Greed is defined as an intense and selfish desire for food, wealth, or power. The power part really gets to me. Greed for power is about getting wealth, getting food, getting everything. In my thoughts about greed, I began to think about the Seven Deadly Sins, also known as the Capital Vices or Cardinal Sins. Greed is among them. But I think it is more than just one of them. The Seven Capital Vices are lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride.
What is lust? Is not lust a desire to have something, or someone, that you cannot have or are betrothed to another? Its definitions are, a strong sexual desire, a passionate desire for something, and in a theology, a sensuous appetite regarded as sinful. As such, isn’t lust a form of greed?
What of gluttony? Is this not a desire to consume more than you should, a desire to consume more than you need? Its definition is an habitual greed or excess in eating. Well, greed is right in the definition.
What about sloth? We can set aside the animal, the sloth. The remaining definition is a reluctance to work. It would be possible to say it is the desire to maintain existence without applying the effort needed to maintain that existence. Sounds a bit greedy to me.
How about wrath? It means extreme anger. Well, I do not see any greed there, just a lack of control.
But envy is another matter. Its definitions are a discontented or resentful longing aroused by another’s possessions, qualities, or luck, or (the envy of) a person or thing that inspires such a feeling. Basically, envy is a greed for the things or abilities of others.
Pride’s definitions are a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from achievements, qualities, or possessions, or a cause or source of such a feeling, or a consciousness of one’s own dignity, or the quality of having an excessively high opinion of oneself, or a group of lions forming a social unit. So pride, with the exception of a bunch of lions, is a pleasure derived from possessions or a satisfaction with one’s own power, and as such also has a touch of greed in it.
So, when boiled down, the Seven Deadly Sins, the Seven Capital Vices, seem to be really only two, greed and wrath. A person full or wrath and greed cannot have much honor. Much of America seems to have embraced greed as a good thing. Our banking industry is based on it, Wall Street runs on it, and politicians are full of it. Considering our many wars, our drone programs, and inflated military complex, have we also embraced wrath? Is this the mark of America today, greed and wrath, all of the seven cardinal vices lumped together?