Greed as an American value

In America through societal conditioning, we grow up appreciating and valuing greed. Our financial system of capitalism is driven by it. Whether for better or worse, we place capitalism above other economic systems such as socialism and communism and say with pride, “We’re a capitalist society. It is our pioneer spirit! We work hard for our money. It’s ours!” The ego of Greed is alive and well in our old fashion American values. We take pride in the work we do while in the same breath we may only do it only for the money. How many people truly love their job? Love it, not for the money, but for the reward in their heart? As the years go on, there are fewer and fewer people who truly take pride in what they do. Instead, they often take pride in how much money they get for the job they do. The measure of success is not found in the title of the job, but in the dollar amount for the title. Most times, we decide which job to take based on salary and nothing else. For the right price, we’d do just about anything!

This whole subject of greed was brought to the forefront of my mind when watching Wall Street Money Never Sleeps. I found it intriguing, watching the hands of greed pass the virtual dollar back and forth in some sort of game. Everyone is betting on something to fail, or something else to be the next big thing. Men with deep pockets reaching deeper, never quite feeling fulfilled. As I watched I thought to myself, “Don’t they see that it’s all an illusion of the mind?” I know it’s just a movie, but the underlying point is very real, greed is growing. Economically, we freely take without any promise of giving anything in return. In terms of values, it’s about what we can take, not what we can give.

Video of Gordon Gekko, Wall Street, 1987: Greed is good.

You know, I find magicians fascinating. I particularly love David Blain. His illusions seem so real, especially when he claims to read someone’s mind. He sells the belief because he’s so convincing. He makes you want to believe him. In truth, I don’t know how he does it, but after all he is a magician. He doesn’t claim to be anything else, so you know it’s not real. He openly gives you the truth, even within the illusion.

We all know Greed. We know it’s there. We know it exists. Yet, Greed is a magician. The difference between it and someone like David Blain is that Greed doesn’t come out and say, “I’m going to play a trick on you, but remember its not real. I’m Greed, remember?” No, on the other hand, Greed seduces, entices and makes us forget what it really is. It leads us astray and has most of us working tirelessly with no real relief. We take with Greed; however, what we finally hold in our hands is nothing more than empty fulfillment. When Greed has us believing we have what we want, it’s on to its next trick: Greed puts on the mask of Envy.

With Envy, we want more, not because we are greedy. No, because eventually Greed knows we’d see through that trick. Instead, it’s only because Joe has the second generation Ipad and Carol has a newer car. And I want one too! We want, not because we need, but because they have what we want, or so we think! Like a magician with subtle cues that unknowingly take our eyes this way and that, Greed takes our mind toward what should be desired for Greed’s sake, and makes us believe that it’s for our own sake. We want because Envy showed us the way.

The problem with Greed is that it doesn’t make everyone rich, but it affects everyone equally. If you don’t need it, but you want it then chances are greed is involved with it in some way, shape, or form. It doesn’t matter what the “it” is. If it’s the latest smart phone or the 6 bedroom house of the newlywed couple – if you don’t need it, but want it – Greed is the magician making you believe you need more of it. Whether it’s your desire for it, the advertising firm selling it, or the CEO making obscene profits from consumer sales of it, greed is usually the motive behind all of it.

We tend to associate Greed with money. It’s been said that money is the root of all evil. However, that’s inaccurate. It is and has always been Greed. We wouldn’t have the concept of money without Greed. It is Greed that had us put a value on something beyond the value of its existence. Greed is the root of all evil.

Water is the earthly source of all life. It’s believed that land dwelling creatures evolved from sea life. Our molecular make up is mainly water. We can go longer without food than water. And it’s important to point out that water is what grows our crops. All life needs water. The value of water is life giving. This is and should be its only value. Yet, how is it that we can own water? Place a monetary value on it? Tell someone they can’t drink that water unless they pay for it? How can we deny someone a substance that exists in all of us? I tell you how. It’s because of Greed. We trick our minds into thinking that it’s okay to profit off of everything and anything that exists in this world. It’s all right to sell the earth, to sell animals, to sell our humanity if we can profit off of it.

Video of Gordon Gekko, Wall Street Money Never Sleeps, 2010: I said greed is good. Well, now it seems it’s legal.

Profit is God, and Greed is King. This is the illusion we embrace within modern day Capitalism. As it spreads so does the American values associated with it. Greed has always been within the mind of men, but injected with the economical principles of capitalism, it has a wider audience with a weakened conscience.

