Avarice, one way or another, has long since become one of the common denominator for “bad”. The righteous do not require money, or so they say. Perhaps it’s one of those ‘virtue’ things, which I have never really made myself familiar with. My attitude towards it is the same that I give to morals: No one will be the same as mine, so I should really stop caring. Still, during this day and age, “greed” is a word rather frequently used. Whether it is referring to the presumably power-hungry bloodless corporations that are sucking away at your land as well as whatever’s left of your country’s health, or just that bloke of a neighbour who just happened to like that lamp you have very much. Either way, it has become and almost universal code word for ‘bad’. However, II feel like the attitude itself has gotten quite a bit of an unnecessary bad reputation, so I feel like talking about it.Greed, or the selfish desire to hoard money, property and goods far beyond one’s basic survival needs and comfort, has been around for thousands of years. Greed can emerge from many places. From that classy senator who is so accustomed to his luxurious life style of cake and horses, to your everyday neighbour who wants nothing more than to be almost as presentable as his manager, although that’s far beyond his actual needs. The funniest thing is that, various aspects that we express avarice on doesn’t have to do with basic needs at all. A lot of the time, someone just want to be really rich. They want to imagine that they can, or they want to keep being able to do, spend a ludicrous amount of money on a daily basis in order to satisfy their unreasonable and unnecessary needs, all the while enjoying all the entertainment that life has to offer. Sometimes, this comes at expense of other people, and this is where the trouble might stir.
I’m a greedy person. I don’t think I deserve it all, but I believe that with a decent amount of intelligent effort, it is certainly possible to get more than my share. In fact, a lot more. I also want power, and fame, the ability to be influential, to be looked up to, and have my voice held at a higher value than the common folk. This desire is due to many things, ranging from envy, to aspiration, to arrogance, to narcissism and even more than that. However, my greed is one of the few things that I am sure I share with many people. It is, I’d think, one of the things that identify human beings as capable of goals. Goods have always been important, and having more than your average citizen feels really nice. If you had not figured it out yet, I’m telling that greed is not necessarily a bad thing, or a bad trait to possess. It might even help you to aspire to do better, more impactful things, obsession with objects of avarice notwithstanding.
What separates people, however, is the degree of which their greed extend to. I, personally, aim to be richer than most, rather than have more than I need. While both are aspects of greed, the first involves attaining wealth (in this context) at the indirect expense of others, while the other does not. It’s a very curious distinction to make, and needs to be made more often. Greed is a part of us, and how far we are willing to go is a surprisingly interesting question. Part of it is because many are so lost in convincing themselves of how genuinely good they are, while other risks it all without thinking of the adequate consequences. Both of these behaviour are dangerous in different ways, as well as in different scopes. There is of course, a significantly different degree of greed, and that is to increase one’s wealth by directly robbing that of another. We’ll get to that later.
Taking the classic idea of Superman’s famous Lex Luthor. While I have always found the superheroes shtick to be rather ridiculous, they have always portrayed rather well what the general masses think as the ‘bad guy’ of the time period. Lex was a genius, and wealthy beyond belief. However, all of it comes to him so naturally that he no longer feels any kind of challenge in life, and depending on which instalment of the comic you’re referring to, he probably wants to rule over Metropolis with an iron fist. It is what he aspires to do, and he wants to do so, because his greed easily overtakes him. The challenge and the feeling of power is what keeps him going. I don’t support these kinds of action, but I do not condemn them either. The reason why I’m showing my apathy is simply because it’s so predictable. People have tried that before, many, many times. Only a few of them have achieved that coveted success, at least for as long as they live, and history tells the same story. They were bloody-thirsty, barbaric power-hungry dictators with the means and the drive to rule the world.
It would have been rather boring without them.
So think of it as you will.
Pictured: a stature of Atilla the Hun, take from here