Lesson 4 – The Curious Case of Greed…!!!
Like most kids, Aarohi loves watching cartoons. We started with Silly Symphonies, then moved to Looney Tunes, then feature length Disney Classics and then superhero cartoons. Her favorites are Superman and Spiderman. One of the things we wanted her to have as childhood memory is the old school cartoons which we grew up on. So, instead of watching the modern day adaptations of these superheroes, we started with their first animated appearances. In the case of Superman, it was Max Fleischer’s Superman Cartoons that were aired in 1940 and in the case of Spiderman, it was the 1967 Canadian-American animated Series. The great thing about these cartoons was that the stories were very simple and told through a very straightforward narrative. There was a good guy who saved people. Then there was the bad guy who, because of greed, hurt people. Then the good guy fought the bad guy. Then the good guy defeated the bad guy. Then everybody loved him. Then ‘The End’. Episode after episode it was the same storyline retold in new and entertaining ways. This way the cartoons resonate with kids very well as they are simple enough to understand but entertaining enough to revisit.
One of the things we wanted her to have as childhood memory is the old school cartoons which we grew up on.
One of the most special things about the Spiderman cartoons was the universally loved theme song. It summed up everything that we love in the character in a catchy, foot-tapping number – “Spiderman, Spiderman…does whatever a spider can…”
Similarly, the intro story of Superman was so simplistic that everyone understood it instantly. Who doesn’t remember “Up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Superman……..faster than a speeding bullet…”
In fact, as if to make my point, one YouTuber kaptainkristian did a video essay on ‘Superman – The Golden Age of Animation’
So why am I talking about these superheroes in this article? That’s because after watching these cartoons Aarohi would ask me to tell her one of these stories during our bedtime story sessions. So, to make it, even more, simpler, I would tell her the whole story in 3 simple acts – Good guy meets bad guy, Good guy fights bad guy and good guy defeats bad guy. This would usually be enough to get her to sleep. But as she grew older she started asking questions about the story. Why did the good guy do this? Why did the bad guy do that? Why is the good guy a good guy? Why is a bad guy a bad guy? Why do we like the good guy? Why don’t we like the bad guy? Etcetera and et al. There was no end to the questions. In the quest to find a simple way of describing this to her so that she could easily understand the meaning of life (~wink~wink~), I had a revelation…!!!
Everything that a bad guy did could be explained using the term – Greed. Whether the bad guy stole jewelry or kidnapped the heroine or robbed a bank or threatened a city with a bomb, everything was a result of him being Greedy. Here’s an excerpt of the exchange between us:
Aarohi – “Dad, why is the bad guy a bad guy?”
Me – “Because he is hurting other people.”
Aarohi – “Why is he hurting other people?”
Me – “Because he’s Greedy.”
Aarohi – “Why is he Greedy?”
Me – “Because he is not happy with what he has and wants more.”
Aarohi – “Why does he want more?”
Me – “Because he’s Greedy.”
Now, loop it.
Then she would ask me, “Dad, are we Greedy?” and I would say, “Well, if we are happy with what we have then we are not. For example, we buy 1 toy of our choice every month. If we are happy with it then we are not greedy. But if we are not happy with what we have and still want more, then we are being Greedy.” This line of thought cleared up a lot of things for Aarohi. She has started adapting this in others aspects of her life, like, how much TV she would watch, how long she would play in the playground, how much snacks she would eat so on and so forth. Also, what we’ve found out is that most of the things that we consider as bad things or sins can be explained with Greed. It is as a result of Greed that people get involved in wrong deeds, whether it is stealing, cheating, kidnapping, lust, envy, gluttony etc. All these are a direct result of Greed. In other words wanting more than what one has and not being happy with it is called being Greedy.
we’ve found out that most of the things that we consider as bad things or sins can be explained with Greed.