Community, Mental Health, Motivational

More on Greed Risk and Desire

“Wealth is not about having a lot of money; it’s about having a lot of options.”

-Chris Rock

Managing money often results in behaviours that might be regarded as greed or human competitiveness . Some folks feel an adrenaline rush at the prospect of making unexpected money. Creating wealth is often perceived to be a vehicle to a better quality of life or standard of living but can also awaken greed, which we began discussing in last week’s post.

Our investing brains come equipped with a biological mechanism that is more aroused when we anticipate a profit than when we actually get one.

Your MOney and Your Brain ~Jason Zweig

Human nature has evolved over millenia in competition with others. Within isolated island smaller tribal communities appear to live in relative harmony, perhaps even without competition or strong desires. With the introduction of external influences, comes desire, competition and inevitably conflict.

The potential of gaining or losing something of value – greed – this culminates in a selfish desire for something. Who of us can free ourselves totally from the desire for a better life?

Better an empty purse than wrongly got money

(Betre tom pung enn rangt skaffa pengar)

Swedish Proverb
Recycled hand bags

Greed is often characterised by a weak capacity for independent judgment with a strong appetite for measuring up against one’s peers.

The pride of dying rich raises the loudest laugh in hell

– John W. Foster

So is competition and desire a unavoidable part of human existence at some point?

Is greed wrapped up in maintaining our reputation? Is it based on our social status or our perceived performance amongst peers?

What do you think of the quotes and sayings here.

Everyone’s opinion is important. What is yours?

Join in the discussion of Sunday Sayings* by leaving a comment.

*Several years ago, I created ‘Proverbial Friday’ on my blog which has now morphed into Sunday Sayings. I became fascinated with traditional proverbs and sayings, their metaphorical layers and the many different interpretations found within just a few, succinct words. I marveled at their ability to transcend race, religion, opinions and age.


30 thoughts on “More on Greed Risk and Desire”

  1. Having never in my life had money – except when we saved up and used it for travelling – this is a concept at a bit of a remove.
    Now, living on the age pension, financial greed is well out of my ken: but I just bought an electric wok, so basic greed isn’t.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. If only we were all content with enough to live. I am reminded of the saying I shared recently which suggested you might never be content with what you don’t have, if you aren’t content with what you currently do have.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. My late father-in-law wasn’t wealthy, but he had enough to meet his needs, and more importantly, his wants. He never desired anything more than what he had. He bought lotto tickets, and I asked him what he’d do with the money if he won it. He said he’d give it to me. He was truly a contented man, and probably the only really content person I’ve ever known.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a lovely gesture of your F-I -L, Chris. I have often thought about teh consequences of lotto winnings and am a little frightened of how it might change one’s life and one’s relationships…. for better or worse.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Lifestyle choices – good point, Lisa. We often desire a better lifestyle than our means, and some even get into financial difficulties if they rely on credit too much. Living within one’s means is a good way to curtail excesses, don’t you think? If you can’t afford it right now, don’t do it until you can. The idea of saving seems to have lost popularity.


      1. I do agree with that statement, untill you can… I bought a big house with a big loan when I moved to France to run a B&B. I have promised myself when it sells I will buy a little apartment, no loan. For the rest my life is pretty simple.. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I like the first saying. and if that’s the goal with which money is made , there is less of greed associated but more like necessity. I need wealth to have the freedom to do what i desire truly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Without funds to do the things we need to do and dream of doing is difficult, but that being the case, it is helpful to re-examine wants versus needs. Do we really need the large house with the pool and spa? Or do we merely just want it? Each person’s level of need will differ, but wants are different from needs, in that needs are things that are essential for life, wants are essential for comfort. I sit here with surrounded by plenty of things I wanted and got through desire and money but I did have a time when need had to govern my life, and becoming tired of that lifestyle, I was fortunate enough to be in a position to implement my plans of how to change that. To tie this to the saying, Pratibha, options is what we need to effect change from needs to wants. Needs based lifestyle has limited options, don’t you think? Therefore, one must use creativity and imagination to make that tolerable in one’s own mind. Sadly for society, some might even choose criminal creativity, the majority don’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, the adage is ‘The LOVE of money is the root of all evil.’ Not money itself. It’s an inanimate object with no sense of right and wrong and no moral character. Here in the U.S. we have a TV series entitled “American Greed.” They spotlight many real-life instances of people who have become wealthy through illicit means. In many cases, murder is one of the means people use to garner riches, and an exit plan for others. I always note how some of the scams people create are technically ingenious and can only wonder what they could have accomplished if they’d taken a legitimate route.

