Greed is one of the Seven Deadly Sins septych. Not everyone sees greed as a sin, of course. It is arguably the very foundation of capitalism. (Milton Friedman: see this YouTube clip; Searches yield articles like: What motivates online social participation? …good SEO… well, after first re-defining greed as “enlightened self-interest.”) I was more interested in the artistic portrayal of such a remarkable motivator though.
From Wikipedia then, this definition:
Greed is the inordinate desire to possess wealth, goods, or objects of abstract value with the intention to keep it for one’s self, far beyond the dictates of basic survival and comfort. It is applied to a markedly high desire for and pursuit of wealth, status, and power. (My bold: thus devolved from ‘enlightened self-interest‘ to ‘avarice‘)
As a secular psychological concept, greed is, similarly, an inordinate desire to acquire or possess more than one needs. It is typically used to criticize those who seek excessive material wealth, although it may apply to the need to feel more excessively moral, social, or otherwise better than someone else.
Oh, dopaMine! Oh, sanctiMony! Oh, Narcissism!
Furthermore, these quotations from people whose work I have enjoyed:
“All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry” (Edgar Allen Poe)
“No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.” (P. J. O’Rourke)
“To make a business decision, you don’t need much philosophy; all you need is greed, and maybe a little knowledge of how the game works.” (Bill Watterson)
“It always seemed strange to me that the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, aquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and selfinterest are the traits of sucess. And while men admire the quality of the first, they love the produce of the second.” (John Steinbeck)
Why the toad? Animals are often anthropomorphized unfairly. (Stereotypes) I chose the toad because it had a nice big mouth. Here is an interesting site that shows the yellow frog as the symbol for greed as well: 7 Deadly Sins. It is perfectly possible that all my casual research into the sins just spat out the yellow toad. This same site points us to the delightful punishment for being greedy:
“You’ll be boiled alive in oil. Bear in mind that it’s the finest, most luxurious boiling oil that money can buy, but it’s still boiling.“
(Don’t use olive oil, olive oil is not suitable for boiling at high temperatures…on the other hand, maybe that’s just if you want to eat the boileé… Also, there’s no accounting for hellish taste. Avocado oil has a good smoke point. If it has to be olive-, go with the pomace grade, I say.)
I have strayed badly from my initial art-only interest. Since I’m well into ramble-land now, I have to add this, by Voltaire:
I just discovered this gem in Voltaire’s Letters on England. Voltaire responds to Blaise Pascal’s pronouncement that,
“We are born unjust, for each of us is out for himself. That is against all order. We should work for the general good, and the tendency towards self-interest is the beginning of all disorder, in warfare, government, economy, etc.”
with this rejoinder (emphasis added):
“That is perfectly in order. It is as impossible for a society to be formed and be durable without self-interest as it would be to produce children without carnal desire or to think of eating without appetite, etc. It is love of self that encourages love of others, it is through our mutual needs that we are useful to the human race. That is the foundation of all commerce, the eternal link between men. Without it not a single art would have been invented, no society of ten people formed.”
It’s much easier not to explain paintings…now I have tons to read…I HAVE to find out how it is possible that “Education is Ignorance” à-la-Chomsky…
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- Greed, Not Generosity, More Likely To Be ‘Paid Forward’ (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Silicon Valley greed in the long and short term (pandodaily.com)
- Treat Greed in Africa as a War Crime – Kamari Maxine Clarke (emotanafricana.com)
- Waves of Anti-Greed Movements in the United States (dissidentvoice.org)
- Word of the Week: Avarice (awesomebooksforlife.wordpress.com)
- What Motivates online Social Participation