Urges to forge ahead and pave ways for success are great things for the working of society. Without forming new ideas and working hard to obtain then, individuals would not improve their lives, thus also enhance their contributions to society. Motivation, determination, and hard work are necessary traits that have a large impact on the outcome of personal endeavors. Where the larger society is concerned, both personal and work ethics determine if the enhancements will indeed be for the good of society or simply for the greed of a select few.
When I speak of society, it's not just the larger picture of how value systems of entire communities dictate how we go about working together on community enhancements or how we interact as a whole population. I'm delving deeper to touch upon the individuals who make up that society and thus who have the power/capability to either keep society values in check or to detract from the good of previous generations.
From mere observation in my small section of the larger world we live in, I think the family structure is a good indication of what we do value within society and also of what may destroy values that we grew up to believe in. My thoughts really begin with my familiar knowledge of learning from my parents and from other relatives and friends of their generation, what it really meant to support and strengthen values in general. Although individual success was something to be hoped for and therefore worked toward, it was never to be sought or attained through pure greed.
My parents grew up during harder times than many of us could really understand now. The Great Depression, and other WWII-era suppressions, highlight some of the worst times for people but at the same time, reveal a lot of goodness in the values they held most dear back then. Greed was the least of their character make-up. Caring about friends, neighbors, and family was very high. We still have that today but in a different sense. Back then, caring meant you would do more than hope and pray for their well-being. Back then, the well-being of your Ôpeople' meant that you may well do without so Ôthey' didn't have too. There was no greed to make sure you, as an individual, would be at the head of the food chain. It was sharing and giving, and being ethical in the doings of your life. Life may not have been that way everywhere but this is the culture I grew up to know and to believe in.
Truly, I was lucky, perhaps blessed, to grow up with the role models I had and to have been able to not only hear the stories of that time frame, but to actually see my mom and dad live the same life that they spoke of. My parents would never put selfish greed above all else. They would never try to swindle or unethically persuade someone to do something just so they could receive a personal gain. They didn't talk bad and gossip about others in order to make themselves appear better or more deserving. If anything, they downplayed their significance and perhaps even refused what some could say was Ôrightfully theirs' in order to keep peace or to make certain that they did not let greed be associated with their own characters.
I have spoken to many people in our own county who had the same type of role-model upbringing as I did. One would think that to be so familiar with the beliefs of our mothers and fathers that we, too, would live the same way. It doesn't always happen though; greed guides the motivation and determination to succeed. Pure greed lets us forget about ethics and fair treatment. But far worse than that; greed destroys the very thing we are made up of.
Instead of honoring our mothers and fathers by living up to the values they held, greed detracts from the goodness of their existence on earth, like their existence didn't even matter to us at all. How sad is that.
I bring up this subject for a couple reasons, one being the common discussion of how values of society have gone downhill. Topics about society are usually very high during a Presidential election year. The second reason is because of an all too familiar story that I hear from friends, relatives, and acquaintances about the type of dishonesty that occurs among their own family members where greed guides one or some, to take advantage of those who were closely associated while growing up. I know of families where siblings have not spoken in years and it is simply because family values (which are the inklings of society values) were totally ignored for the sheer sake of greed to further a sole personal gain, forsaking all others in the path.
If your parents were good and honest people, how could you deny their existence on this earth by destroying all the values they handed to you so willingly? It's something to think about the next time you have something so tempting in front of you. My mom still says that temptation and greed can make an honest man go bad. I say the man's true character will be revealed if he resists the urges.