Need Brings Greed, If Need Increases, It Spoils Breed

Posted by: Sonal Joshi Comments: 0

When the hunter-gatherer rolled tree trunks to transport things, little did he know that one day, a master piece developed from this idea, would aid mass transportation across the globe. Similarly, when he rubbed flint stones for cooking, protection and warmth, he had no idea that a day would come, when fire would light multiple pyres and the world would reach its Doom out of mere materialistic avarice. Need has led to breath-taking inventions and discoveries. It’s when the bounds of satisfaction are trespassed, the consequences become dire and unavoidable. It is therefore, true that ‘The world has enough for man’s need but not enough for man’s greed!” – Mahatma Gandhi. Unfortunately, the human race, that possesses the brain to create miracles to meet its desires, is also blamed for destruction.

History has volumes to describe how satisfaction of basic requirements led to hunger for more and results were bloodshed. The popular folktale where two cats fight for a piece of bread to satiate their hunger and the monkey easily dupes them has a strong message. The explicit moral is, when two fight, the third person gains. However, there is an implicit message too. Had the two cats, shared the bread, it would have been enough for the need of their stomach but greed led to monstrous behaviour and made them a subject of ridicule. Thus, it is believed that no need is incorrect at the first place but when the needy fail to draw a line between need and greed that the entire race has to bear the brunt.

Considering the modern perspective to this issue, it cannot be denied that gone are the days of ‘food, clothing and shelter’. We live in an era of ‘sumptuous grand meals, branded clothes and well-furnished homes’. Wise men would mock at this consumerist attitude and its future. Ravenous attitude has turned us into gluttons from simple consumers, resulting in lopsided economic development. It goes beyond saying that this truth prevails beyond the realms of society and economics.

At the political front, good governance is the need of the nation. Need for power is not unknown, whether, for one’s own goals or for a general good, but when the law makers turn into law breakers, blatantly challenging their ethics, for the coveted seat, the entire race gets pointed at. Fingers are pointed at politicians and their behaviour is constantly under a scanner to the extent that many people label ‘Politics’ not as a subject of study but as a ‘dirty game’. Likewise fines are needed to reprimand the wrong doer. Gradually, bribes have taken their place to satiate another need for wealth.

At a micro-level, need for ancestral wealth to support oneself and the next generation is no offence but when the thin, almost invisible line is crossed, family feuds, property laws come into play so much that parents of the modern generation fear having a second child. Rifts between children over inheritance are so much a cliché that the days of age old myths of Ramayana and respect for siblings seem bygone and utopian.

If all that glitters is not gold, all that looks dark is not completely negative. Although, avarice leads to downfall and defamation, it creates examples too. Voracious demons, lusty kings, greedy nobels have written darker side of history of black labelling entire dynasties owing to their greed that sprung from simple desires. From an otherwise normal fellow to a pious soul, anyone can become victim to the malicious effects of their compounding needs. Their anecdotes teach people how needs can turn into greed, in turn, spoiling the breed. We certainly need such stories to preach the next generation. While Napoleon, Mussolini and Hitler are known for their greed for power, Marie Antoinette had an unending thirst for luxury. This led to atrocities, revolutions and bloodshed. These stories prevent such thirsts and thereby, such episodes

There is another positive outcome. The world also doesn’t need ever satiated fellows. Needs must grow. Had we been happy with single storey houses, bungalows and sky-scrappers would never have been constructed. Smart phones, I-Pads came into existence even when the need for communication was quenched by a telephone. If all members of the family have their own car, philosophers would call it greed, pragmatists would call it need and economists would call it a boon, as it would multiply money in the market. This way a positive side to this issue is created.

At this juncture, it is vital to consider if there are any practical and employable solutions to the negative outcomes of this issue? An optimistic would suggest that all problems have a clear solution. Certainly, we cannot become sages but we can regulate our behaviour with respect to our limitation of resources. In other words, we must adhere to that border that delineates needs and beyond which starts, greed. A simple identification is; needs are practical and their satisfaction makes life easy. On the other hand, greed is craving, satisfaction of which may lead to temporary gratification but soon or later, a tragic downfall. The famous story of the ‘hen that laid golden eggs’ is a simple evidence. One golden egg every day, met needs. The desire to get all eggs together, led to a gory end. Similarly, respect for my religion is prayer, a need. Forcing religion and blasphemy, lead to religious wars and communal riots. Once this demarcation is understood, the breed is saved from infamy. We must dread disrespect and ridicule at personal, communal and global level, at every cost and avoid shaming the race.  This would happen if identity of the race is given importance over personal.

At a practical level, it is imperative to be ambitious. Our needs must multiply as they would be scientific inventions of tomorrow. However, the touch stone of rationality and pragmatism must be employed as a barricade between wants and unacceptable hunger. Even Mother Nature aggravates when desire to consume more overrides its genuine requirement. Excessive pressure exerted gets retaliated with apocalyptic results.

All in all, religious scriptures, wise men of all ages and educators prescribe a healthy gratification of desires to avoid getting synonymous to devils that are already held culpable of massive destruction. Greed and sanctimony both are contagious and if the latter is upheld, the breed can never be spoiled.

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