Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Ambition, Prestige, Greed and Love

I am flummoxed sometime by naked ambition, as I am with greed. How could they do that, I ask? I am also cognizant of the glory of their prestige. Yeah, its there to behold. As equally as that is rendered a landscape in my brain, fertile to till, grow and understand fully, I am reminded about love. Do these people have any essence of love in their hearts at all? Or is the “drive to thrive well” the aegis of their epitaph? Is ambition the fossilized dictate of the four-letter DNA double helix that grinds out our Darwinian edicts? Is greed etched into the code of their existence? Are they so desirous of this “vice” that all “virtues” are relegated to the heap of obscurity? Are they blind to the need and desire of others? What do these people have in common? Is every person’s grand dream of advancement a beacon of distrust, rebuke and worthy of anger? A common man who struggles with very little material wealth all his life, eventually realizes a dream that brings in great wealth -a “rags to riches” story now, therefore, qualifies for the role of a villain?


These are the aching questions for humanity. What constitutes a good person from a bad person, poverty? What constitutes morality from immorality, the lack of wealth? I find it hard to believe that intellect be sodden with self-proclaimed virtue finds such animosity in the very nature of every human desire. These elusive vapors that survive and mount the staff of self-proclaimed virtuous expressions, by the touch of envy, are the very essence of failure.

Human Desire:

Every human has a desire to be good, to do good, to be successful, to achieve a lasting presence in this impermanent existence. Every human has a moored confidence in his or her innate ability. It is the unmooring of these desires to the morals of life that seed the land of monsters. There is no food without someone’s till, as there is no progress without someone burning the midnight oil. Thus all the benefits of today exist through some entrepreneur and his or her singular motivation. But life is a zero-sum game and for very human who desires to greatness there is one that desires to just exist. This is the yin and yang of living contrary to all the hue and cry that permeates the written and spoken word. The enfranchised equal the disenfranchised. Science without facts is similar to art without imagination. Each must have the other to move. The tiny spark needs to be there for all who are desirous and absent in those that don’t.  If those that don’t have the desire or the spark or show the willingness for it then they must of moral goodness be silent to those that do and have. The philosophical grounds of the haves and the have-nots are rooted in their own deeds. Abject power grab for prestige can only last for so long. For instance history shows that every greed that found hubris to exploit for prestige, ended up in infamy, brought down by its own devices. Life finds its own modicum of truth and justice.


Speaking of love. Are these ambitious, prestigious and greedy people capable of love? Ah but if you have to question that, then you do not know your own mind. Or you do not wish to know yourself to answer that question. We are born in differing circumstances, some left in a basket to float on the river swells to find the comforts of a loving embrace, others coo their way into the hearts and find the glow with every meaningful smile. Love is a nurtured, nature’s bounty. It is everywhere, some find love in their desire to achieve the goals of their dreams, others find it in the arms of another. Some find love in the paint upon the canvas, while others find it playing with words or playing notes of a musical interlude. Love plays a different song to different people, but has the same pull and tug to their heart of hearts. Love in its most abstract terms is a human emotion expressed in venues that sometime we cannot or are unable to decipher. Love is complex. Love is also simple, but it has roots and it is lasting.


In ambition one sees the monsters of perfection and the insatiable need to question. The irritability of intolerance that arises from insufferable impatience in these ambitious kinds is nothing more then the will to see through to the ends of their dreams. It is like a boater wanting to trim the sail to its perfect camber and achieve the best lift and speed over the water, or a pilot trim the aircraft to create the most efficient lift with the least drag in the air, or the confectioner to place the perfect red rose atop the vanilla iced cake, or the child that spends hours sitting on the beach to draw the perfect circle. All such endeavors emanate from the same seed. They all have the same genesis. They all have love for their dreams. Individual ambition is the hallmark of innovation, not the gregarious groupthink mentality that is the current vogue. The desires of the individual reside in the solitude and the confines of his or her brain. It is here that the seed is planted and here where it is harvested.

Remember the story of a foster child that fostered the desire so great that he breathed through all the hiccups life had in store for him and created an enterprise so, vast and so great that his story will be a tale for the ages. His ambition was relentless. He was called ruthless, intemperate, soulless, crafty, sullen, angry and all sorts of adjectival descriptions that satisfy those that don’t understand love and desire. Yet he created many an industry. His last industry now employs thousands of people worldwide, from whose borne several million people have directly or indirectly benefited. He was ambitious, he was prestigious and he was called greedy, yet he had love for his dreams. His name will survive his life and times.

We can now connect the dots backwards, for his life, to realize what he meant by “Stay hungry, Stay Foolish.” ~ Steve Jobs.

So is greed good? Gordon Gekko would say so (Although his premise was skewed, never the less it touches the basic nature of human in humanity):

Is it immoral for the haves to have? Milton Freidman would say, no. And he is factual.

There is an unfortunate desire to lay blame and in the American culture, the pointed finger of blame keeps turning back to the ambitious and in so doing the cult of mediocrity raises itself another rung to achieve their own greedy dominance. For blaming is nothing more then personal greed by the finger-pointers.

The neuro-circuitry of ambition is tied in the behavioral portfolio of every human being. Those that rise up to that challenge are successful and should be worthy of our gratitude, because they inspire us to equal greatness and they mold our beings into newer searchlights towards better horizons. We should not envy them. We should learn to love the love they have and inspire in others the same desire and ambition.


Ambition is good! Ambition for prestige’s sake on the other hand, is bad. Prestige is a powerful elixir that soaks through the psyche. It can change the course of one’s history. If prestige subjugates innate desire then brazen greed will drive itself on the avenue of mediocrity towards self destruction from unrealized dreams. 

Wanton desire for prestige is akin to the larva emerging from the egg planted on the belly of a spider by Polysphincta Gutfreundi a wasp, that then co-opts the spider’s ability to spin a web and usurps its mechanics to create a cocoon of silk for its own benefit. The larva survives and turns into a wasp, but the spider is reduced to inaction. A destructive force has been unleashed. So ambition and greed for its own sake is destructive.

A greed based on an underlying dream to succeed within the morals of the human society is good, but unmoored to the underpinnings of humanity they have the spark to turn a human being into a tyrant. There are examples in history, from Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin, Mao, Saddam Hussein, Gaddaffi, Mubarak, Genghis Khan and several others that have turned the tide of human history by using the “common good of all people” into a dictatorship of unbridled tyranny.  

A society that nurtures the individual desire and ambition towards a dream, controls its destiny. The society that demonizes individuality for the view from a collective lens of group think is on its way to oblivion. 

So light the flame of your desire and help humanity seek its own fortunes. Strive for your dream. Live and shine the beacon of your success so others may follow in your footstep.

I raise a glass to you and the future fortunes of your hard earned success.

Mazal Tov!
Mubarik ho!

Go get 'em!

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