On Greed

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Dr. Stefan J. Malecek

Dr. Stefan J. Malecek

Stefan J. Malecek, Ph. D. is the author of five previous Paul Marzeky novels, and Crucible of Shame, a clinical book discussing the origins of addiction and “mental illness.” He worked in many aspects of psychiatry before earning his Ph.D. in 2006 He retired from private practice in 2013, and has been happily living on the island of Maui and writing full-time since. He is at work on a book presenting his unique take on the retirement years in Transcendental Retirement (forthcoming in 2019), and the sixth book of the Paul Marzeky Mystery Series Excelsior!

While greed may be an excessive or rapacious desire for wealthor possessions,the definition does not address the psychological conditions that drive one to adopt this approach to living. I believe thatgreed in any and every form is an attempt to fill a vast, aching inner emptiness, this illusory goal of “enough.” Greed is the supreme addiction.

Enough

One of the most intense and virulent of addictions is greed, (which I will discuss at further length later in this volume), which is considered to be the “norm,” the lingua franca in Western societies. To some greater or lesser extent, it is assumed that everyone will form an identity incorporating it. This is then fed by and feeds into, two closely related phenomena: the concept of enough and the productivity illusion.

In some sense, it does not matter how much of anything one has―it will never be enough, as one is seeking to fill from without a deep, empty void within, with all manner of thoughts, feelings, expressions, substances, et cetera. It is generated by the delusional belief that we are separate from one another in the grand cosmic scheme; and that each of us must constantly struggle and compete for scarce resources (no matter whether land, or oil, or love). There will never be enough as long as one feels unfulfilled internally; as long as one feels the aching terrible emptiness and deficit.

An Inner Process

Each individual’s desires are shaped by their own experience. So, there is no absolutely inclusive definition, but in some sense, it does not exist. No matter how much of anything one has, it will never be enough, since everyone seeks the state of inner fullness that masquerades as having enough of everything.

The net effect of this illusion is that each of us must constantly work to produce more, in order to fulfill the always changing “needs” created by the separation consciousness perpetrated by the toxic socialization process.

Everyone wants to feel fulfilled but this is colored by an individual’s experience that creates desires that may seem extreme, depending on the extent to which one must got to appease what one perceives as “need.” To the extent to which one adopts he culturally authorized “norms,” one may feel more-or-less dissatisfied. Culturally “approved” arenas of work, money, sexuality, food, substances, television―may fall short of an individual’s perceived sense of hunger. Greed is the supreme addiction.

Thus, there is inevitable conflict, when an individual or nation, decides that it is entitled to more. Whether such an individual is aware of it or not, such a one is asserting a right to a sense of personal dominion. One aspect of this philosophy that has been amply demonstrated in the contemporary world is “might makes right.” We see it every day, in interactions between individuals and nations. There are plenty of ugly decisions that have been made and justifies under the rubric of “Manifest Destiny” or other destructive, power-and-greed-driven choices—all in pursuit of inner satisfaction.

Entitlement and Other Ugly Crimes

To the extent to which one adopts the culturally authorized “norms,” one may feel more-or-less dissatisfied. Culturally “approved” arenas of work, money, sexuality, food, substances, televisionmay all fall short of an individual’s perceived desire for satiety.As Krishnamurti once noted: “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

When an individual or nation decides it “deserves” more and asserts it right to sense of personal domination, there is inevitable conflict. One aspect of this philosophy (called Social Darwinism) as a stance of “might makes right.” There are plenty of ugly decisions that have been made and justified under the rubric of “Manifest Destiny” or other destructive, power-and-greed-driven choices—all in pursuit of inner satisfaction.Rapacious greed is, in many circles, considered praiseworthy. It has, through the centuries, led to the creation of innumerable empires and vast personal fortunes.

Rapacious greed is, in many circles, praiseworthy. It has, through the centuries, led to the creation of innumerable empires and vast personal fortunes. Darwin’s concept of evolutionary adaptation through natural selection became central to modern evolutionary theory, and isnow the unifying concept of the life sciences.
Darwin and his cousin Francis Galton, who transposed the original data from the biological to the social sciences, were both well-monied, upper-class citizens. As such, the translation of the material was intimately related to their own cultural backgrounds.

They made the decision that their power and position was “God given,” theirs by right of birth. Extrapolating from that position as entitled individuals, they set forth a philosophy that translated Darwin’s findings in the biological world to the social world. 

This contaminating arrogance grewto infect childrearing principles as well, fostering the growth of classism and soon overshadowed all other considerations, often utilizing vast economic and military power to subjugate entire populations and countries―until most individuals adopted the stance of wounded dogs obeying their cruel masters for fear of even more brutal treatment, robbing them of their dignity and inborn rights as human beings and children of the Universe. 
The concept of evolutionary adaptation through natural selection has become central to modern evolutionary theory, and isnow the unifying concept of the life sciences and economic theory.

Dr. Stefan J. Malecek
Author – Veteran – Psychologist

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