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Pleonexia -- Pathological Greed

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posted on Jan, 29 2011 @ 03:29 PM

CHINESE philosopher Lao Tzu wrote 2,500 years ago: ‘There is no calamity greater than lavish desires, no greater guilt than discontentment and no greater disaster than greed.' If he's right, we've concocted a mighty sick world for ourselves. The infamous ‘greedy Eighties' turned out to be a mere dress rehearsal for one of the most spectacular greed surges in history, with jaw-dropping degrees of stockmarket folly, corporate skullduggery, decadence, excess and high-octane narcissism. But, just as with the ‘lessons of the Eighties', the ‘lessons of the late Nineties' fall on deaf ears. The overriding lesson seems to be that greed is sweet for the economy.



More and more mental-health professionals are saying that greed is not nearly as good for people as it is for economies, with some warning that greed is beginning to overwhelm conscience, reason, compassion, love, family bonds and community. Moreover, existing levels of constant greed are causing clinical depression and despair in many people.
The term ‘pleonexia' is being used to diagnose pathological greed that can contribute to a host of ills, including stress, burnout, gambling addictions, compulsive shopping, ‘affluenza' and loss of moral grounding.


Pathological greed is not a private matter. When billionaires avoid taxes, the burden falls on high school teachers and steelworkers, while our children's schools are underfunded and health care is out of reach for millions of Americans. When Wal-Mart pays its employees so little that they qualify for public assistance, American taxpayers pick up the tab. While the pathologically greedy have been getting their fixes, non-neurotic Americans are working harder than ever and making less money than they did 30 years ago. People who are addicted to money typically feel no satisfaction in it unless they know they're forcing someone else to feel as deprived as they themselves feel.
Hoarding money, like hoarding power, or hoarding bottles of liquor in hiding places around the house, is a sign of dysphoria -- an inability to achieve contentment or satisfaction. Nothing is enough. Even too much isn't enough.
Like those addicted to tobacco or heroin, the money addict has a hole in his ego. No matter how hard he tries to pump it up, his ego keeps leaking, and he has to have more money, more status, more power, more fame.

These articles also stress the goodness of greed, indicating it moves us accomplish new things, invent new things, and provides us with the motivation to bring innovative trinkets and pleasures into our lives. However, the greedier we get, the more we deplete our environment, and nobody seems to have figured out how to manage that.

The difference in some people -- some must have a home in every country, countless yachts, the most expensive things money can buy.

Others can be perfectly happy in a cabin in the woods.

Makes you wonder.

posted on Jan, 29 2011 @ 03:42 PM

Pleonexia, sometimes called pleonexy, originates from the Greek language πλεονεξια and is a philosophical and ethical concept employed both in the New Testament and in writings by Plato and Aristotle. It roughly corresponds to greed, covetousness, or avarice, and is strictly defined as "the insatiable desire to have what rightfully belongs to others", suggesting what Ritenbaugh describes as "ruthless self-seeking and an arrogant assumption that others and things exist for one's own benefit".

Christian concepts of pleonexia

Pleonexia, being mentioned in the New Testament in Colossians 3 verses 1–11 and Luke 12 verses 13–21, has been the subject of commentary by Christian theologians.

William Barclay[2] describes pleonexia as an "accursed love of having", which "will pursue its own interests with complete disregard for the rights of others, and even for the considerations of common humanity". He labels it an aggressive vice that operates in three spheres of life. In the material sphere involves "grasping at money and goods, regardless of honour and honesty". In the ethical sphere it is "the ambition which tramples on others to gain something which is not properly meant for it". In the moral sphere, it is "the unbridled lust which takes its pleasure where it has no right to take".

Appalling, isn't it? It seems this deviant sense of entitlement easily finds it way into world leadership.

edit on 1/29/2011 by ladyinwaiting because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 29 2011 @ 03:51 PM
reply to post by ladyinwaiting

I like the Lao Tzu comment, such timeless wisdom, and I wonder what he would think of today's madness. It's too bad we can't implement some more Eastern perspective into our Western momentum, a little zen might do us some good.
I do believe more and more people are recognizing the growing amount and destruction of greed, but since the most destructive greed comes from those in power, any condemnation seems to miss those in the ivory towers. I still think we have power as consumers and in deciding what we purchase, but everyone is too distracted and enslaved by economic servitude to really address this situation, imo.

However, the greedier we get, the more we deplete our environment, and nobody seems to have figured out how to manage that.

Ya know, of all the ridiculous symptoms Big Pharma goes after, why hasn't the anti-greed pill come out yet?
"Pleonexia," hey thanks for my word o the day, I did not know this one.


posted on Jan, 29 2011 @ 04:02 PM
When people with egos still intact come into power, they know no boundaries. The ego looks around and takes notice of what they have, and the boundaries that are non existent. The 'Elite' of today are no exception. They all come from a long line of rich ancestry that hasn't been put through monetary hardships and struggles to learn that important lesson. Instead, they have no boundaries nor limits, and they trample on the ones lower then them. Put all their problems on ones 'beneath' them and then the ones who are trampled on put their problems onto others 'beneath' them etc. It's called a pyramid scheme for a reason. It comes trickling down to where we view the world now. Joe Blow isn't going to get a spot in the higher up even though he's learnt many lessons, because he's not apart of the lavish lifestyle of rich and wealthy. Satan (the ego) does indeed rule the world these days. I can tell you with fact though he won't be much longer.

