Posts Tagged ‘Greed’

“The quest for riches darkens the sense of right and wrong.”
Antiphanes

I believe the greatest evil to come from man is greed. It destroys everything and everyone it touches. When we thirst for money, power, and respect we will bend what we consider to be right or wrong in order to justify the actions we have to do to achieve these ends. I think greed changes a man just as greed has completely destroyed our country. If broken down to the basics it can be said that greed has become more destructive than war. If we think about it war would not be possible if there was not greed behind it. I think everything dirty and wrong with man is rooted in greed. This very thing was responsible for the downfall of every great empire, and we have paved a road of gold leading to our downfall.

I know this to be true in my own experience. Prior to taking a job as a collector at Universal Acceptance Corp, I was a laid back Zen type of person. I had semi-strong morals and ethics. I was against greed, and against corporate America. I took the job as a collector and to be honest I had no expectations on what would become of me at this next stop. I had zero aspirations to achieve a higher status than a collector. I was in school during this time so I looked at this job as a pit stop. I figured I would work there for a year or two; then when I finished my degree I would be out. I didn’t end up moving on because my degree was in philosophy so it’s not like this opened a ton of new doors for me. I really do not know what I was thinking about there.

I had about nine years of management under my belt prior to taking this job. The person who interviewed me told me there was possibility of advancement, but I really wasn’t feeling it. After all these years I was sort of burned out from management. I wanted a job I could just go to then leave work at work; you know nothing really serious. I was not looking forward to doing collections because it was; well collections. This required a cold hearted person with a certain tact which I lacked. I am a very timid and shy, so I was not looking forward to having to be assertive. To my surprise I was very good at what I did. I managed to put some humanity into my position which worked better than the hard collect. I thoroughly enjoyed the bonuses, and when I saw how fast this company was expanding I set my eyes onto a management role. I worked my ass off until I was finally promoted. I started as a soft collector but over time turned to a pure dick collector because I understood my advancement depended upon it.

I stepped on friends and became cutthroat when it came time for the company to choose those who were to enter into the management training program. I remember there were six of us and only two spots. I was eventually promoted.  Now that I was managing my own team I learned about this company’s concept of the bottom line, and the things needed of me to achieve this. I of course excelled at my position and embraced this company’s philosophy and culture. The longer I worked for this company and the more I learned about how they did things the more I realized how evil this company was. They were predators feeding off those in dire straights. I went along with this and kept bending and changing my morals and ethics all in the name of advancement and bigger paychecks. Because of the years of bending and twisting my core values at work, I began to bend and twist my core values as a human being.

I did this all in the name of greed. I wanted more money so I could buy more stuff to fill my life with accomplishments and possessions. I can tell you by experience wealth and status is not that important. I contributed to the destruction of countless amounts of people, and I did this so my paycheck would be larger. We all contribute to this culture of greed. We bathe in it, and become intoxicated with filling our ego. This is not the way to live. This is not the way to treat your fellow man. We need to replace greed with charity and compassion. This is the only way we can right this ship off the path of destruction. Sadly in our current economic structure this will never be possible.

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Bought And Sold To The Highest Bidder.

“I don’t really trust a sane person.”
Lyle Alzado

Which is worse a man in the midst of insanity or the man who is under control and sane? I love this quote because it asks us to examine this question. At first you might say to yourself that the insane man is by far more dangerous, but is this true? Yes I think society has taught us to fear the insane, and trust the sane. I know full well the psyche of the insane; because I live it everyday. I do think however the more dangerous of the two is a man who is sane. I am not condemning the sane; I am simply saying they are harder to trust. At least you know what you are getting with someone who is a little wacky. If you understand the illness you will come to understand the behaviors. These behaviors become predictable and routine cycles. Sane people on the other hand are extremely unpredictable. They are able to plot diabolical schemes capable of harming millions of people.

I will use President Bush as an example. He may be simple minded, but he is not insane, even the evil overseer of Mr. Bush Dick Cheney by all definitions would be considered sane. These two men along with all their “sane” republican friends were responsible for immeasurable amounts of crazy shit. The war in Iraq was perpetrated by lies in order to gain support to start a war. They enacted such laws as the Patriot Act which in essence caused a piece of our freedom to be striped away from us. Because of this they are able to invade our privacy at the drop of a hat. Because of the war we have wasted trillions of dollars and caused the deaths of thousands of American troops and uncountable amounts of death to our enemies. Because of “sane” men and women our economy has completely crumbled, and our leaders actually passed a bill to bailout the very banks that were responsible for our downfall. These same “sane” leaders have allowed our government to be taken over by big business.

At least for those of us who are clinically insane we can take medicine to manage our symptoms. This same thing can not be said about the sane. There is nothing that can be done for those who lets say are so consumed with greed they would come up with a ponzi scheme to take billions of dollars away from unsuspecting people. An insane man could simply not come up with such an elaborate and organized scheme. I will not deny there are those who are criminally insane, and yes I could not see myself trusting them, but at least I can tell who they are. I am sure if I met Charles Manson on the street I would know I am up against a crazy fucker and should stay far away from him. The same can not be said about meeting Dick Cheney. If I were to just meet him on the street I would think he is some normal great guy, completely unaware of the evil inside of him.