Here in American people are buying into this capitalist concept of the American dream in growing numbers. No, not the romantic version of the American Dream as spoken by Martin Luther King, or glorified in remembrance on Elis Island, but the modern day version of it. In this version, it’s about no hand outs and no help because “I” worked hard for my money and I didn’t get help. I fought for where I am today. And I don’t want to pay for them. I don’t want my tax dollars going to them. In this version the main character who is glorified is me, or I. And I am against them because they are taking from me. This is where Greed plays its biggest trick. It becomes me. And it becomes you.

In this illusion, when we get up in the morning to look in the mirror, we don’t see greediness, we see pride. Not pride in giving, but pride in what I have because what I have is deserved. I worked for it. It’s mine. Yet, it’s not mine and it’s not yours. The truth is you or I don’t own anything we accumulate. Deep inside, we know this reality and this truth makes us petrified of losing it all. We don’t see Greed because it’s deep in the mind, hidden behind this fear of perceived loss. We want, but even if we finally have, this little voice in our heads says, “BUT what if you lose it? You better get more just in case!” Do you realize the person with 20K in their bank account worries just the same as the person with 200K? We all worry about keeping what we have while figuring out how to gain more.

Greed doesn’t take a break. It is completely accurate to say that money never sleeps. It is alive and well and it’s all an illusion. Do you really think you have 40K in the bank? No, you don’t. It doesn’t exist. Sure you could withdraw some or all of it and then have the dollars in your hand, but there is also a chance you could some day try and withdraw it and not have anything in your hands. Think about this, if the banking system collapsed or the value of the dollar plummeted to zero, you’d have nothing. All you really have is a piece of paper with a statement on it saying you have x amount of dollars with a certain banking institution, that’s it.

The concept of money is an illusion. It’s placing a false value on something based on how much we believe it to be worth. This worth is based on greed, not on need. If it were based on need without greed, we would have balance. It is and will always be the value we, as human beings, place on greed that destroys our humanity. We are living in a world of fantasy. We are drunk on our wants and take for granted the things we need. These may sound like harsh words, but its time to wake up because what we need is real. We need food. We need shelter. We need life. We can live without money. And we can live without Greed.

Greed is the ego of the world. Its voice is heard in our mind. And just like we need water to survive, it needs us. We are its hands and from our hands we create the foundation of its existence. It speaks through the all mighty dollar and feasts on everything that is sacred. It is a parasite and all though it needs us, its need fueled by wanting more from us. As it grows the ego of the world gets bigger. The illusion grows stronger and we begin to act against our better interests. Where is the tipping point? When do we become Greed rather than just being influenced by Greed?

The truth is that Greed can’t sustain us. Capitalism will fail under its own weight. When the head of greed, holding its ego, gets too big for its body, it will fall. And when it does, we will crumble with it because we are the body of greed. We are its life, its vehicle of existence.

This world we have created through greed is not a world of truth. It’s based on lies. It’s based on false desires, false values, and false beliefs that somehow Greed can and will sustain us.

The only thing that can sustain us is Truth. The truth is found when we look in that mirror and see into our fears and acknowledge them for what they are: illusions and lies.

The Truth is we don’t need Greed. It needs us. The greatest illusion is the one greed created out of the human mind. It is from this illusion that our world was created. And it is from our minds that we can begin to see past the world we created and into the natural world created for us by God, or whatever name you give to that which is greater than us.

In the natural world created for us everything we needed was given. The Earth provides. It was created to promote life and it does its job sufficiently. It was through Greed we began to take more than we needed. And out of fear we believed we wouldn’t have enough. Let’s learn of our mistakes. Let’s give back. Let’s start giving back what we took by first giving to those who don’t have enough, then let’s only take what we need by acknowledging that what we receive is always given: giving is receiving. It is one action.

All that is required to turn this world we created back into the world we were given is to emulate nature! The natural world has a balance that we were always meant to be a part of, not separate from. We separated ourselves from nature only by illusion. We’re still subject to the natural laws of life. This is the deeper truth that Greed uses to make us fearful. It uses Truth against us. This fear is so strong that we are now afraid to look at Truth. However, the only true fear is of the unknown and its only unknown because we refuse to look at it.

If we want to survive here on this earth into the next millennia, we need to spiritually evolve into the better parts of our human nature, and make the conscious effort to leave behind the parts that only serve to destroy us.

Greed doesn’t serve us. It may serve you now. And it may serve me in making a quick buck, but it doesn’t serve my nephew and his son into the future. It kills our future. It kills our planet. It kills the dreams and hopes of all humanity.

Anything done in greed can be done in love. The difference is that in love doesn’t just serve me, it serves you too. And love serves the hopes and dreams of all man kind. In love, we all need and want a better future. In Greed we only serve to capitalize on the future. And there you have the difference.


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