This week I had an interesting conversation with Billy… it revolved around his aspirations; how he wanted to pursue further studies in Engineering, how he liked quantum mechanics and non-linear dynamics so much, and he was wrong in trying to enter the IIMs through the CAT… he felt that doing so was to indulge in greediness and that the end result of a high profile MBA would be piles of money.
Well as much as I would like myself to believe that Billy’s aim in life was to indulge in technological game play and invent something that would be a life saver for human kind… my mind wasn’t able to comprehend his so called philanthropic version of leading a life. I mean thinking of dedicating your life for the good of society is not a bad thought at all… but is it really so easy to defeat all your desires and is it as easy to throw yourself above that harbinger of industry, that feeling that makes you aspire for another man’s butter, that base instinct that makes you want more….
If you look at the life process and the straitjacket thinking that engulfs an average human being from youth to old age... it would involve something like this. If the young man fresh out of college is from a background that has seen a lot of poverty and squalor, his immediate aim would be to earn money, oh yeah lots of it and somehow or the other bring his family out of the hellhole that they have been residing since eons. Further down the line it would go on getting modified but the nature remains the same… the same old materialistic desires
A roof to cover your head, a decent life for your parents and one for your own…. (They need not be the same; read vinay’s post on the same), further getting materialized into a new house, a car, a this and a that; a cycle which would go on and on within itself….
What starts as a simple wish of seeing your loved ones live a better life (and this I agree is a fundamental one and a person who does not have this is not fit to live in this society) degenerates into something much more potent and fallible: greed.
My argument that day in our conversation was that human being by nature is greedy (you call it by any other name, the song remains the same:)) and what varies is only the target of his greed. Consider the example of a business tycoon, a member of the Forbes Power List, who decides that he has had enough of all the money and good will that he has earned/ inherited and so is going to start a new venture… Is he doing it because he wants to further his business interest and increase his bank balance? Or is he doing it because he feels that this venture would offer employment to hundreds and thousands of individuals and would help them endear themselves to their individual greed? I mean is the guy really philanthropic after all… if he were, is starting a new venture really necessary? Couldn’t he have doled out the money to those individuals himself (as loans of course people)? Or is it because, as Billy said again, he is so very adventurous that he doesn’t mind playing such a high stakes game with a few billions of his money (not only his, of course…) and just the thrill of accomplishing a gargantuan feat? Or is it simply because Mr. Moneybags wants to that just a wee bit of extra pocket money and that dinner with on the plush yacht on the Riviera with the swish set…
So what is it if not materialistic desires (a milder way of putting greed to the champions of humanity…) that drives the world and its entire baggage … May it be societal, economic, political, geo-political, socio-economic etc.
I am not to say that materialism is wrong for that would mean we have been barking up the wrong tree since the inception of humanity and without it there would possibly be no reason for economics as a subject and consumerism as a byword to exist; but pray tell me, does a real philanthropist (the like of whom Billy claims himself to be) exist??
** Name changed to protect the subject’s identity :))
P.S. Take hope from the heart of man, and you make him a beast of prey.