Greed is substance of things wanted for, the evidence of things unattained. Like faith, it can give someone a clear goal for one’s life. With this in mind, we can find key similarities between materialism and its polar opposite. If FAITH is painted as an eternally beneficial quality to possess, then greed must be THAT much more evil. Right?

“WRONG! “ –Lex Luthor

I believe there was a He said to have faith “the size of a mustard seed” and not “the size of a pink elephant.” Too much faith leaves one gullible, but too little can render you unreceptive. If faith can be determined not to be inherently good, then I believe the same must also be true for greed. Greed is not inherently good or evil. It’s all in HOW and WHY it’s utilized.

Like all emotions, greed, avarice, the desire for more, and maybe even POSSESSIVENESS can all be conditioned to work for the benefit of mankind at large. I think this attitude can be exemplified in the Michael Jackson song: “We are the World.” In it, it was stated, “there’s no choice we’re making. We’re saving our own lives.” At that point, it had become an emotional response tied into shared sense of self with the human race. To benefit “the other” is inextricably tied to myself. For example, I need to remind myself more often that everyone else is merely an alternate version of myself. When this idea is internalized, previous actions that wouldn’t be thought TWICE about are now revealed as uncompassionate. In this case, all feelings of greed would automatically tailor to accommodate a holistic sense of self within the rest of humanity as an extension of self. One could say this becomes “sharing your greed” or “growing along with public consciences.”

Keep in mind all the “evil” or harm greed has caused, when it’s not extended to all. When something IS extended to all, the association to “greed” along with any negative connotation fails to register in the mind of an onlooker, but the emotional reaction may very well be the same as one from a traditionally greedy person. The thought of “old moneys” to pass on what they have to their children does not register as self-sacrifice. Ancient Egyptians had one of the most potent forms of materialism I’ve ever seen. It involves taking your riches to the grave for use in the afterlife.

Is greed still “greed” when it’s extended to all?  When we’re referring to a specific emotional response? Yes. When we put a value placement on it that requires it to be COMPLETELY self-serving. No. (Name ONE action that is exclusively self-serving without the potential for mutual benefit.) When we narrow down something to action done with the sole intent for the intent of exclusive gain, then yes, it is bad. However, that entails a mental frame of reference to accommodate that viewpoint, plus a specific action perceived as appropriate for the situation by the person in question. There is much more at work in this situation besides the feeling of intense want.

I believe that value placement can only be appropriately placed on the contextual thought process and the action derived instead of the emotional response itself. When the emotions themselves become a matter of value judgment, it creates unnecessary emotional layers that make the process of “dealing with it” much more difficult.  I once reacted with a heavy heart to an image of an infant Adolf Hitler. I wanted to cry upon seeing it. I could identify the different layers of feelings and value judgments after a few minutes. I was initially struck with adoration. Because it was HITLER we’re talking about, that reaction was regarded with fear and hostility. Then I held ashamed of feeling any adoration for “friggin’” Adolf Hitler! A feeling of guilt belied the shame for holding such a uncompassionate assessment for ANY human being that they’re not WORTHY of feeling any positive emotion toward. I firmly hold to the belief that “there are no such things as monsters.” I mean referring to fellow human beings, also in regard to unclassified animals. Any thing that falls under MONSTER can be eventually understood as something in its own right. I don’t believe a value judgment CAN be appropriately placed WITHOUT understanding of the thing. I don’t, nor SHOULD I stop to ask myself if I’m being “greedy.” I focus on a more perfect outlook of the world, and then the APPROPRIATE feelings will follow.

In conclusion: Greed is about as inherently bad as anything else. The trouble is coming up with something that is inherently bad to compare it to. There are not any on my list, therefore I remanding unconvinced.

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