Agree/disagree all you like but this world is crumbling. It has to because once it crumbles and we realize what went wrong, we'll have learnt a planetary lesson. The world can't always rely on oil or limited resources and expect nature to be all happy and go lucky with humanity. We can't continue farming the animals by feeding them their own #. Does anyone really believe we can still rely on oil and cars in 50 years time? That we can use the same farming techniques while at this very moment more and more species we rely on die off.

There ain't no reptilians nor evil forces at work behind doors. There's just.. us. We're still very animalistic, we're just living in cities now rather then nature. I'm still flabbergasted we're questioning that there's something wrong with the world. We're in the Dark Age. People starving, mindlessly looking at materialistic objects, fascinated with the next shiny thing. We don't see it because we don't want to. Ask Mother Earth her take as she's raped of oil, her blood dirty and vile, the air polluted at the expense of giving us another second to hide from ourselves. The sole problem is we hide from ourselves. We don't want to face brutal conditions to where we have to fight to our last breath because that'd be the end of the Ego, the end of this world. A change for the better. We hate change. lol

posted on Jan, 29 2011 @ 05:00 PM
reply to post by speculativeoptimist

This is my favorite:

The infamous ‘greedy Eighties' turned out to be a mere dress rehearsal for one of the most spectacular greed surges in history, with jaw-dropping degrees of stockmarket folly, corporate skullduggery, decadence, excess and high-octane narcissism.

The eighties, the rising of the "Yuppies", and everyone thought they needed to own a BMW, and pre-approved credit cards arrived in the mailbox on a daily basis. They wanted everything, and they wanted it all the first year they graduated from college.

To say that period was a "dress rehearsal", for this global surge of greed is not a very attractive endorsement.
Anyway, Greed is apparenlty not just an American characteristic anymore. It's gone global.
edit on 1/29/2011 by ladyinwaiting because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 29 2011 @ 05:04 PM
Having known first hand people who have struggled with addiction, I know that AA is one of the few things that help. One of the primary tenets of AA is that all addictions are basically rooted in a spiritual sickness.
The damage done by addictions to drug and alcohol, well known and bad enough in their own right, pale in comparison to the damages done by addiction to wealth and power.
What the world needs is a twelve step program for pleonexia. PA.

posted on Jan, 29 2011 @ 05:04 PM
reply to post by OneLife

Good lord, bravo! You ended your post with "lol", but damn, that was moving.

posted on Jan, 29 2011 @ 05:06 PM
It was the 80's where this seemed to take off, "greed is good." I like Elizabeth Warrens breakdown of where we went wrong. It is my opinion that this started when regulations were relaxed.

Warren on AIG

I know this has Moore in it, but listen to Elizabeth here in regards to greed and how Capitalism has become a vehicle for hijacking fairness. No, I am not a commi, I am suggesting that the system, like any good motor, needs periodic tune ups and/or modifications, addressing any malfunctioning or dysfunctional parts of the whole.

edit on 29-1-2011 by speculativeoptimist because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 29 2011 @ 05:16 PM
Confucius said: "The gentleman understands what is right; the inferior man understands what is profitable."

Humanity will conquer this soon. The fact that the majority of humans will not fight for each other, and rather have a worthless piece of paper which represents their psuedo-success is mindboggling to say the least. We will eventually learn as a species that our current system, which is mostly controlled by greed, is not sustaining. It will either fall hard, or simply be a gradual transition. I doubt it will be the latter.

posted on Jan, 29 2011 @ 05:18 PM
reply to post by jlv70

What the world needs is a twelve step program for pleonexia.

And they would sit in the meetings trying to appear quietly charming, while secreting trying to swindle and cheat their peers out of love and money.

But you're right. Before anybody can work on a personal problem, they must first realize they have it.

posted on Jan, 29 2011 @ 05:25 PM
This is a new word for me too. For anyone interested in it's orgins:


Pleonexia is a word transliterated directly from the Greek. and means greed or avarice. The adjectival form, pleonectic, is even more attractive to pronounce, perhaps because we have other words in English ending in "ectic" or "etic" that are very visual in their connotations or useful to employ (e.g., splenetic or anticlimatic). Thus, saying that a person has a pleonectic disposition or manner means that s/he is greedy or avaricious.