Because of this uncertainty I just can’t bring myself to trust a sane person. They can easily hide their evil side, and their hidden agendas. There is no medication to take away their greed and corruption. I even believe many of the murderers out there would be considered by all medical definitions sane. I think as a society we need to label these individuals as “insane” to make us feel safe and more in control of our lives. The downfall of our society is not by the hands of the loonies walking the streets, but the “normal” men and woman perpetrating evil inside our government.

Lyle Alzado was an NFL defensive lineman. He was famous for his intense and intimidating style of play. He played 15 seasons, splitting his time between the Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns and most famously the Los Angeles Raiders, with whom he won a championship in Super Bowl XVIII. Alzado was one of the first major athletes to admit to using steroids. He died after a battle with brain cancer in 1992 at the age of 43. He retired in 1985 so I was not old enough to remember watching him play. He was one of the players of his era who defined the role of a defensive lineman.

When I was younger I wanted nothing to do with the establishment. I hated authority and in return authority hated me. When I was a child I was strongly compelled to do the complete opposite of what those in power told me to do. When I hit my teenage years my rebellion only got worse. I was riding the philosophy of bands such as “Rage Against The Machine,” “Pink Floyd,” “Green Day,” and “Nirvana.” There anti-establishment spoke to me. Even though I didn’t really know what was going on I still knew there was something drastically wrong with the system.

I never intended to get a real job; I figured I could live off of the money I made from dealing and be completely set. It wasn’t until I was about to have my first child I realized dealing was not the greatest business to be in. I learned many valuable things from my years spent in this business and figured I could easily transform what I had learned into a successful management career. Over the years I would slowly become part of the very same establishment I had grown to despise. It wasn’t until two years ago I begun laying the tracks to ensure I would never again be accepted by corporate America. I don’t want anything to do with the machine. I have always thought hell on earth was becoming a tool. I would rather live poor and save my soul then be rich making deals with the devil.

My first real job was managing a Video Update, and I loved how I could use my experience from managing dealers to managing employees. I did very well for myself and thought I could make a career out of retail management. I figured retail management is not a complete sell out. I ended up fitting the perfect little mold of what was expected of me in my position. I was making more money than most people my age, although a far cry from my previous line of work. I figured I had found my calling. As I got a few years older I had danced around in various retail management positions for a few years until I realized how lame it was. I was beginning to worry about seeing people I went to high school with, and feel the embarrassment of perceived failure. Looking back now I realize that working retail management is a noble career which pays well, but at the time I thought differently. I was making good money, but I felt I was degrading myself everyday I put on a uniform. I started to look for manager jobs outside of retail.

I ended up in this department manager position, which I totally loved. Without even knowing it I had entered the very establishment I wanted nothing to do with, and I was a good little tool. I did everything the vice president asked of me even if it meant going against my morals such as lay offs to increase profits. I did these things and I was great at them. I played a typical manager judging and disciplining those employees with families who god forbid had to call in sick. I went out to schmoozing lunches like a total douche, but I loved it. I felt important and I was making money. I lasted there long enough to be laid off by the very same people I had broke bread with, and the very same people I helped get richer. I made a cardinal sin; I ended up making myself expendable. I managed to get my department to run itself. It ran so well they no longer needed a full-time manager. When it came time for more layoffs I was an overpriced piece of meat. They laid me off and assigned the IT guy to oversee my department.

After leaving this position I found jobs here and there but nothing that was a good fit. I wondered around without a goal or identity. I finally ended up taking a job in collections which little did I know would forever alter my life. I am not going to go into great detail about this position because I touch on this job in more detail in other posts, but a quick synapses I started at the bottom destroying customers lives on a small scale into working my way up destroying peoples lives on a much larger one. Here I was living the dream; I made money and wielded power. I did this until it nearly destroyed me. I finally got strung out literally and figuratively on more levels than one and ended up quitting. This was one of the best decisions I had ever made. When I looked in the mirror I had become what I hated most in this world.

I took a few months off and within this time I did a lot of soul searching and in the process I got all tatted up. I did this as a symbolic statement in my final rebellion against the establishment that I not only hated but that almost destroyed my life. I ended up taking a job at a non-profit making peanuts compared to what I was making before, and I held zero authority. I continued to get tattoos, but felt there was still a small bridge that still existed between me and corporate culture. Acknowledging this I decided to do the only logical thing…I started to write. In putting myself out there like I do I have placed nukes on this bridge and blew this bitch down. In doing this I have all but sealed my own fate. I can guarantee you if I were to try and get another manager job, the human resource manger will Google my name and quickly shred my application. I write about a lot of very personal matters on this blog and in my books. There is no way a company would give me a job responsible for anything except a mop.

