#151 – Affluenza: The Dogged Pursuit of More

The earth has enough for mankind’s needs,
but not for its greeds!  –
Gandhi

Is our species predestined to self-destruction? Does the security center of the false-self survival strategy (greed) define our future to the exclusion of more rational, more life-enhancing expressions? An early American millionaire serves as an exception and an example to today’s grim acquisitiveness of many of our grasping 10%.

Peter Cooper (1791-1883) lived his life demonstrating generosity and compassion and no small amount of wisdom. “The production of wealth is not the work of any one man, and the acquisition of great fortunes is not possible without the co-operation of multitudes of men; and, therefore the individuals to whose lot these fortunes fall should never lose sight of the fact that as they hold them by the will of society expressed in statute law, so they should administer them as trustees for the benefit of society as inculcated by moral law.” (1)

Cooper was, of course, the exception and soon we entered the age of the “robber barons” many of whom found little satisfaction in sharing their wealth. “The heyday of grifting, from the 1900s to the stock-market crash of 1929, was a time of preternatural abundance; Herbert Hoover, accepting the Republican Party’s nomination for president in 1928, predicated an imminent ‘triumph over poverty.’ But not everyone benefited: The next year, earners in the top 10 percent took in nearly half of the nation’s income, while those in the top 1 percent took in nearly 15 percent.” (2)

Do we really understand the role played by the pursuit of wealth in the identity of most homo-sapiens? “Former Wal-Mart executive, Don Soderquist was nonplussed about the behavior of fellow corporate executives who were indicted by grand juries in 2005. ‘All of them were millionaires … What is the deal? … It boggles the mind … It defies the imagination. It doesn’t add up.’ Of course, in the context of a model that takes a more sophisticated look at human identity it all adds up very easily. The energy centers of the false self whether they are striving for security, power or sensation can never get enough to be satisfied.” (3)

Greedy for more insights? Click on the link below.

Insight # 151:  For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.  –Proverbs 1:24-27, 32

Link:

Government by the False Self, Of the False Self, and for the False Self,” in this blog and also in print version, Who Am I? The Second Great Question Concerning the Nature of Reality (2013), by Roy Charles Henry, pages 69-72.

References:

  1. Lyon, Peter. “The Honest Man,” American Heritage, February 1959, page 5.
  2. Mishan, Ligaya. “Catch Me if You Can,” The New York Times Style Magazine, September 22, 2019, page 54.
  3. Henry, Roy Charles. “We Know Why!Who Am I?, October 2013, page 48.

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