Plato uses pleonexia in the Republic as a word to characterize Thrasymachus' attitude toward justice. Thrasymachus says, in Book I of the Grube/Reeve translation, "A person of great power outdoes everyone else." The Greek word rendered as outdoes is pleonektein. Reeve comments that for Plato "pleonexia is, or is the cause of, injustice (359c), since always wanting to outdo others leads one to try to get what belongs to them, which isn't one's own." Thus it is no surprise that when Plato gives his (admittedly anticlimatic) definition of justice in Book IV it is something where each person does his own (unique) work or keeps his own things. Pleonexia, greed, is at the heart of injustice.


edit on 1/29/2011 by ladyinwaiting because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 29 2011 @ 05:32 PM
I would say the harm isn't if someone has 10 cars, a yacht, a huge mansion, ect. But the effect it has on immaterial things, like community. That rich person could give away 8 cars, but even then if the recipients are happy/content, it still doesn't have any impact on community. The recipients are making the same mistakes as the rich, "greedy" people they look down upon. The rich and the poor might be stuck in a conundrum whether they realize it or not, and probably the rich are the ones who know of this problem more than anyone else....sort of a matter of "Don't hate the player, hate the game".
edit on 29-1-2011 by ghaleon12 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 29 2011 @ 11:21 PM
I think greed is the biggest problem that we have. Greedy consumers demand good products which greedy companies are happy to provide, with low-wage employees and stylish but cheap products not built to last, and greedy governments far more interesting in filling their own pockets than taking a stand against either side of this coin. Wars are extremely profitable, and so is oil. Due to greed science, spiritualism and the planet upon which we are dependent for survival all suffer.

Some would try to pin this on fear, pride or ignorance. But let’s be real here, it comes down to wanting for ourselves. Some try to point the finger to secret societies, and although many do exist and some may be evil they are hardly to blame. Many place the sole blame upon companies, but they are filling the need of the people. The problem is the greed in the human heart, and until we can outgrow this problem we will all continue to suffer from its consequences.

I would not describe greed as a pathology (disease) however as it is a naturally inherent characteristic of humanity.

posted on Jan, 29 2011 @ 11:42 PM
reply to post by ladyinwaiting

Three great forces rule the world: stupidity, fear and greed. --Albert Einstein

Interesting...that was his perspective. Its near true...
I am more rose colored...I would have say I think love is still a powerful force at work in the world.

However, Einstein focused on the weaker side of humanity...

Just tossing it out there, if love can conquer fear, what conquers greed?

Charity perhaps?

posted on Jan, 30 2011 @ 12:05 AM
I think Jesus says it best," the love of money is the roor of evil."
Or was it moses?
Whomever, the point is well taken, with s&f for ops perception.
I have recognozed this problem for a long while.
We are caught in a connundrum.(several actually)
While the above remains true, the need to come up with sustenance requires playing the game to a greater, or lessor degree.
When successful at doing so, most find this advance in their fortunes yield a many tentacled rush, which is physical, as well as mental/emotional and forever after becons us.
The basis for our endeavour, invariably ends up with a monetary value.
It is a strong personality indeed, that does NOT end up addicted to making money.........

posted on Jan, 30 2011 @ 03:44 AM
reply to post by burntheships

Love is still going strong and in my opinion its getting stronger, as is compassion and hope. These are the cures the world requires we need to change to them being our motivating states of mind and I sometimes briefly feel disheartened when people continue to focus on the negative, so well done on adding a positive flavour to the thread.

Love others as you should love yourself and watch the worlds problems dissolve. (sorry for hippy speak)

Giving destroys Greed, and it does not have to be material, it could be time, compassion or love etc.
edit on 30-1-2011 by Jamjar because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 30 2011 @ 07:58 AM

Mubarak has taken real estate, liquid cash, royal yachts, and has 40 billion in cash and assets hidden away in banks around the world for easy access namely in: Germany, United States, UK, Switzerland, Scotland, England, Dubai, Madrid and other countries. The Alaa Mubarak has properties both inside the country or in the United States major cities of Washington, LA and New York on the finest streets of the land.

His wife Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak and their two sons also are incredibly wealthy and the first lady has another 3-5 billion for her own personal use.
Mubarak’s wealth also has ties to large corporate US interests such as:
Marlboro, Hermes, Mcdonalds, Vodafone, Hyundai, Chili and other large corporations.

It is no surprise that the people of Egypt are starving, jobless and have been robbed of their countries wealth because President Mubarak and his greedy relatives have stolen all from his own country.

"Wonder how many pairs of shoes his wife owns? Kind of reminds me of Imelda Marcos.......... "

I posted the above on another thread, and then started thinking about Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, and all the pain an entire country experienced because of their greed.

I found some quotes that I think fit these situations:

The Greed is unraveling. It's the unraveling and it undoes all the joy that could be.

Joni Mitchell

To Greed, all of nature is insufficient.


When greed becomes this pathological, there must inherently be more involved characteristically. The sense of entitlement walks hand in hand with narcissism, and the lack of compassion for those from whom you are stealing walks in hand with antisocial personaity disorder.

And to think you can get away with these behaviors indefinitely, is in hand with stupidity.

Parents who are Greedy, raise children who are thieves.

Serbian Proverb

posted on Jan, 30 2011 @ 03:18 PM
I shop. Therefore I am.

If it was only that simple.

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