Febuary 26, 1999 Halifax Herald

Will greed be vehicle of humanity's destruction?

From time immemorial, many humans have performed with such arrogance that one could not be faulted for associating it with a “God complex.” In fact, at times, many egotists have designated themselves infallible and immortal Gods. The harm caused by the affliction over the ages is beyond estimate.

Sadly, the disease is still rampant. Factually, it is so ingrained in the human intellect that many still refuse to accept that humans are but wee players in the overall scheme of things. Instead of being humble and recognizing that Mother Earth is the master, and working in harmony with her for the good of all creatures, they proceed as if they are the masters.

As a result, with unceasing regularity, individuals appear on the scene who befoul their beds to quench their all-consuming thirst for fame, power or riches. They, in haste to achieve ends, waste little thought about the consequences of their actions on the environment, and compassion for the misery of others falls by the wayside. Unfortunately, greed, jealousy and other evils have become, for far to many, their lifestyle commandments.

Because of this evil, we see instances in Northern Ireland where the holding of childish parades - which celebrate the result of a centuries-old religious war between near barbarians - takes precedence over the need to cement peace and love between religious groups. In Kosovo, the well armed Serbs line up 45 terrified and helpless Albanians - males and females, young and old - label them terrorists and summarily execute them. The rich and wealthy Nations of the West respond with weak threats. The Yugoslav government spurns NATO and goes its merry way down the hellish road of ethnic cleansing. These are but two of the many injustices oversized egos are causing at present around the World.

Egotists’ thirst for power has made the 20th century the bloodiest century in humanity's history. Two world wars and hundreds of smaller ones, ignited by visions of grandeur, have inflicted immeasurable suffering. These wars have taken tens of millions of lives and expenditures of trillions of dollars, and destroyed property worth more trillions. The money wasted on war adventures by super egos is mind boggling. Even poverty stricken countries can find money to wage war while their people starve.

Yet the reality that the World abounds with people living in abysmal poverty pricks very few consciences. In some countries, almost entire populations suffer various stages of starvation. The knowledge of their misery triggers very little intervention by the well-fixed. Unfortunately, the trillions of dollars needed to stop hunger will never be available, unless someone can show them how to profit from it or, preferably, someone can invent a way to instill compassion back into egos. This, however, will be no easy task.

But things are happening at the start of the 21st. century which should give most a reality check and prove conclusively to the greedy that humans are not the infallible Geeks they think they are. If they don’t, perhaps the insects shall inherit the Earth sooner, rather than later.

The best example of human fallibility and the limits of our abilities and shortcomings is a problem facing the World's Nations that would be amusing if it weren't for the fact that it might have disastrous results for billions of people. I don't believe there is anything in the history of humanity like the present situation, where we see two little zeros putting the World's nerves on edge. The intelligent and sophisticated World community is having the jitters because two zeros may cause the collapse of computer systems. Unbelievable!

Perhaps the significance of the two zeros is that it highlights how little vision and foresight are often given to the introduction of major changes into our social structures and World environment. Caused by lack of foresight, DDT, Agent Orange, and Thalidomide are but a few of the other major instruments of disaster which were imposed upon populations with horrific results. Greed is the culprit - get it into production as fast as possible. Profit is the main, and sometimes the only, consideration!

The rush for profits by the moneyed is conceivably the vehicle which will bring humanity to extinction. Profit at any cost is responsible for global warming. The release of industrial poisons into the atmosphere by the polluters has taken a worrisome rise over the past decade. Resulting from this, the ozone layer is taking a beating and we have experienced the warmest temperatures since such records were kept.

In addition, the befouling of the environment may be causing Mother Nature to react with vicious weather. Hurricane Mitch and the unusual and devastating droughts and floods being experienced around the World may be just a prelude to dire things to come. If we continue to destroy our living environment at the present pace, is the time far off when we will cross the point of no return? Perhaps we're already at that juncture, or - the worse scenario - past it?

Finding an answer for the question posed needs to be done with a great deal of urgency. We will either answer it with solutions borne of insight, vision and wisdom; or count profits and duck zeros as we sink into oblivion!

Daniel N. Paul


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