I posted the following on FaceBook just after the Fourth of July:
“The DNA of our country is a helix entwining democracy and capitalism. A lot of good genes working therein but also many defective ones. The philosophical ideals of democracy and the practical energies of capitalism make this country worthy of anyone’s faith in the dreams of its founders. Freedom, equality, civil rights and social justice, self-actualization and care for those less fortunate are all in the mix. Unfortunately, so are many shortcomings, along with errant circuitry. Our humanness tends to settle for or take advantage of the realities of democracy and far too often abuses the power of capitalism by not knowing when enough is enough. Less is never more when it comes to money and profit-taking.”
Dreams can become nightmares, ideals elusive as mist when pushed to extremes. Freedom and opportunity would work well together in a perfect world but in this imperfect one greed and other vices that cripple our human experience reside in and take advantage of the shadow sides of both democracy and capitalism. The seductions of wealth and power, often rooted in fear, tend to be justified by claims of seeking security and a better world. Unfortunately, both can be as addictive as any drug or other substances.
Greed is what fills and overflows bank accounts, acquires endless possessions for empty people whose needs will never be satisfied until they decide to become whole themselves. In a world meant for sharing, the greedy cannot see beyond their hungers and their fears of coming up short. Greed is gluttony spelled with dollar signs. It is a lust for power fueled by ego, envy and grandiosity. While greed bloats those who fall victim to it, it ultimately diminishes the the meaning of their lives.
Greed is not about wealth or success, nor goes against the so-called “good life.” Greed goes beyond “enough.” While the need for more lives in almost everyone, the need for more and more and more thrives in and drives the greedy. Those who genuinely work for a better world – for themselves, their families and society in general, deserve the fruits of their labors as well as the appreciation of all who benefit in whatever way.
If “Happiness is an inside job,” one’s gratitude for life’s gifts and generosity in sharing them leave no room for greed. Fortunately, many know that. For those who can recognize it, enough in its own way seems more than enough, for which they are grateful and generous.