We want. The more we have, the more we want. The less we have, the more we want. On good days, on bad, when glad, when sad, we want, we want, we want.
But through the history of humankind — and moreso in a world where we’ve become so obsessed with the idea of owning as many material possessions as possible — there has always been those with more and those with less, with those having less always wanting to be more like those with more, and rarely the other way around.
Greed is the main driver behind just about every way in our species’ history. It’s a driver for violent crime, the sole thing that separates wealth and poverty — it is a defining factor of the world around us today.
There are things that we may have once thought to be invaluable. The cost of human life. The love between you and your significant other. Honour. Respect. But we respond to things like these with slavery, messy divorces and selling each other out for physical rewards of little value in the long run.
There are two main things that can alter the relationship between two people: sex and money. While lust will be covered later this week, have you ever noticed how DRASTICALLY a conversation can change at the slightest mention of either? Not to mention what happens if something SUBSTANTIAL happens in either category — things are rarely the same ever again afterward.
The thirst for money, or “getting what you’re owed”, can destroy long-standing friendships, drive family members apart, and cause us to do things to one another that we’d never even consider otherwise.
Why do we deteriorate the very things that make us human? For more money? More luxury goods? Or perhaps intangible items — personal favours, a reputation or simply to keep up appearances?
The problem with greed is that through greed, someone ALWAYS gets hurt — and it’s not always the greedy person in question.
That’s the TRUE problem with greed — the victims that it leaves behind. The millions of Americans suffering due to larger entities such as Enron and those responsible for the sub-prime mortgage crisis. The vast loss of life due to the BP oil spill. The torturing and death at the hands of monarchs, dictators and tyrants. These are some of the more extreme examples of greed, but there’s ALWAYS a victim — keep this in mind. It’s the thing separating a healthy desire from a greedy one.
So, boys and girls, today’s homework is this — think about your wants and needs. I don’t know where you live, but in my city, there are way too many people below the poverty line
. Too many people in bad situations who could use a little help. Too many, who for one reason or another, are at their wits’ end, trying to find a way to make everything work out.
So I ask you to fight the greed with generosity. It doesn’t even need to be money — there’s so much more we can offer: time, love, empathy, skills, and maybe even some of the old things you have lying around that you don’t use anymore — it’s all fair game.
So the next time cream starts to rule everything around you, I want you to stop and think if your resources could be better used elsewhere. Because somebody out there might need it more than you!
–Casey E. Palmer