Thursday, October 14, 2010

Greed Only Leads to Corruption

A common problem in today’s society is greed. People always want more than they have and it’s a never ending desire. Americans in particular can’t be truly happy until they have the latest gadget or newest clothes. Scanning the news articles, one can see how greed can corrupt people, ruin relationships, and even lead to murder. Greed is an intense and selfish desire. It will exist for as long as the Earth continues on. Those who succumb to greed find themselves in a worse situation than had they hesitated to act upon their desires.

One news article from today addresses the trapped miners in Chile and their relatives. While the miners are trapped underground, trying to stay alive and keep a level head, their relatives are above ground arguing about how much money one family receives from the government while another receives less. An article from Yahoo News sheds light on distant family members who are trying to ride on the miners fame, “There are those who, despite only distant blood ties to miners, lined up for donated gifts including bottles of wine and electronic toys and Halloween costumes for children.” Greed stands in the way of what is really important: the safety of the trapped miners. These people don’t care about these men who they barely know. Their greed urges them to take advantage of the situation, and that is just wrong.

An excellent example from the Ancient World unit is in Medea, by Euripides. Jason, Medea’s husband, takes a new bride without asking or saying anything to Medea. She feels betrayed and angry with him. Her anguish is so great, her nurse fears she will snap and hurt herself. Medea had always been faithful to Jason, turning her back on her homeland to follow him and be his bride, and he repays her with this slap to the face. Jason claims that his marriage to this young princess will ensure that Medea and her two sons will be taken care of for the rest of their life, but Medea knows that he is selfish and takes what he wants. His greed gets in the way and in the end, he loses his new bride and his only two children by Medea’s doing. Jason says it’s “only naturally a woman is angry when her husband marries a second wife.” (Euripides, 865). He does not regret his decision, but expects Medea to except it because women cannot divorce their husbands, it was far to shameful. So instead, Medea ruins his life by taking all that he loves.

In the book of Genesis of the Old Testament, a man named Cain is envious of his brother, Abel. One day, while out in the field, Cain gets fed up with his perfect brother and kills him. When questioned by God as to where Abel is, Cain answers “I know not; Am I my brothers keeper?” (Moses, 72). Cain wanted God’s attention and love. When he saw that Abel was God’s favorite, he acted without thinking. After the slaying, Cain was punished more than he could bare. No crops grew for him anymore. Embarrassed by his actions, he went into hiding from the Lord, saying “...I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth” (Moses, 72). Had he been able to control his greed for attention, he could have been blessed by God and got along with his brother. Greed corrupted him and sentenced him to exile.

In the end, those who give in to their temptations and act on their desires of greed will most likely cause more problems than they can handle. If everyone could learn from the mistakes and flaws of characters in literature, there would be less impulsive people; people who think before they act. Imagine the murders that happened because of greed. What if that one person lived and they found the cure for cancer. Is it really necessary to own the fastest car, fancy clothes, and the newest iPod? Imagine a world where everyone put others before themselves. How would that impact daily life for those who are less fortunate and don’t even have a place to call home? Greed, of course, cannot be completely snuffed out because it is part of human nature, a fatal flaw, but if everyone gave instead of took, they hold the potential to change the world.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post! *applauds* The situation in Chile is just appalling.