Yesterday we had a school reunion of the classes 1965-1970 when I was in primary school. About half of them showed up, the other half did not react to the invitation apparently and one has - sadly - died in 2012. I guess on future reunions there will be less and less people - quite normal, isn't it ?
OK, so I was there nipping on a glass of beer, and one of my former schoolmates looked at me and said: Why don't you get a glass of that exquisite red wine over there ? It costs $ 150 a bottle ! I said, well, I don't really like wine now and apart from that - who brought such expensive stuff here ? Most people won't appreciate that anyway.
I did, he said. You know, I earn quite a bit, and that's peanuts for me.
He asked me what I'd be about these days and I said I'm leaving for Africa in 2 weeks. Africa ? LOL, he said, there's no money in there, only wars, poor stupid negroes who can't tell left from right.
In order not to stir up too much noise, I kept myself back and swallowed hard for a minute. Without further going into that subject, I instead asked him: Do you have some problem of self-confidence ? I mean, you snob about people who drink beer, you call Africans negroes in a disrespectful tone, and your clothes also scream like "Hey, look at me, I've made it !" May I ask you how much you're net worth since that seems to be your ultimate goal ?
He replied: You know, here in Switzerland we don't talk money, but trust me, I have almost enough......but then one can never have enough, right ? I mean, it's....ah....some sort of security, if something might happen....we're not getting younger, right ?
I said: Cheap excuse. You know, you remind me of people on a financially higher scale than you which haven't understood or care about one thing: What you have in excess others lack. Actually they lack it BECAUSE YOU have it in excess. And above that you sneer at people who ENABLE your excessive life indirectly.
He said: Well, it's not my fault when others can't make it like I did. I never kept anyone from making a career and do as I did.
I stopped that discussion by getting another beer and greeting a friend from class 1966. I was confirmed once again that greed and selfishness can not be rooted out. It starts on a small scale and stops at the Buffet(t) of Mr. Warren or at the Gates of Bill.
What IS greed ? Is it an expression of lack of empathy ? Is it a way to get self-confidence and (superficial) acceptance in society ? Is it a remainder of the genetic survival drive ? Or is it simple egoism ? I think it is.
What's your opinion on that ?
(BTW: Maybe a song by the group Yes might fit to that: The Gates Of Delirium ;-)