Greed, Power, And The Self-Absorbed

Question in my inbox: When do the greedy have enough wealth, the power-hungry have enough leverage and the self-absorbed have their egos stroked enough? Is there a limit? I feel lucky to have a job, a roof over my head and food in my belly. What do these people want? I, obviously, do not understand greed. Love your writing. Read it whenever work and life allows. Hope u r well, Cindy

A: Thanks for asking, Cindy. These are some questions that deserve full length books for answers, but I will give it a shot in just a couple of paragraphs. Keep in mind that these thoughts are mine, on the spur of the moment, and most certainly incomplete.

Addiction and Fear

From their own perspective, the greedy will never have enough wealth. Greed is a self reinforcing addiction, the more you have the more you want. Whether it’s money, stuff, friends or whatever, greed says you never have enough.

The power hungry only have enough leverage if they perceive that they are already the strongest. If they don’t believe that then they continue to try to leverage their power through intimidation of others, spreading fear among their allies, and purchasing mercenaries both private and from other governments. Look at the USA: We spend more on DEFENSE than ALL the other countries on this planet added together. Yet, our leaders still leverage their actions because they see us as weak and vulnerable. And guess what? That view actually does make us vulnerable.

Greed and hunger for power many times go hand in hand. One is simply a form of the other. Both probably have at their root a deep seated fear of not being ‘enough’. From what I have seen that fear has good reason to be in them, as usually they are not the smartest, or the nicest, or any of the other generally ‘good’ terms we assign to people. They are, however, usually the most thoughtless, careless, ungiving folks you’ll ever meet. So yeah, they should be paranoid about being such lousy specimens of humanity. There is no limit to what that paranoia will drive you to do.

What do these people want? They want the same as the rest of us, just more of it. So much more that you and I may not get our share. But above all that, I think they want security. They want to know they are as good as the folks they look down on. They will never attain that though because no matter what they do, their fears rule them to the grave. They will always be afraid.

It is never wrong to recognize the truth. 

Self absorbed folks really don’t need their egos stroked at all, though. They are down in there somewhere and the subtle or obvious stroking of their egos is forgotten as soon as you’re done with it. They are like cats. Stroke them only when they sit in your lap or rub your leg. Otherwise you’re just wasting time.