2009 – Most Philosophical 6th Grader in America.

Lilly Rector , Minnesota.

Greed or Giving: Which Has a Greater Impact on Society?

Greed. Giving. They are two similar yet radically different notions, each playing the role of what makes a human a human. We all are at least partially greedy – we are all afflicted, if only in the most minuscule way, with the desire to keep ourselves, and only ourselves – and yet, we all feel in at least one point of our lives that we should give back to the community. But which is the most powerful? Which prevails over the other?

In my mind, it is greed that has had – and still has – the greatest impact on the world. To be greedy is to care for only yourself, hoarding possessions for your benefit alone. For many individuals who could be described as greedy, giving back to the community in which they thrive is simply not an option, for whatever reason. The rash of crime across both the country and the world itself is a result of greed, as is poverty and starvation in many African countries. Gazing over the world today, you’ll that many have been forced from their homes and cast onto the streets because of another’s greedy ways. When the word “greed” is mentioned, many envision a person bathing in his own affluence, though this is not always the definition of the word. Anyone can be greedy over anything – from worthless plastic toys to cars, greed can hover around virtually any material thing.

In today’s society, we are taught to pursue happiness by collecting as many possessions as we can. It is said that happiness lies in wealth – though this could hardly be any further from the truth. In actuality, greed often is the precursor to depression. The media does not help with this epidemic; in reality, it fosters its growth. Televisions and billboards alike flash advertisements for the latest fashions and electronics across pixilated screens; pages in magazines are bordered with brightly colored words and detailed pictures of costly children’s toys; radio speakers blare announcements about the newest movies. Our world is a world whose culture has been overtaken by unneeded material things. There is a song titled “Material Girl” which is a perfect descriptor of what our customs – and what other customs, for that matter – have come to. We have adopted a new set of laws, and here is the most prevalent of these: “To be truly content, you need everything.”


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