It's one of the seven deadly sins, and it seems to be an integral component of human nature. It could also serve as the gateway to moral bankruptcy and the trigger for global devastation. What drives our thirst for more, what is its impact on our personal sense of peace and the state of the world, and is it a behavior that can ever be unlearned? Greed: A Fatal Desire addresses all of these key concerns with probing insight.
There are several theories as to why the human species might harbor greedy tendencies. Most of the film's narrative is driven by the teachings of Sheldon Solomon, a social psychologist who believes that greed is a reaction to our inherent fear of death, and that each new material possession represents a means of stalling this inevitability. As long as we need, we live. In this age of ego - where the needs of the individual trump all else - our self-esteem is often defined by the things we own.
In part, this instinct can ensure survival and achievement. But when our quest for more power, possessions, and attention comes at the cost of others, this behavior can cripple individual, communal and cultural relationships. The class divide widens, and an acceptable quality of life becomes unattainable for far too many citizens of the world.
In reality, of course, money and possessions do not result in immortality; they're temporary rewards that can easily enslave us. The things that really matter - family, love, compassion, and harmony with our natural environment - transcend the notion of power and status. It is through them that we can achieve true peace and contentment. The film concludes on a hopeful note by urging us to raise our level of self-awareness and recalibrate our priorities for the benefit of all.
The film features an assortment of voices from each end of the spectrum, including medical experts, sociologists, religious figures, and those who proudly defend their drive to achieve greater wealth and material comforts.
Told in two parts, Greed: A Fatal Desire dives into the most basic building blocks of human nature. It will likely be a rewarding, revelatory journey for many viewers.