Arrogance – n – offensively exaggerating one’s own importance.
Greed – n – acquisitive or selfish desire beyond reason.
You may note that in neither of these definitions is there any indication that these are good attributes. In fact, the words “offensively” and “selfish” would indicate just the opposite. Greed is a listed member of the Seven Deadly Sins, whereas arrogance seems to be akin to pride, another one of the seven.
If I were a Baptist preacher, like my father and grandfather, I might be raising my voice and waving my Bible in the air as I speak of arrogance and greed. But I am not, and I don’t really have a good personal definition of sin, so there will be no hell-fire-and-brimstone sermon. However, in my opinion these are very disturbing and disgusting personal characteristics.
Sadly, as I observe the world from my little corner, I am acutely aware of the frightening abundance of these characteristics in leaders, public servants, and corporate moguls. I am usually not prone to post about politics and religion on my blog, but in this case, there is no way around it.
In this discussion, religion and politics are difficult to separate. The participants in each are convinced that they are right and every other opinion is wrong – arrogance. The rewards for staying in a position to further their own importance is so great they will do anything necessary to retain those benefits – greed. People are killed, human rights are violated, and wars are started. This has been going on for as long as history has been recorded, and most certainly before.
In our own federal government, there is no such thing as compromise without benefits. Politicians are so hell-bent on being re-elected and retaining their position of influence, that they cannot serve the greater good. I’m not convinced they can even see the greater good.
Religious radicals of all faiths are willing to kill and be killed in order to sustain what they believe to be the “only truth.” The Inquisition, 9/11, bombing abortion clinics, denying human rights based on sexual orientation, denying women equal rights, suicide bombers are all examples of how arrogance and greed are played out in the world’s religions.
There is no need to go into any detail about corporate moguls. We have seen and heard enough. Arrogance and greed are their creed. Some exceptions are notable, but they are few and far between.
I saw an interesting item on the Spirituality Network recently, which is a rather humorous take on the arrogance of the “white man” as it relates to developing the land we now know as the United States of America.
In case you cannot read what it says, let me share the text with you.
Indian Chief “Two Eagles” was recently asked by a white U.S. government official, “You have observed the white man for 90 years. You’ve seen his wars and technological advances. You’ve seen his progress, and the damage he has done.”
The Chief nodded in agreement.
The official continued, “Considering all these events, in your opinion, where did the white man go wrong?”
“When white man find land, Indian running it, no taxes, no debt, plenty buffalo, plenty beaver, clean water. Women did all the work. Medicine man free. Indian man spend all day hunting and fishing; all night having sex.”
Then the Chief leaned back and smiled, “Only white man dumb enough to think he could improve system like that.”
ARROGANCE AND GREED!