I've been contemplating greed this week.
Yeah, not my usual contemplation. But I find it coming up over and over. And usually when these things come up over and over, its something I need to think more about. And write about. Writing is thinking, for me.
(We watched s1 of Vikings this week... sacred greed, pah!)
And so I am contemplating greed. Not on an individual level, although that's something to personally explore. No, I'm looking at our cultural greed. Our human greed. Our greed. And where this greed is leading us.
I tried to think of what the opposite of greed is. What the counter emotion is. And why it feels like charity and generosity isn't enough to counter our cultural greed.
So I thought more about what the shadow-side benefit of greed, cultural greed, is. We don't all benefit equally from cultural greed. Most of us don't even benefit at all, but we have bought into the system, so it must benefit us, somehow. Or else we would have revolted.
Greed is how we survive. The Vikings were able to eek out an existence by robbing others and trading for what was needed to survive those long Scandinavian winters. And thus prosper.
We think greed lifts us out of survival mode and into prosperity. And once we're prosperous, we can start being generous. Oh, I see that a lot, in everyday examples. The entrepreneur who declares she'll make a six or seven figure year and start giving it away. But the system doesn't let us give it all away. We just feed the system by continuing to think that way.
The new model of entrepreneurship that the internet espouses (small business! sacred self employment! empowering others through modeling!) is just as founded on greed as our normal business model because it is still part of the system. We still live on this planet, in this culture. And our culture is based on a tiered model. Money is based on a tiered system. Some have it. Others don't.
The wealthiest at the top, the poorest at the bottom. And here in the middle (the dwindling, dwindling middle) are the rest of us, trying to eek out our existence and not fall to the bottom. Scrabbling. Literally walking over people in our quest not to be them.
People do what they can to survive.
I have no problem with doing what you can to make money in this culture, most of the time.
I do have a problem with greed. Especially on a cultural level. It is killing us, plain and simple. And our culture encourages it.
Make more! Deserve more! Buy more! Make more!
That money, the sacred money, that you're getting for your art, is coming from a system that cuts down trees, ships almost all our production out of the country to a place where pollution is the norm, and enslaves children to make the shoes that you covet. You can do your best to not support that system, but the system is still there, very much in place, no matter what you boycott.
This is not directed at anyone in particular. (Except maybe those pesky Viking ancestors of mine. I've been "ach"ing a lot at the greed on the show. Ach!)
I know and love some very wealthy people. I am personally wealthier than I was at birth (by a lot).
The system is the problem, not individual people. We have to paradigm shift completely to break free - and that requires worldwide change on a level that we didn't even see in the revolutionary Arab Spring. We're talking a paradigm shift of proportions closer to
And honestly, that kind of cataclysm would probably shift us more towards real survival mode, and that's where greed is really gonna kick in, full stop.
(Zombie Apocalypse scary.)
I have no answers. I am just thinking out loud and hoping we can collectively come to our senses before we completely frack
We're human. We don't need to be perfect. We're always gonna have issues. I get that. I would just like to see us shift to a new system, a system that wasn't founded on the top 1% standing on top of the rest of us, who are standing on that bottom while we scramble to get the bones they're throwing our way.