    We all come into this world naked and screaming; clutching nothing but our souls in our hands. And that’s pretty much how we’re going to leave.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said, Alejandro. We have nothing to begin our lives and take nothing concrete with us when we leave, so we spend all our lives accumulating things! Aren’t we a strange species? With the exception of the bowerbirds, no other species accumulates possession or wealth. Some have better options, but this creation of a society on material wealth is peculiarly human. Has money and desire become our ‘reward’ which governs our behaviour? Why else spend a lifetime accumulating possessions for someone else to dispose of or cherish?


    1. Sorry for the late reply, Ju-Lyn. Money does seem to be quite a source of anxiety for many of us. We try to make it stretch further and worry what happens when it runs out. It is a sad state of affairs that our lives can be dictated by this ephemeral concept. But our society makes us consider it in many of our decisions. Our free market capitalist system means we MUST consider it.


  5. Dear Amanda, 🙂
    I do believe that the trap of power and money will always catch a multitude of people. But that should not deter us from trying to show them that there is something greater than that…

    But, oh yes, Amanda – I really, really, really want to be rich! I would like to be very rich! Rich – in everything most wonderful and deep. Like love and inspiration and beauty… and money! 😉

    Each and every time I happen to walk nearby one of those old persons who are rummaging in garbage containers. Or poor animals – homeless cats and dogs – trying to gain people’s attention for food and love – I tell myself that maybe, one day, I will be able to help. One day…
    It hurts too much to keep it in, without that hope.

    And also I dream about a line of hotels, where people can not only have a wonderful, relaxing and exciting vacation, but also can learn to love various arts – like painting, photography, stories, poetry, and music – creating a small spark of creativity within them, during their stay there.
    With the hope that they, when they come home from the vacation, will not forget it, but that it may be nurtured and grow…

    Greater than money…

    My blog is an attempt at reaching for the dream. 😉
    (now, where are all the rich sponsors hiding… 😀 )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a wonderful dream to have, Elena. You sound young enough to still be idealistic; a good thing! But your altruistic and kind heart shows that you are also thinking of those less fortunate, and trying to make life a little better and more equal for all.
      I love your idea of that hotel. Would that be in Norway, on a fjord, perhaps?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Greed is at its most basic rooted in desire, I think. If only desire could be channelled into the betterment of all folks, not just the one or the few. How could we encourage or influence that?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s funny how so many of us associate money with greed. I would say that is true to an extent: some of us are motivated to make more money either because we simply like having more or want to afford more. Others are motivated to make more money because money is a necessity to us and those who are dependent on us.

    Money is a sensitive topic, and in general many of us don’t talk about our money matters (e.g. how much we earn, how much we spend, how much we have in savings) out in the open or even to friends. So from that angle, money is a marker of someone’s social status. I don’t think greed towards money is the only issues, but I think budgeting and learning to save is a skill many of us don’t have. Many people I’ve met look forward to pay week – it’s a time where they can go and buy something for themselves. I’ve always found this very odd. Growing up, my Chinese family was actually quite frugal and my parent always taught me to save first before buying anything. It’s something I do these days and am not someone who counts down to pay day.

    I think you made an interesting point in your comment to Pratibha from distinguishing wants from needs. A lifestyle focused on needs-choices can simplify our life so much: recognise what we truly need, less time spent on worrying about wants which could be wants in just a moment of our lives, less clutter and a more logical mindset. Over the years I’ve lived by this mindset too, buying only what I need or if I am buying something that I want, to be able to justify that as a need in some capacity.

    Also on a random note – people seem to look down on others who work for free (including volunteers). For instance, some writing freelance work I take on is not paid – I don’t have an issue with it because it’s what I want to do. Funny how work should always be tied to getting paid. Well, all of us need work for money but not everything we love doing needs to earn us money.


  7. Hi Mabel!
    Great comment! Especially regarding distinguishing wants from needs, and pointing out folks who think short term with their money. It reminds me of the movie – The Castle – where the family accumulates all sorts of things they can’t use, simply because they are bargains! Eg. Jousting Sticks! Perhaps this type of buying might stem from a poverty stricken upbringing. The desire to have that freedom to buy ‘whatever tickles their fancy,’ might be a reaction against never having enough money to buy something for themselves when they were younger?
    I am similar to you in that I save up for something I would like, and don’t buy it immediately, with a few exceptions. It frustrates the MOTH as he is a great bargain buyer and seems to have worsened in his retirement! I heard this week that 50 % of Aussies have less than $1000 in their bank account at any one time. Concerning stats!
    Volunteers are so underrated and save companies mega bucks, yet volunteers are seen as pseudo workers with less significance as that of a paid worker.If anything they should have more significance.


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