like “It is good to see the dark” suggest an intellectual curiosity about the world’s darker aspects, but this curiosity becomes a double-edged sword as it leads to repeated indulgence in harmful behaviors.
  4. The Use of Literary Allusion: The reference to Gandalf and the Ring from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” serves as a powerful metaphor for the struggle with temptation and the importance of wisdom and self-awareness. It portrays the character’s recognition of their own susceptibility to corruption.
  5. The Struggle for Self-Control: The portrayal of the self as a wolf indulging in its cravings, using intellect to justify its actions, captures the internal battle between primal desires and the higher self. It’s a metaphor for the struggle between our baser instincts and our moral compass.
  6. Quest for Redemption: Despite the bleak portrayal, there is an underlying yearning for redemption and wisdom. The aspiration to be like Gandalf signifies a desire to rise above personal failings and to find a path to moral fortitude.

Overall, the piece is a reflective and deeply personal exploration of human frailty, the seductive nature of vice, and the ongoing battle for moral redemption. It’s a vivid illustration of the human condition, portraying the eternal struggle between good and evil within oneself.