How greed moves our goalpost endlessly
Moving the goalpost means unfairly altering the target of an endeavor while it is being pursued. Let’s see how greed often moves our goalpost.
Suppose greed impels us to buy a better car than our neighbor’s car. By working hard and taking loans, we get the car. And then greed shifts the goalpost: buy the best car in the neighborhood, then in the town, then in the city, then in the state and so forth, endlessly.
Usually, when we seek to fulfill a desire, we think that our goalpost is the object of desire. If we look deeper, our actual goalpost is the satisfaction that we believe we will get by getting that object. We do get some satisfaction, but greed undercuts that satisfaction by riveting our vision to something we don’t have.
The more we pander to greed, the more forcefully it drags us toward the next object of desire. When we secure that object, our primary experience shifts from satisfaction at getting that object to relief at getting free from the tormenting pull of greed. But both feelings are short-lived; soon, greed pulls us toward the next object. Over time, what we experience even on getting the object is practically no satisfaction; just a little relief that is frustratingly flickering. Thus, we end up living for the desire itself — a desire that can neither be satisfied nor rejected. Essentially, our goalpost has become the desire itself. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (14,12) cautions that greed sentences us to insatiable desire.
Only when we realize unsentimentally that reaching greed’s goalpost is intrinsically impossible can we get the determination to stop pandering to greed and look elsewhere for relief and satisfaction.
Greed moves the goalpost beyond the object of desire and beyond the satisfaction coming from that object to the desire itself, thereby keeping us tormented and enslaved.
Think it over:
- How does greed move our goalpost?
- When did you realize most forcefully that greed has shifted your goalpost?
- How does greed change our inner experience after we get the object of desire?
14.12: When there is an increase in the mode of passion the symptoms of great attachment, fruitive activity, intense endeavor, and uncontrollable desire and hankering develop.