The Wolf of Wall Street. The Big Short. Money Monster. The movies have been turning their camera on Wall Street and the view is not pretty. Selfish, driven men (and a few women) hurting the world with their insatiable lust for riches and power. And lust is the right word. One definition states:
“Often confused with love, it is purely a physical attraction and has no lasting effect. It is sometimes uncontrollable and completely unreasonable.”
Though mostly associated with sex, it's clear that we can also lust after gold. From King Midas to the Conquistadores to their current incarnation on Wall Street, we find people fueling their engine of desire to climb the wrong mountain. Such havoc they wreak! And we Americans still think them worthy of admiration. We mistake someone who inherited a fortune and kept the money multiplying through greedy, selfish and unscrupulous means and consider him worthy of consideration for leading a nation. Can one imagine a more catastrophic disaster? Just when a leader needs to focus on things with more lasting effects, to listen, to consider, to dialogue, to compromise, we think it okay that a Wolf of Wall Street be in charge of the sheep?
Next time someone talks about the love of money, do correct them. Love is the opposite of possession and clinging attachment and ruthless means to achieve it. Lust is satisfying a shallow personal desire with no thought of the other. What can be mistakenly admired in these lusty people is the force of desire and their ability to act on it. What needs to be considered is the object of that desire. Take those same energies and put them to work for something that uplifts and comforts and heals and brings beauty and happiness to the world.
In other words: If L is for Lust, remove that letter from Gold.
What is left?