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There is a common thread when we think of greed: that it is something which must be overcome. That it is all that is bad, harmful, selfish... for some it is sinful, a matter of taint upon the soul.

Have you never felt greed? Not one person reading this can honestly say so. Are you, therefore, tainted?

Has any human gone their entire life without feeling the touch of avarice? Even the greatest sages have experienced this: because to experience greed is to be alive. Are all human beings tainted? This limited, narrow, and violent perspective is not the Jedi way of understanding the world.

Understanding the universality of the negative is key to change. It is key for one very simple reason: once you understand that your darkest impulses are shared by ALL people, then you understand the root of sharing itself as the most natural condition.

The darker impulses in our beings try to trick us, make us feel special and unique: apart from the crowd, not a part of the crowd. But we are inexorably linked to our fellows. If we have felt greed, or compassion, anger, or joy... others have felt these as well.

In this way, the root of human existence is the root of sharing, not the root of hoarded isolation.

Mythology, our collective toolbook for life, gives us overt clues. The evildoers in all myths, all over the world, are those who convert the public good into personal gain.

The King figure in myth is the embodiment of his land, when he is well, his land is well; when he is sick, his land decays. His whole existence is public. To be invested with the position of King is to leave behind one’s privacy, and to become the spiritual balance for one’s people.

But when the King becomes the "hoarder of the the general benefit... the monster avid for the greedy rights of 'my and mine' ... then the inflated ego becomes a curse to himself and his world." This, as Joseph Campbell so eloquently puts in Hero with a Thousand Faces, marks the Tyrant-monster, who lives throughout all mythology, and is the warning of our ancestors to their inheritors about what to be wary of.

Our society is fractured by this problem. We have destroyed our Commons (allowing fallacious arguments about the so-called "tragedy" of common goods to sway us from what is natural). We have submitted to the idea of authority as natural, thereby cementing avarice into our societies through the parasite of hierarchy. We have created an order where acquisition is the driving force of our social life. Greed is natural, but out-of-balance greed of the type, and of the scale that we have accepted into our sense of normalcy is inherently unbalancing and self-destructive. The land will wither and fade away.

But, once we have accepted the seed of darkness inside ourselves, how do we live with it? How do we avoid becoming the tyrant monster of our own home, or family, city, or country?

By leaning our whole self into the understanding that, once we recognize ourselves in others, and others within ourselves, the doorway to love opens.

In Star Wars, one of our greatest modern myths, we see the Light Side of the Force as the deep respect for life, the understanding that connection and openness are the truest path of expression for a living universe. The Dark Side is obsessed with power, avid for control, and it always self-destructs. It is its own weakness, fallible in its own proclivity toward self-destruction.

In Buddhism, there is something called "Metta," which is loosely understood as "an active interest in others," and is commonly translated as "loving-kindness." It is a fierce, determined sort of love, however. A vibrant kindness, which sears away the delusions of the world. One who touches their inner truth through metta is one who understands that separation between human beings is a sort of optical illusion: one expression of the Force is looking at another expression of the Force and judging it to be "other."

The ancient Greek philosophers wrote of pleonexia, a state of natural avarice from which all injustice arises. Aristotle saw law and human-justice as an unnatural attempt to curb a natural tendency. But what humans do is natural: we are expressions of the nature of the universe; we are one with the Force, and the Force is one with us.

It is natural to experience greed, just as it is natural for our social organizations to attempt to curtail the effects and behavior of greed. The danger for us lies in thinking that either is unnatural.

Within metta, the loving-kindness state that shows us the true connectedness of all things, we can hold active compassion for the Dark Side, because we understand that we are part of the Dark Side as much as the Light. This is a much harder practice than any which might allow us to draw firm boundaries between "right" and "wrong" within ourselves. But it is this practice that ensures that we do not fall prey to the dangers of either.

Justice too often becomes punitive and vengeful, as much an evil as the evils it combats.

The root of greed is a lack in one's life: fear of suffering (one's own, or for those one loves).

As Jedi, our duty is service to those around us: we are here to lead by example, quietly and compassionately. We must allow ourselves the grace of self-compassion for the animal nature inside ourselves; we must accept that those "evils" we wish to destroy are shared by all, even ourselves, and that all evils have roots within the world. We must follow the lesson of Luke Skywalker: accept the evil inside the self and the good inside the "other." Once that is even attempted, we are on the right path.