Big Picture

Greediness and Pythagoras – The problem of humanity since day one

A white statue of Pythagoras

Being ambitious is one thing but being greedy is a whole different story. There are people who possess great fortunes but still cannot be considered to be greedy. Greediness is not about the amount you have or the number on your bank account, it is about your attitude towards other people. The reason why some very rich people cannot be characterized as greedy is that they use their money for a good purpose. Most of the time, people are just interested in increasing their wealth but in some cases, their wealth is only used to implement power and finally allow them to have control. Again the reasons why someone likes to have control over things vary. Some people have a vision about humanity’s future and to make their efforts come true they need to have a lot of money so they can pull the strings according to their will. In this case, it is hard to blame people and call them greedy.

Greediness is mostly applied in cases where people want to increase their fortune just for their personal satisfaction without any consideration about other people. Herefore, two parameters are crucial here. The first one has to do with the intentions and the final goal someone has and the second one has to do with the means that someone uses to increase their wealth. Are they patient enough to become rich without stealing or are they tempted to make easy money?

The majority of people would guess that greediness was not always an issue. You see, in ancient Greece and other places greediness was still a problem. Most of the dilemmas we deal with today did not come out of the blue, they have their basis on common behaviors that have been developed in all parts of the world. The problem with greediness is that because it exists it also makes people want to take their fellows’ share. If it was just for us to claim what we want for ourselves things would not be so bad. However, when our ambition stands in the way of other people’s lives and makes us unfair, we have no choice but to reconsider which way we want to take.

This extraordinary mind, Pythagoras, the ancient Greek mathematician is here to give another solution. The Pythagorean theorem is still taught in schools and has managed to give solutions to numerous geometrical problems, but Pythagoras was not only about math. The freedom in which he approached all issues in life and considered them as ethical challenges turned his ambition on how he could prevent people from being greedy. For that purpose, he created a cup of wine known as” the cup of greed. ” Other titles like ”the cup of justice,” or simply”the cup of Pythagoras” have been used for the famous cup. So, what makes this mug so special?

The cup was made in a way that when someone filled it with wine over a point, then the mug was completely emptied. In the middle of the cup, there was a hole that led to a “secret” exit at the bottom of the cup. This hole was conveniently hidden by a column that was also in the middle of the cup. He used this trick to check if any of his students were greedy. At the time, it was very often for philosophers and their students to gather and talk. At their gathering they served wine and everyone had to drink a reasonable amount so that it would be enough for everyone. Using this cup one could see if someone attempted to feel the cup more than a certain point. Those who were too greedy and cheated while they were serving themselves were punished in this smart way. Actually, today’s toilets use a similar mechanism and the application of this invention is used every time we pull the tank.

Pythagoras, just like we all try to do today, wanted to find a way to protect himself and his company from opportunists who cared less about his visions and more about what he had to offer to them. A blessed society will be mature enough when people will know that their own interests should not be different from the interests of their fellow companions.

Have you read?

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The World’s Top 10 CEOs Over 70 Years Old.
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The World’s Richest People (Top 100 Billionaires, 2022).
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Anna Siampani
Anna Siampani, Lifestyle Editorial Director at the CEOWORLD magazine, working with reporters covering the luxury travel, high-end fashion, hospitality, and lifestyle industries. As lifestyle editorial director, Anna oversees CEOWORLD magazine's daily digital editorial operations, editing and writing features, essays, news, and other content, in addition to editing the magazine's cover stories, astrology pages, and more. You can reach Anna by mail at anna@ceoworld.biz