"Greed is good"...Gordon Gekko, in Stanley Weiser and Oliver Stone's screenplay for "Wall Street"
It's a dilemma. On the one hand, I meet people consumed by their passion for personal fulfillment--their desire to define good to include whatever gratifies their particular physical or metaphoric needs. On the other hand, I meet other people who never dare do anything, lest they betray a kind of ambition they hesitate to show to others.
I read the newspaper about corporate executives who chose seriously fraudulent pathways, for material short term advantage. What did that money buy? A larger house? A more attractive inamorata? That sheer thrill of owning the right to do whatever one damn well pleases, until the indictments hand down? What kind of self-hypnosis allows one to run with the big dogs on the way to the pound?
It's hard to blame folks in some ways. I've had the "rock star" fantasy, though I have less inclination to make "real music" than almost anyone I know. Imagine being someone whose lyrics people hear, read and adulate. Imagine being found desirable on the strength of a melody and a lyric and a look.
Imagine seeing the world, and it even turns out that the world amounts to more than a series of conference rooms filled with lawyers.
But my cursory watching of VH-1 suggests to me that 'behind the music', personal excess falls remarkably short as a life credo. Perhaps one can achieve ecstasy only so many times before it becomes habit, and then drudgery.
I like the image of Gandhi, owning only old shoes, a homespun garment, and glasses. But surely the quest to do good means more than merely rejecting material things. Surely one can have a dream or two, and still be "good".
I think that the mixed emotions are the most complex. One can psych oneself out as being unworthy merely because one has an ambition that one really wants to achieve. On the other hand, I can think of times in my life in which I rationalized as "being good" something or other that merely suited my personal agenda.
I think it's a tough call--do I want it because it is good, or do I pretend it's good, because I want it?