Writing about Greed
Today’s word is greed. Now the image that pops into my head is of a dragon hoarding money. To be precise it is Smaug in the more recent overlong version of “The Hobbit” film. Now I see an older book cover. Anyway, there is more to greed I think than just collecting a lot of something. A greedy action is done almost for the sake of doing the action since I am not sure the end result is relevant. Smaug didn’t need more gold to prop up his finances. He didn’t need more gold for any purpose that I can think of.
Perhaps though I just don’t understand the concept of greed. I associate the time of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister as a period when “greed was good”. It was a time when people were encouraged to go after money to accumulate more wealth and a time when borrowing money was easy. People borrowed money to make money. They also spent money they borrowed so that they could have the latest gadget or be seen in the latest designer label. I am a mathematician, I never understood why people took big risks to make money or invested in public owned corporations that they already paid for through their taxes. But it is easy to get swept up in the herd mentality, it is generally the late-comers to the investment party that lose the most.
The general belief that money brings you happiness is at best a half truth. Having a certain amount of money will provide security and stability which enables you to be happier, but only up to a point. The continuing pursuit of more money will not bring more happiness, it is an empty promise.
Today I was unnerved by the unexpected state of the office. I sort out comfort in eating biscuits on and off all day. Was I being greedy? I didn’t need the biscuits for energy intake and they didn’t really provide me any happiness. Perhaps they gave me a bit of a sugar high? I suspect it was more about doing something that distracted me from my anxiety. Was Smaug’s action about exerting power, or perhaps he was depressed and wanted some shiny things to cheer him up. Perhaps then greed is about doing an action that is hoped to assuage a depression but is ultimately futile.
Nope, I still don’t think I get greed. Something to do with unnecessary personal gain at the expense of everybody else? Who defines what unnecessary is though? What moral framework does one use?