October 5, 2011

Need Not Greed

Whether you call it reducing your ecological footprint, sustainable/green living, or living simply, all directly or indirectly address the problem of greed. Gandhi, a simple living advocate, knew that the earth could provide for everyone's need, but not their greed. And yet our whole system is based on the premise that humans are basically greedy, and that this greed can be used for good.

Another Indian thinker, Rabindranath Tagore, stated very clearly the dangers of basing an economic system on greed.
"The greed of gain has no time or limit to its capaciousness. Its one object is to produce and consume. It has pity neither for beautiful nature nor for living human beings. It is ruthlessly ready without a moment's hesitation to crush beauty and life out of them, molding them into money."
Had Tagore lived past 1941 to the present era, he might have been shocked and disappointed by the flagrant and institutionalized greed. All over the world people are fighting back, and I am sure he would have joined them. People are tired of the cruel effects of harsh, heartless systems that crush all the beauty out of life while trying to turn the greatest profit.

E.F. Schumacher, in Small is Beautiful, reminded us of how we can do battle with the ever-present enemy, greed. He suggested we could disarm greed and envy "by being much less greedy and envious ourselves; perhaps by resisting the temptation of letting our luxuries become needs; and perhaps by even scrutinizing our needs to see if they cannot be simplified and reduced."

The ideas and attitudes referred to by these wonderful teachers are reflected in my life through the practice of low-impact, (more) sustainable, simple living. By living a lifestyle guided by my needs, I reduce the amount of damage being done on my behalf.

I want to create and sustain beauty, not crush it for selfish personal gain. I can do this by resisting temptations to give in to luxury and excess, and by living simply.

1 comment:

  1. Species forest?

    Inherited land is like found money; you won't miss it and returning acres to the natural landscape forever is probably one of the best thing you can do in your life. http://speciesforest.blogspot.com/
    Don't convert your inherited land to dollars.


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