A great pondering of many is the subject of greed. What I propose to do with this entry is entertain a new theory surrounding the topic. To begin, I shall provide the official definition as provided by Merriam Webster:

Definition of greed

:  a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed <motivated by naked ambition and greed>

What could cause one to seek more than is needed? And why is the word excessive necessary for the definition? It suggests that there is a “normal” level of desire for beyond what is needed, and that greed is this “normal” desire amplified. This leaves the definition of greed rather loose and subjective.

So, where does the threshold of what is “normal” in terms of “desiring beyond necessity” lie? At what point does taking more than you need become a problem? This question might be difficult to answer objectively, as many of us indulge in “luxury” items or over consuming / hoarding tendencies from time to time.  Many of us also undoubtedly have different perspectives on the topic of need as well, adding an additonal point requiring clarification if we are to truly define greed.

What is Need? A simple universal definition of our basic needs would be: Food, Water, Shelter, Air, Community. These five components of individual needs create the collective definition of Need. But how can these five be broken down or individualized further?

Food, Water and Air should be basic, but somehow we have come to a point where even the finite requirements for human survival have come into question.  Yes, we need food, but does it need to be both nutritious and free of toxic chemicals, genetic manipulation, while being grown in a manner that is both sustainable to the earth as well as the people growing it? Sure, we need water, but does it need to be free of chlorine, sodium fluoride and other toxins? Does reverse osmosis water need to be balanced with minerals?  Even the quality of the air we breath has come under debate.

That leaves Shelter and Community, the two with the most obvious room for conversation. The Sentinelese of the Sentinel Islands of India are bound to have different minimum standards for shelter than the average family in Scarsdale, NY. Are families in affluent neighborhoods trying to provide modern comfortable homes to their family greedier than families of primitive cultures, or are they simply working with the materials available? Does modern suburban culture encompass essentially the same survival drama as primitive hunter-gatherer cultures, just staged with a different set of characters, tools and materials, or is the stereotypical modern family, with its media devices, automobiles and high pressure careers, evidence of a culture long out of touch with its own needs?

The answer partially lies in community. In the flawed but popular perception of “Noble Savagery”, primitive cultures are seen as either immune to or in a state of transcendence over the corrupt ‘nature of man.’ While no society has proven infallible to the pitfalls of man’s greed, there has been much evidence to indicate that primitive cultures have often seemed to escape the influential, almost contagious desire for accumulation of material wealth with little to no regard for the environment. Perhaps it is a more complete sense of community experienced in primitive cultures that facilitates both our perspective of ‘nobleness’ as well as provides a platform for a more balanced and ecocentric use of resources.

Many of us remember the PSA on television showing the harmful, addictive effects that cocaine has on caged rats. In summary, there are two water bottles in the rat’s cage: one with plain water, the other water mixed with cocaine. The rat tries the cocaine water, loves it, and continues to use it until death. This commercial places the causation for addiction within the drug itself, ignoring the possibility that environmental factors such as a lack of community could come into play when analyzing rat behavioral responses to drug stimuli. What the “Rat Park” experiment demonstrated was exactly that. When the experiment mentioned in the PSA was replicated with a second control group placed inside a ‘Rat Park’ (a large enclosure with toys, food and a community of both male and female rats) with the same double water bottle setup, the ‘Rat Park’ group ignored the drug laced water, while the cage confined rats continued to drink the drug laced water as in the PSA.  Because greed is often described as addictive behavior, this observation about community is particularly poignant.

All of this has been said before. The observation that greedy behavior may stem from a perceived lack of community sounds a little like psych 101, but its worth exploring…especially in a time where through technology we have a greater capacity than ever for far reaching communal interaction. If we continue to explore the notion that primitive cultures have maintained a greater sense of community, and thus experience less addictive behavior, including greed, than it would be safe to deduce that colonization was the spread not only of people and their ideologies, but also the spread of a less communal way of life. Classical Colonization began when the Greeks and Phoenicians began to expand their territory into the land inhabited by “barbaric” hunter-gatherers to use for agriculture.

