Indignant Lesson #1: The Power of Greed
We are all, by nature, greedy people. There are things we want, things we really want, and things we think we want most, and the more importance we assign something, the more we want it, and the more we are willing to do in order to be able to get it.
When greed grows to the point where a person would act in ways that most others would consider immoral – like by somehow hurting another person – he is being selfish. We have all, at various times in our lives, acted in ways that are selfish. We have all, at times, let greed cloud our responsibility to each other and to our communities, instead only worrying about achieving or obtaining something that would only benefit our very selves.
Most of us don’t let greed grow to the point where we are truly inflicting harm on others. When our gain is clear to only come at another person’s loss, most of us stop. How far we are each willing to go before we do is quite variable, and depends on an individual’s own sense of responsibility to one another, on his morals.
There are, of course, exceptions to that rule; psychopaths and sociopaths are the obvious ones, but they can’t be considered here, as their actions are driven by things other than greed, and are way too complex for The Indignant Teacher to even think about, anyway. The exceptions to think about here are the people who will stop at nothing to get what they want; the people who will inflict direct and intentional extensive harm on another human’s life if it means they achieve their selfish goal.
Those “exceptional” people – a very small percentage of the human race – eventually fall short of achieving said goal for the same reason. Society somehow intervenes (i.e., court systems) and the exceptional people are punished.
Human beings are innately good creatures; it is, after all, our empathy and compassion towards one another that distinguish us from other animals, and has allowed us to evolve as a civilization since the dawn of man.
American people have created and maintained a civilization who functions to most effectively and efficiently benefit The Common Good; we have done so since our Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution and Democracy was born.
The goal of education, dating back to the early hominids – whose classrooms were the caves and blackboards were their walls, has been to teach children the skills necessary for survival of the species. This has evolved with the human species, growing more extensive and specific with each passing generation, but always maintaining the same goal of bettering the lives of the one that followed.
With Democracy came the basic right of children to receive a free public education in America.
An American Public Education continued to teach children the skills necessary for survival of the species, but now moved to include teaching children the skills necessary for the survival of The Common Good. Of Democracy. Of working to not just make our own lives better, or even the lives of our children, but also working together to help each other make each others lives better.
The 21st Century will make history as being the one that re-defined American Public Education. The power of greed will come to be known as the author of that definition. And while most of us find this an impossibility, realizing it is the only way to become more powerful, and fix things.