Tuesday, September 25, 2018
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Spyglass: That Devil, Greed! 

By Azore Opio

Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and most other dictionaries define greed as a "very strong wish to continually get more of something, especially food or money…" In other words, wanting a lot more food or money than one really needs.

Beyond dictionary definition, greed is one of the objectionable vices classified under the Seven Deadly Sins, a.k.a the Capital Vices or Cardinal Sins which, used since early times to educate and instruct Christians on immoral man’s tendency to sin, consists of "lust", "gluttony", "greed", "sloth", "wrath", "envy", and "pride".

To these traditional seven sins, can be added equally objectionable sins; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and the like. Our concern here, today, is greed in its simplest forms and then we can take it from there, perhaps at a later date, to higher heights. In psychology, greed is the "excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth."

Theology says greed is the "excessive or rapacious desire and pursuit of money, wealth, power," and is generally considered a vice. If you take off time from the congenial bottle and glance at Colossians 3:5, you will be informed that greed is a form of idolatry, which posits that the greedy person values money or possessions more than God; closely connected to the worship of the golden calf.

Matthew 6:19-21, 24 says "lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also…

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Mammon… dah, dah, dah… Hang on, I am just trying to make you see or feel "greed" Webster’s dictionary defines Mammon as the false god of riches and avarice; riches regarded as an object of worship and greedy pursuit; wealth as an evil, more or less personified.

Winston defines it to mean: wealth, worldly gain; greed for riches; cupidity. Oxford defines it as god of wealth, regarded as evil or immoral; "those who worship mammon"; greedy people who value money too highly. The Buddhists believe greed is based on associating material wealth with happiness. Happiness Economics confirms this view that beyond the provision of basic material comfort, more wealth does not increase happiness.

Take a look at this guy who got up at 6 in the a.m one weekend and started drinking in a bar for 18 straight hours… When he managed to leave the bar in the deep of night, he drove in the opposite direction to his house. When he came to in the morning, the sun was a quarter way in the sky. People going to church had been passing his vehicle and him parked in the middle of the street and imagining he was dead. He felt like shit. He was dehydrated and exhausted physically and mentally. He was crabby and generally pissy. He even felt vomitous. What do you call that? Gluttony? Greed?

How about this other bloke who has been battling fatigue for the past three days as I write and it has not been pleasant.  He went to a party, soaked beer like a sponge. He first guzzled eight bottles of 33 Export, a bottle of wine and topped it with half a bottle of whisky until the melange was running out of his nostrils and ears. Somehow, he managed to navigate his way back home. When he was one with his bed, he started feeling dizzy and had the sensation of floating, of spinning, whirling with his bed. His body was leaden; sleep only came fitfully, fraught with weird dreams. Greed!

Greed makes you mean. Stupid! Greed tempts the gluttonous to gobble beyond the ability to digest. There is a man who finished primary school at gun point and goes by the ponderous name of Mr. Grinder. He weighs somewhere around 300 kg, wears XXXX T-shirts and with a 60-centimetre waist. Looking at him, you would think he is likely to be dead in six months. As glib and smooth on his feet as with his mouth, he joined a funeral convoy to the West Region. His love for chow propelled him to the flesh pots where fatty pork chops were boiling.
"Madam," says he to the woman in charge of the pots, "I know you for Buea, no?"
"Yes, I know you too." "If na so, just begin di gi me dat fat, fat part dem."

The woman being so kind served him the fatty chops which Mr. Grinder gorged himself on before going back to his seat where he sat like a fat toad. Then a host came along with a tray full of roast beef with tooth picks stuck into them. Grinder held up his hand, Mr, I don’t know how you guys in Batie do things, but in Buea we don’t use tooth picks to eat. Will you just leave the tray here? Then he attacked the pork. Normally, the journey from Batie to Buea takes a mere three hours, but the bus that Fat Toad boarded took forever.

"Una stop, I wan shit, if una no stop, I don shit!" And so after every 10 km, Grinder would stop to empty his bowels. Greed. There are many instances that demonstrate greed. What about the angelic faced CEO who turns out to be an ogre that prefers to lock a bowl of roast pork in his drawer for midnight snacking? The CEO who wants to be manager, accountant, salesman, the minute secretary, all at the same time? Greed!

When living in continuing greedy situations, many people become so greedy that they exhibit signs of mental illness. Not that they will need hospitalization. Most simply withdraw from any responsibility and refuse to be part of any decision. This form of escape, unfortunately, creates more opportunities for the greedy man to become even greedier.

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