Sunday, April 17, 2016

     My topic tonight is Greed. Greed can come in many flavors:  the obsession for material things, a passion for power, a need to be the center of attention, an insatiable hunger for status or popularity; greed can take any number of forms. If you have never watched George Carlin’s schtick on “Stuff,” stop right now. Google George Carlin”Stuff,” and treat yourself to five minutes of hilarity by one of the classic observers of people and human nature. Carlin was more than a comic; he was a cultural prophet who made us look at ourselves like Molière did in the 17th century. He holds a mirror up to his audience, and says “Look at yourselves, people. You are all greedy.” And he was right. 

     Tonight, Mr. Wonderful and I watched a B movie, called “The Joneses.” It was weird but it made an important point: what price greed? where does “stuff” get us?

     When I was a teen-ager, I used to rag about my parents to my friends. I told them that my parents were more interested in buying me stuff than spending time with me. The “stuff” was a substitute for their affection, at least, it felt like that at the time. That was an unfair judgment on my part, but I was young, naive and unaware of the sacrifices they made to buy me all the “stuff” I embraced, all the while complaining about it. 

     “Stuff” doesn’t just fill our pockets and drawers; it fills our emptiness. It temporarily fills the void caused by a lack of self-acceptance, a need for someone with whom we can connect, a hole in our need to be whole. Think about the times you’ve gone out and bought some “stuff” because you were sad, mad or depressed. For a short time, that “stuff” did the trick. Maybe the “stuff” was liquid or powder or tobacco. It worked its magic temporarily, but the hole reopens, the anger resurfaces, and the problems don’t disappear. The “stuff” is just “stuff,” and the greed remains.

     What “stuff” would you pay to move? What “stuff” can you not live without? If you had to move to a tiny house or spend a year somewhere where you could take nothing other than what you could carry in your hands, what “stuff” would you take? The bottom line, I suppose, is that greed comes from  a deep-seeded hunger for something to fill a void. What void are you trying to fill, and what stuff are you putting in it?