virgin islands scene

We believe as much as we can. We would believe everything if we could.
-- William James
 

 

Tuesday, March 21, 2000

The deception of greed

It may often appear that self interest is greedy, and that greed is in one’s self interest. Neither is true. Both assumptions are tragically and completely wrong.

Ultimately, acting in your own self interest is the height of responsibility. This is because your own interests are best served by serving the interests of the world in which you live. Greed, on the other hand, is the abdication of responsibility, the expectation that you can indefinitely live off the efforts of others without providing any value in return.

The difference between self interest and greed is the difference between civilized behavior and anarchy, the difference between trust and suspicion, the difference between fulfillment and despair. Greed is a lie, a terrible deception. The expectation that one can take more than one gives is a sad illusion.

Greed will get you nothing worth having. The best strategy for advancing your own self interest is to live responsibly, with respect and gratitude. Always keep in mind that you are a part of your own world. Act accordingly, and that world will be a beautiful place.

— Ralph Marston

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