Greed and Materialism: Getting to Minimalism and True Priorities

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Greed is driven by fear, and fear is one of the biggest motivators.  It is economically costly.  Fear and anxiety are behind low self-esteem, alcoholism, and other addictions.  Fear gets in the way of productivity more than anything else because peace of mind brings true efficiency.

Ambition gets in the way of accuracy.  It is hard to separate greed and ambition, but ambition can be fueled by passion and purpose.  I remember starting court reporting school with stars in my eyes.  I loved everything about it.  Efficient, challenging, only two years of school, a promising profession.  Most of the people who came through court reporting school’s doors heard about the money.  

It used to irritate me, until I realized my own fears that drive my own saving tendencies and more-is-more mindset after graduation, but I guess there’s some humility in finding hypocrisy, which is common for all humans.


We live in an individualistic and materialistic culture.  But what drives materialism and greed? What drives attention for identity or love?  I started doing research:  People who grow up economically deprived are more likely to be materialistic and to find excess attractive: The more-is-more attitude makes up for the deprivation felt on every level.  Also, millennials are far more materialistic than retirees.  So those who have the most money, are the least likely to value it.  I know it’s not everything that it seems – to have everything we think would make the world an ideal place.  The older we get, the more we know we don’t understand or the answers aren’t simple – humans are complex and valuable.  


Greed is constricting.  To worry about every receipt, coupon, or to fret about finances and career.  To be unable to donate money or to be happy without a life full of travel.  Certain music and beliefs and people feed into one another, and life continues to get more complex.  But underneath it all, we always come back to a few similar principles: Simplicity attracts simplicity.

True and valuable things can’t be bought.  There is a quote, “Anything that just costs money is cheap.”  With the wealthy, generosity is esteemed and can even be made into show.  I have seen with older people, how little they value money, and how much of it they give away.   

To be around people that are orderly and modest is healing.  Simplicity and transparency is the sunshine that illuminates intention to purify.


I’ve never been careless, and I do think people should save and choose a profession with the future in mind.  To be sensible and modest is to care.  Skill is valuable, hobbies are valuable. At the end of the day, passion included, work is work.  But it is what you make of work, or a poor background, or giving.  Humans give life meaning, money doesn’t give life meaning.  

Though money makes things simpler, and is envied, as individualism, values and simplicity make life truly rewarding.  Sometimes being true to yourself doesn’t stand out at all, but it’s easier to listen and to care.

We may work hard to show care — and that is admirable — but feeling consideration and love is what stands the test of time.  Love and presence is what people think of in memory, and that doesn’t cost anything.

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