“A man should always consider how much he has more than he wants.”
Joseph Addison

How many of us are consumed with our wants? We live in a society fixated on the belief we can never have enough. No matter how hard we try we always judge our lives based on what we do not have as opposed to what we do have. If we were to just stop for a moment; be present in the moment and reflect upon what is right in front of our faces, we would see we are much more fortunate then we think we are. 

I have fallen to the evils of living strictly with consistently focusing on the things I didn’t have. I never had the right job, status, or pay I deserved. I never had a nice enough car. My house was not big enough. I never had the latest electronics, or enough clothes. The things I did have were never nice enough from what I really wanted. Living in this consistent desire to own more things infested my shen; preventing my chi from flowing properly through my body causing negative energy to rule supreme. This egocentric greed transformed me into a corporate scum bag. This transformation caused me to disconnect with my family, almost ruining my marriage, and my life. 

I was a big wig at an auto collection company. I made more money there than I made at my last two jobs combined. I scratched and clawed my way to the top not paying any attention to those I had to step on to get there. With every promotion I was never content; I always had my eye on the next promotion and never being content with my status. All day long I made my bonuses off of destroying people’s lives. One of my responsibilities was making the decision to repo peoples cars. When we would succeed the customer would call in crying begging for my mercy. I had no empathy; I was void of sympathy. I balked at the thought of assisting these people. I reveled in my perceived victory and told these customers “you should have paid your bill.”  I did not care that without their cars they would lose their jobs, and affect their family. I just cared about my bonus.

After awhile I was unable to keep my work attitude at work. It seeped into my personal life and I began having the same f u attitude at home. I was so stressed out from the hours and the toll it was having on my sub-conscience. I started to shut down and become just a big of dick at home as I was at work. Eventually it was so hard to bare I started using drugs to find relief so I could get through the day. My doctor prescribed me Ativan and Klonipin to ease my nerves. I started taking the prescribed dose, but over time I needed more and more. I then started taking pain killers everyday and everything snowballed out of control. I was finally unable to keep everything up in the air and hit the lowest bottom of my life.

I quit my job and stayed home for the summer to reconnect with my kids with my kids. I needed to have focused and dedicated time for not only them but my wife as well. When the summer was over I started to look for work. I took the first job I was offered at the nursing home where I currently work as a staffing coordinator. I took an enormous pay cut and moved to the very bottom of the totem pole with no chance of advancement, but something was telling me this was the right move. I had a hard time at first accepting where I was. I was bummed about the pay, and devastated by my lack of status and title. If you would have told me two years ago I thought this series of events was one of the best things to happen to me I would have laughed in your face.

As time passed I stopped putting such a high value on money. I no longer desired possessions, and for the first time I was grateful for the things I did have. There are four concepts the Tao has taught me so far.

  1. Stop desiring and just allow
  2. The Tao will provide me with everything I need at this moment
  3. Let go of my ego
  4. Live in the moment

I have yet to master these on a day to day basis, but for the most part it has become a way of life. The funny thing is all the possessions I always dreamed about have just come to me. I am living my dream of becoming a writer, and I founded the Bucket List Foundation. I achieved these things with action by no action. I think if we were all to take a step back and look at what we do have and find satisfaction with this our society may just become a better place.

Greed: Is the desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of the spiritual.

Greed was important during the historical time frame from which it came. The period contained two classes; the haves and the have-nots. The haves wanted to continue to have, and had no interest in sharing. I find this oxymoronic in a way, the Catholic Church and the Roman Empire preached the importance of not being greedy, yet somehow this did not apply to them. It is too bad, that our current society suffers from this same type of thinking.

The Empire was aware of the social unrest going on among the peasants. The Empire knew if the people banded together they would not be able to fend off the revolt. The Empires leaders were aware of how damaging unhappy people could be. Including greed and the threat of eternal damnation the Empire was able to keep the people from wanting more. When you combine pride, envy, and greed it forms a perfect trinity of repression.

Today’s society is rife with greed; this greed helps and destroys our society. The way greed helps our society is by creating new jobs due to new or expanding companies, and people’s greed for new things is what drives those businesses. It destroys our society, because of greedy leaders, and it creates a “me” first mentality.

America at one point was a Republic, for the people by the people, over time this changed into a Democracy. Today we “choose” our leaders, and trust they will do the right thing for the people, unfortunately most political leaders are funded by special interest groups. This aspect keeps our government to achieve any real progress. We have become a possession driven society. Greed is imbedded in us from the day we are born through the all powerful media.

I am not a huge fan of greed. I have seen it destroy many lives; I know the feeling of being stepped on by people you trust, as long as it benefits them. There was a time when I was consumed with greed, and it almost destroyed my marriage. I see a political system that is broken and consumed with greed; it is this greed which will halt any real reform. In my opinion people need to lose the “me first” mentality and adopt the “how may I serve” philosophy. If everyone lived by this motto, raised their kids on this motto, and if our leaders adopted this motto; our society would become a better place.