Fear and Greed - Carl Richards

Einstein said, “There are 3 great forces in the world. Stupidity, fear and greed.” And looking at today's world, who can contradict him?

Thinking about the latest war, the one in the Ukraine, it seems obvious to me that the autocratic leaders in the world today, all act from a basis of fear. Fear of losing power, fear of others gaining some sort of control, fear of missing out.

At the same time, fear is also an aspect of greed. Greed for more of anything is also based on the fear of missing out (FOMO) or losing something. 

I find that behaviour and the rational (if there is one) behind it, utterly ridiculous. That's the stupidity bit. Why? Let's look at reality for an answer.

Reality is the fact that:

  • Not one single human being on the planet is the same as another. Each one is unique in time and space and that uniqueness is so real that there has never and never will be another individual like you or me or anyone in all of time. 
  • Not a single person on the planet comes born with possessions other than their body. Not a single person has been able to take anything with them when they die. So the accumulation of stuff (including people) is only temporary - it's more of a loan and usage than ownership.
  • Not one human being is born because of a human law. Our laws - which vary from place to place, from culture to culture and from time to time are as fictitious as the idea of possession.
  • Look into a microscope and you see the endless molecules, atoms, chemicals, currents, etc. Any scientist worth his salt and honest, will tell you that the sheer complexity of that micro-universe means that we will never fully understand or control it. So, all the autocrats discover this at some point: they are not really in charge, life does not evolve according to their plans, however carefully designed. Mr. Putin is currently discovering that reality is way beyond his powers to control.

So what's my point? Well, it's time to get back to basics. Realise that you're unique, with a unique opportunity to have a body and all the possible experiences which that offers for the few years given to us. So running after ephemerals like power and possession means losing perspective of the amazing fact of being a human being, given life and an opportunity to enjoy that, which is far more valuable than running after stuff you can't take with you and pretending that you actually have your own and the lives of others under your control. It might seem as if you have it all sorted, but just wait - the next event which contradicts your expectations is just around the corner. If you need a reminder, take a daily stroll around a cemetary - it's full of people who came and went, brought nothing and took nothing with them. You want a place in history? Well, nobody remembers you or what you did after a while. Important is that you have enjoyed being alive so much that the only feeling you have left is thankfulness for the opportunity to be.