I am greedy. I am content too. Repeat this 10 times daily when you get up. You may not see any results, it’s not a self help chant.
greed |griːd| noun [ mass noun ]
intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food.
content 1 |kənˈtɛnt| adjective
in a state of peaceful happiness: he seemed more content, less bitter.
willing to accept something; satisfied
verb [ with obj. ]
this is what the dictionary has to say about the two words.
Looking from a more radical line of thought, I think content and greed go hand in hand. Rather they should. The more content I am the more greedy I get. As soon as my greed increases, I start on my path towards a higher level of contentment. My greed for quest has taken me far and across.
It would not be wrong to say that I consider myself, as being a content greedy. For everything around me. Some aspects more than others. I am greedy. But I also remain content with what I have till that greed is satisfied. Love, affections, care, Friends, what I already have in life, I wouldn't trade it for anything else, except for maybe more of everything.
But then enough about me. Lets bring this to the table and have everyone in the picture. Greed applies to all. We have traditionally attached such negative sentiment to greed that we don’t want to accept it even when it is good. Greed is a good leveller. It does not differentiate between caste and creed. Rich or Poor. Infact the more we have abundance of something, the more greed too we accrue in our accounts.
What normally happens is we forget to revise the level of contentment in us and eventually start running after greedy aims in order to close then gap quickly.
Confusing? Picture this, there is a contestant in KBC. I hope this is a fair enough example as this is one show quite familiar. It has very simple rules, the entry to it though is still a mystery to many. On the show, answer a set of questions and they give you reward money. They have set minimum fallback levels too. With number of questions answered the fallback amount goes up. Many a times, I have seen people stuck at a question, they can’t answer, have no lifelines too. They decide to quit the show. Accepted. They take their winnings till that point and move on. Content and happy that they have been rewarded for their efforts aptly.
Lets change on small condition in this picture. What if the candidate can only take back the last minimum fall back amount, even if they quit? Right. So the fall back gap increases to alot. People closer to the fall back amount and wanting to quit may still quit, but people higher up with more risk of losing will not. They just have to take the question even if they don’t know it. Why? Because with this clause their level of minimum contentment has gone way down. It does not matter to them, that any amount they get is winnings. Its is now a question of winning more or losing more. The mind gets tricked in to seeing the loss is bigger. This is human nature. When the risk and rewards aren’t equally balanced, we tend to become inclined towards seeing what would be more profitable.
We also have the well read and heard story of Ali Baba and the 40 thieves. Its been told and retold with minor changes here and there. Also been made into motion pictures and cartoon movies. I wonder if the actual learning did ever get carried on?
Ali Baba wasn’t too different from the 40 thieves. He was stealing from then, what they stole from others. He hadn’t been himself ever waylaid and robbed by them. It was his greed to go in to the cave and take the riches and head back home. In a version of the story, there is his brother Qasim. When he finds out of this way to be rich, he compels Alibaba to take him to the same cave. He gets so lost in his greed that he wants to carry more and more back. This is what led to him being taken care of. Taken care of here stands for being put out of his greed and misery once and for all. Alibaba’s level of contentment was far better than Qasim’s. Hence the different end. Though we never know what happened to the riches after Abu Hassan was taken care of by Ali Baba. Abu Hassan - Leader of the forty thieves.
In essence, greed is good. Just like friction, it is a necessary evil. But what is more important is to be content with certain amount of everything. Unless we upgrade our level of contentment, we shall never stop and rest. We will only see the ever widening gap between what was Ok for us sometime back and where our greed wants to take us to.
In the end the choice, as usual, remains in our own hands. We can chose what we want to be greedy for, it could be knowledge, learning, spending more time with loved ones. But at the same time we have to be satisfied too. From this satisfaction stems gratefulness. And unless we are content and grateful for what we have achieved, we will always be sad and unhappy about something.