The following is an essay by Beaver on the nature of human ambition, and two related entities, envy and greed, that often becomes intertwined with it. As someone who ran a business and have also created other things in the past, I definitely find resonance with his analysis:
Human ambition is what drives the world forward, and so it is crucial to preserve it.
But what is ambition in the first place? Let us define it as the drive to obtain more power through achievement, to create, to improve. Here we must separate ambition from mere envy: Envy seeks to obtain what others have. Ambition seeks to obtain something by creating, earning it. That ambition is important is then self-evident: Without it, nothing gets done. At most, what was created before changes hands.
However, there has been a noted attack on ambition in the last few decades, not to say the last century. Anyone who has tried to achieve anything has had to experience it: People will tell them that what they’re doing is wrong, or to stop them, or worse, to steal their achievements away from them. These people can be divided in two categories: The envious and the greedy. By examining these two characters, we will understand what has been holding back the ambitious and thus, the progress of mankind.
The envious are by far the more numerous, yet the less dangerous of the lot. To them, what the ambitious achieve is not grand, it is a personal insult to them. The fact that they have not achieved as much makes them feel inferior, and so they shower scorn upon the ambitious. The same accusations will repeat themselves endlessly: Arrogance, selfishness, misanthropy, greed, etc. They see the work of the ambitious not as progress, but as self-engrossment.
However, the envious are usually impotent. They’ll cry to the four winds that the ambitious are to be hated, yet the only ones who will listen are those who already agree with them, for the same reasons. In the end, the work of the ambitious will be done, will be needed or desired, and the envious will have no other option than to watch. The only power the envious have is the one given to them rather than the one they have worked for, yet there are plenty willing to give them this power. They are the greedy.
The greedy are a much greater menace. They are those who already possess much, and see the ambitious as a threat to what they own. And yes, the ambitious can also be the greedy. So, what makes someone not merely ambitious, but greedy?
In this case, it is the belief that others do not have the right to ambition. Two ambitious men may compete, but only the greedy will consider competition to be wrong. When faced with competition, the ambitious will work harder, try and achieve more, etc. The greedy, instead, will try to forbid them from even trying. They will try to have laws passed to stop them from achieving anything. They will conspire together to shut down the ambitious. They will recruit the envious to their cause, try to have them interfere with the work of the ambitious in the name of morality or some other such tripe. Their aim is not to create something better than the ambitious. Rather, it is to prevent the ambitious from creating something.
The greedy are those who would damn us all in the name of their ego.
Yet how do we fight this? As time passes, and the ambitious are shot down again and again by the greedy, less and less is achieved. Civilization reaches a slump, where progress is stalled in the name of keeping the greedy at the top.
The solution is twofold: First of all, we must reduce the number of the envious as much as possible. As the ambitious are shut down again and again by the greedy, more and more people begin believing that hard work and ambition are pointless and thus wrong, and so join the ranks of the envious. By showing them the truth, by showing them the importance of ambition to society, and how it is being crushed not by its own failure but by the overwhelming masses of the greedy and the envious, we can salvage them. As the ranks of the envious are reduced, the greedy will have less and less support and eventually, their power will wane.
The second part of the solution is less tasteful. The greedy will not be deterred and will hang on tooth and nail to their positions, doing everything in their power to interfere. Those who do must be dealt with swiftly and violently. They must be seen not merely as inconveniences, but as enemies of humanity, men willing to debase her so as to remain unopposed.
Once this is accomplished, society must figure out a way to never let the greedy gain this much power again. This will be achieved through education, no more, no less. Children must be taught that the advancement of mankind is the greatest virtue of all, and that is can only be achieved through creation and improvement, not through restriction, theft and destruction. If this can be achieved, then mankind will emerge from this age of stagnation and find a tomorrow brighter than it could have ever imagined.
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