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The Rubinshteinic Guide To Understanding and Solving Greed

Updated: Mar 10

A woman and a monkey drinking plenty of tea.

"The invention of currency has literally changed the entire course of human evolution in every possible aspect. It doesn't just dictate to us how we must live, but has corrupted the very reason for living in the first place" -- John Duran


Greed's Deceitful Feast in Tea Parties of Emptiness

I believe that greed is a result of inner emptiness, of obsessively consuming externally what lacks internally. The most extreme version of this can easily be found with narcissists, who are often described as those who have "black holes" within them that can never be satisfied.

If happiness is defined as a deep and abiding sense of contentment, satisfaction and inner peace, occasionally sprinkled with joy, then by definition, a narcissist can never be happy.

Humans naturally compensate their disadvantages by increasing one or more fields in their life and expertise. For example: if you are a knight in the medieval ages and your self-confidence is low, you’ll naturally try wearing bigger armour, attain more decorations, purchase a bigger sword, and so forth. All to try to compensate the very fact that you didn't work on yourself enough, to do well without these compensations.

The same goes with greed. Greed is to consume one or more things extensively not by need but by passion, while you do not need whatever you're consuming or getting. It can be money, food, and any sort of addiction we feel close attachment and desire for.

Our modern world encourages greed in the name of wealth and prosperity. By making us addicted and greedy, much of our income goes for products many corporations produce. It's an endless cycle of desire that on the one hand makes us misreable, and on the other hand, makes many companies richer.

The more you become addicted to something, and the less you are to resist temptation, equals more financial power to those who provide the addictive material. There is a corporate interest for us to be addicted, even at the sake of our own health, so the richer shall become richer, sometimes regardless of the cost to those who become engulfed and enslaved by their own desires.

You might find yourself feeling happier making a positive impact on the word, rather than chasing the success of having more power. For you might be successful (or be considered successful at least) whether you're happy or sad. Success may exist despite of emotions. So, if your aim in life is to be happy, then perhaps success and the greed that follow them, are not for you?

Reclaiming the Throne of Reason

Greed is enslavery. There is a general deception that doing things according to one’s desires. It's one that's might promise you greater freedom. But true freedom doen't work that way. Living in accordance to external expectation, through greed (as having more and more is impressive) is counterintuitive to the happiness that may follow doing what we want. And yes, greed in this world is impressive when it's successful. It's proven when having power is seen as attractive in the world of dating.

The Inner Components - desires, passions, attachments and so forth - at times of greed and addiction, become more powerful than the one that experiences them, when they are to dictate every thought and every choice than the individual. Then, the individual better realize that they've become consumed by an inner rebellion.

When you are prone to greed, you are a mere puppet of stronger forces, living inside of you. They can grow much more powerful than you because you’ve failed, or refused, to authorize them under the surpassion of logic. Thus they’ve revolutionized your body and now you remain their minion, who merely does their bidding, and manipulated by them to make you believe that you are free.

And an obidient populace is one that thinks they are free. North Korea knows this well, and invests much in pretending they are a democracy to their population. They have several political parties, they allow various freedoms in their constitution, and even have mandatory elections.

But can we really say North Korea is a free country like Australia or Argentina? No. It's a make-believe. Apply the same to your own unhealthy desires, and see how they turn against your best interest when you remain misrable despite pursuing them. For the sake of the metaphor, some true democracies, like the ones I mentioned, have mandatory elections.

By the same token, the fact that you think that you are free does not mean that you are, when you are enslaved to your greed. Enslaved for power, status and validation. In reality, power is wisely gained as a means, and not as an end.

For nothing will compensate truly on your ability to work on yourself to become independent of any unnecessary dependence.

Why Reason Must Reign for True Liberty

The healthiest and the independent state of being is the exact opposite - of ruling these rebellious Inner Components and oppressing them so they will become assets, not dictators. They "believe" they know better due to how easily they can bias your decision-making, with certainty that deserves to be questioned. But short-term feelings aren't there to consider the wider scope of things. Considering that very scope is the key for your happiness, of you planning and reaching your ideal self, or at least trying to do so, better.

The moral job of the independent individual is to keep themselves in check with the guidance of Reason, for Reason knows, sees and plans much better than Desire.

This what Desire does best - makes you unsatisfied no matter how much time and resources you invest into the its source. It is an unhealthy form of compensating for lack of internal abundance, by creating a vicious cycle of external prosperity, or, at least, the cycle that stems from the constant search for it.

And no amount of whatever, earned through greed and other means, will lead you to feel happiness, unless you are to work on yourself and on your voids. Only through this work-on-the-self you can try to minimize these voids. Escapism won't cut it.

By understanding the futility of greed we can then start embracing asceticism.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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