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Greedy and contented

Updated on February 25, 2010

Here and now.

There is a tale of two men; one was self motivated successful businessman and the other was a plain slacker.  One day the rich man saw the other idly sitting by the beach, bashing in the sun. The rich man asked what he is doing, the answer was ‘nothing, just enjoying’.  So he said ‘why don’t you move your butt, find a job, earn money, save enough, engage in business as I am, then when you have more than enough to live by – you can sit by, relax and enjoy life?’ To which the other guy replied – ‘What do you think I am doing?’


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Life on planet earth is often confounding, albeit it is wonderful.  Many times we are on the loop, other times we entirely miss the train.  Still we are mandated to play by the rules in every event we may engage in.  Often than not, we don’t care about rules or who make them or why are there rules in the first place?  Because we are humans, there is an incessant need for rules, and rules are meant to be obeyed; they are designed to make things easier, they should work all the time, they should set things in order – thereby making life less stressful and wonderful.  Stress – like rules are essential; it’s a need in order for us to survive.  Much of both will break man’s spirit and not make it better as it was intended.  Nothing of both makes life dull either. Today – we have too much of both; people are more confused than ever, relationships are marred.  Sometimes, it’s even hard to win trust even from relatives and friends, nor to trust them on the other hand, but we must trust.  Rules causes stress; we don’t want both because man is inherently rebellious.  Rather, man prefers to make his own rules but not necessarily abide by them himself.  The problem with that is when opportunity presents for a man to play by his rules.  So by other rules, man’s desire to make his own rules is suppressed; and in so doing it safeguards his relationship to other beings.  So why are we stressed, why can’t we just play the rules and live harmoniously ever after?  After all, we can’t avoid both then we’d rather embrace it?  It boils down to the point where – how can we make it work to our advantage, or how can we handle it to a manageable level – since it is a need?


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I’d like to point two aspects that may supplement the need to abide by the rules and manage stress to a comfortable level.  This is not a fool-proof solution; easy in theory but hard to apply in reality due to some underlying situations.  What is happening today is the product of unresolved problems of the past; not necessarily of our own doing but we tolerate continuity of the same – flawed and corrupt management system; whether in the government or in private business sector.  Common people like me don’t have a voice, and unless we unite in one purpose we can’t make even a dent in the system.  We wanted to believe as we are made to, that we are free beings when in fact we are not.  Our freedom was limited to the dictates of the powerful. The government raised by the people should serve the people but on the contrary I am beginning to believe that the government is only for the rich and powerful.  I could be biased, then explain to me why the system we all depended on and believed in is a failure?  I would like to deal it on a personal level; since I can not change what is going on, then what can I do?

Consider, just in case.

First I’d like to propose a theory:  Live as community again, eliminate greed.

But of course we have communities!  I am talking about the spirit of community that is gone amongst us.  Yes we do have communities but this was defined just as groups of people of the same kind or persuasion, just associations for social functions, or worse – just perceived groupings of people using each other for selfish ends.  The kinship and unity is not there; the convergence of cooperative spirit for the common good has vanished. The level of trust that once served as strong bond has diminished. We even have expanded our communities to global proportions – something un-heard of in the past, yet its still limited to our own ‘kind’, and remain isolated from our actual neighbours.  That point to the supplemental action we must do in order to gain our community – that is, strive by all means to eliminate greed at all levels.  This is even harder part of the solution.  Nothing should be done for self interest alone, and if self interest hinders the common good – it should not be pursued.  We all have self interests, but as long as it remains within the framework of social and moral rules, it should be healthy because we need to acknowledge our humanity as well.  We all have needs and wants and as long as we play by the rules, we should be okay.  Greed is a human component that is useless and harmful whether we acknowledge it as such or not, it continues to tread its destructive path over all creation.  We all have it but we can learn to restrain it, minimize or even eliminate it.  It’s doable, it’s possible.  Since this is just my theory – just like any other, it has to be proven.  Then I challenge you for action – that leads to my second theory.


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Be content of what you have.  Again, this is easier said than done.  By it I mean – contentment should not be an excuse for not doing my job or things I am supposed to do as a citizen or as a human being.  It should not be seen as a prelude to slackness nor abandonment of your dreams, not pursuing your goals, nor leave the problem to the next generation to figure out.  What I mean with contentment is – while in pursuing your goals, you should not force circumstances to tilt in your favour; be happy with your limitations and strive to learn more if you wish to expand them.  Seek possibilities of self improvement but with careful regard to the welfare of others.  It’s not wrong to work to earn more money, but to lust after it (or whatever thing/s people lusts for) with utter disregard for others is just plain greed.  Know your fair share, and even work to expand it so long as it’s fair share. The holy bible says: ‘holiness with contentment is great gain’.   We all have desires but some are out of bounds or not legitimate to a degree that it sends negative signal to others affected by the action we may take to acquire it. Contentment is being able to share the joy of those who succeed without reservations.  Forget about your inherent right to be free.  Limited freedom is positive; at least learn to look it that way, otherwise you will always have a reason to whine.  It is always easier to complain than to complement but the harder part is the better.  Life is not so easy and you are not alone even when you feel like it.  Contentment is when you are able to see your contemporaries as better than yourself; ‘esteem others better than yourself’ is the key.  These do not mean self-abasement rather putting value or significance to the other person as much, or even more than you value yourself.  You may call it love, generosity or any other, yet the principle is the same.  For example – I value my wife and sons as much that it is my pleasure to work hard for them irrespective of their responses to my sacrifice.  I feel content and happy wearing myself out due to that high esteem for them.  If I can project that same esteem to my community without necessarily burdening myself, and even if I do – it will be quite a different story.  Greed is selfishness, contentment is selflessness.  You may blame the system, the economy, or others.  Bottom line is you are part of it and you have to face it one way or the other.  Since you can only change yourself and perhaps influence others, then it’s a good idea to start on your-self.  Again, this is a theory that needs proof otherwise it remains as it is – a theory. I challenge you to at least try – you’ll like it and humanity will benefit from it!

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