Western societies have unfortunately become conspicuous materialistic societies where: 1.) we want more than we really need (excess), 2.) we want what we want and we want it now (instantism), 3.) we want others to believe we have more than they have (show-and-tell pride), 4.) we must have what others have (greed), and 5.) we want what others have taken away from them (envy). At some level we are all bitten by the green-eyed monster of envy and jealousy.
In Othello, Shakespeare spoke of this monster with the words, “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock.” I attest excessive greed and envy will ultimately destroy a person. I contend excessive greed of unregulated and unbridled capitalism will ultimately destroy a society. Dominican Master Eckhart was extremely worried about excessive wanting and how it affects human morality. Wilhelm Reich indicated humans have primary drives (needs) but we also have secondary drives (wants). Reich felt wants stand in the way of our growth. It was Buddha who referred to wanting as craving; an endless craving that will lead to suffering. Finally, let me suggest that wants are not necessarily bad if they can be contained and don’t take the place of inborn needs. In the main, I theorize and advance the idea that wants are usually short-term unsuccessful attempts to satisfy our long-term needs and it doesn’t work!