noun: a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed
Greed, also known as avarice, cupidity or covetousness, is, like lust and gluttony, a sin of excess. However, greed (as seen by the church) is applied to a very excessive or rapacious desire and pursuit of material possessions. Thomas Aquinas wrote, “Greed is a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, in as much as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things.” In Dante’s Purgatory, the penitents were bound and laid face down on the ground for having concentrated too much on earthly thoughts. Scavenging and hoarding of materials or objects, theft and robbery, especially by means of violence, trickery, or manipulation of authority are all actions that may be inspired by Greed. Such misdeeds can include simony, where one attempts to purchase or sell sacraments, including Holy Orders and, therefore, positions of authority in the Church hierarchy.
As defined outside of Christian writings, greed is an inordinate desire to acquire or possess more than one needs, especially with respect to material wealth.
I’m pretty sure every single one of us has, at one point in our lives, been greedy. It happens. Greed is a term we hear regularly, whether in reference to plutocrats, people living off of welfare instead of looking for a job, and others who just seem to have more than us. I think our society has developed the misconception that anyone who has more than us, or who has more than his “fair share” (which in itself is an idiotic idea – but more on that later) is automatically greedy. By default, those with excess have to be selfish and materialistic.
Well if you believe this I’m sorry, because you are quite likely a self-entitled jerk who obviously has never learned any better. Don’t get mad, I call it like it is, forget being politically correct (another idiotic idea, everyone gets their feelings hurt, get over it already so we can all move on with our lives).
Now, don’t get me wrong, greed is very bad. I am not condoning acting in a greedy manner. There are certainly people all over the world who are greedy, and bad people. However, I think the term “greedy” is thrown around too willy-nilly and makes it very difficult to distinguish who the bad guys really are.
The bad guys, the truly greedy people, are the ones who are willing to ignore their own moral compass in order to achieve greater material success. They are the ones who assign a higher value to things than to people. These people are toxic, evil, and should be avoided at all costs – you don’t want to get stepped on by them.
It’s extremely easy to see these people, so I’m not going to waste your time going over why they’re bad. Obviously they are, and if you are one of them I suggest you seek help immediately – because eventually you’ll be left with only things and nobody to share them with and that just sucks.
Instead of pointing out the obvious, I would like to point out how important it is that we distinguish the truly greedy people from the hardworking and lucky people. This is very important, unless you want to get caught committing the sin of envy (which we will discuss in a few weeks).
There are a bazillion and three reasons why someone has more money/clothing/property/things than someone else. The stereotype I most often see perpetuated today involves a wealthy person being greedy by virtue of his/her money. Having more does not automatically make someone greedy. If someone has worked hard, gotten lucky, and received material benefit without intentionally harming someone else (accidents happen, it’s just part of life), then they are NOT greedy.
Honestly, it is the person who has never attempted to make money or take calculated risks in order to end up lucky, but still expects to be provided for who is greedy.
Do you think I’m a crazy right-wing nutcase yet? Well, try to maintain that open mind you constantly talk about having and bear with me, there are a few things I think you need to know.
- Life is not fair. There are no rules that you have to follow simply because you’re alive. Any rules/laws that are in place were created by men. Fairness is not inherent to life. Some people are going to have more opportunities than others, and some people will have more money than others. It’s a fact and it will not change. If life were fair it would be boring because everyone would be exactly the same. Instead life is random, exhilarating, and inspiring. Embrace that, and stop complaining about things not being fair. Why not go out and do something to improve your lot in life instead of waiting around for life to be fair?
- Luck doesn’t just happen. Every person who has had good happen “by chance” took an action in order to receive the benefit, or was a product of an action taken by someone else. They bought the lottery ticket, their parents met and made a child, they found the right investors for their start up. Luck won’t just happen to you, you have to chase it and catch it.
- You technically aren’t entitled to anything. Now this applies to the United States. Ever since the founding of our country we have been ruled by elected officials. THERE IS NO NOBILITY OR RULING CLASS. There never has been. You therefore cannot be entitled to a certain way of life. It’s just not possible. There are no “titles” (such as king, queen, lord, etc.) in the U.S. because we are all believed to be created equal – in order to work to make ourselves into who we want to be. So you either get equality or you get entitlement…you can’t have both. My advice is to just do the work. If you don’t you can only blame yourself.
So that’s enough yammering on about today. In short: avoid truly greedy people, get help if you are in fact truly greedy, and quit using the term greed in the wrong manner.
Have any thoughts? Questions? Feel free to comment!