Agriculture: Humanity’s answer to the toils of “barbaric” hunter-gatherer living. Finally, we can settle down in one place. Finally, by having more than enough today, we can feel sure we will have enough to get by tomorrow. Agriculture is the answer to the ‘instinctual’ fear of scarcity, right? Perhaps not. By looking at the origins of agriculture, we find that it was not a scarcity of food, nor even a perceived scarcity, but a desire for alcohol made from grain that inspired the cultivation of crops and the rise of agriculture. Gathering wild grain was an acceptable way to feed one’s family, but a region’s entire wild grain store could be quickly depleted by the production and consumption of alcohol. With agriculture came specialization in trade; tasks pertaining to survival (i.e. tool making, shelter construction, etc ) shifted from one large communal effort with individual roles to many individual efforts of personal survival. The tool you spent the day building must be traded to the farmer for food, and if he doesn’t need it, then your family goes hungry..while under the old way of life the tool would help the tribe as much as the food gathering, etc. Looking at this model through the scope of modern capitalism, there is noting wrong here. The specialization of trade facilitates competitive growth. If the farmer doesn’t want the tool maker’s tool, then that is motivation to create a better tool that he will want. This is the spirit that advances technology. Unfortunately, I believe this is also the spirit that created that lack of community that allowed us to slip deeper into patterns of addiction in the form of greed.

When we look at addiction of any kind, there is a very common theme: the addictive behavior is paired with a release of desired brain chemicals. Whether it is dopamine released through vigorous exercise or social media affirmations (likes), norepinephrine and serotonin simultaneously released by cocaine, oxytocin released during sex or non-sexual affection, or serotonin produced by gut microbes following sugar consumption, addictive behavior is all about the chemical experience. For the case of studying greed, lets take a look at the last example given, “Serotonin produced by gut microbes.”  Many people do not realize that 80-90 % of everyones favorite “feel good” brain chemical is located in the gut and is produced by one of the most infamous microbes in the natural health world, Candida.

Candida is a fungal microbe in the genus of yeast, and is the most common culprit behind fungal infections known. The candida fungi has been held responsible by alternative (non-western allopathy) health practitioners for a large variety of disorders, ranging from digestive problems such as IBS and Crohn’s, mental illness including OCD, Anxiety and Depression, to all forms of cancer. The science behind the claims is fairly simple and it pertains directly to another aspect of many alternative health protocols: the alkalizing of the diet. When we eat food that promote digestive alkalinity we support the blood in the transportation of toxins out of the body. The blood must maintain a Ph of 7.2 or we face major and immediate health consequences, probably death. Toxins and pathogens are lower in Ph, and because of their inherent acidity, the blood can only carry so many toxins at once to the liver and kidneys. This explains why there is not a spike in lactic acid removed via the urine immediately (10-120 minutes) following exercise. When the toxin load at any given time, due to present environmental factors,  is greater than the blood can safely handle, the toxins will be stored in the cells of the body for later removal. If conditions that facilitate the removal of toxins are not met, one of two things can happen: 1. The cell dies. When the cell dies, it becomes food source to microorganisms hosted by the body. 2. The cell adapts. In order to survive a perpetual toxic load, the cell adapts or mutates in response. This essentially is the formation of cancer.

How do we aid our blood in the removal of toxins? If toxins are acidic, and toxins are in the air I breath, the water I drink and the food I drink, than how am i supposed to live? And how does this pertain to Candida and addiction? An alkaline diet, as mentioned in the above paragraph, facilitates the necessary conditions for toxin removal. Everything that our bodies absorb from food must first be processed by enzymes and microbes in the digestive tract. Simply put, we are what our digestive microbes eat and then excrete. The enzymes and microbes that thrive at a higher Ph are able to break down complicated, nutrient dense food that create a higher digestive Ph, making them available for absorption.  Foods such as sugar, processed grain, pasteurized dairy, alcohol, create a low digestive Ph and destroying microbes and enzymes that break down alkaline foods, all of which (including the dead probiotics) are a food source for Candida. Candida is the main digestive microbe that thrives in a digestive environment too acidic for optimal human health. Candida has a unique symbiotic relationship with the human body, playing a crucial role within our immune system. When digestive toxin or pathogen levels rise enough to lower the digestive Ph, the Candida levels will rise in turn. Candida, along with some pathogens such as strep, produce Serotonin (5HT). The 5HT interacts with the brain via the vagus nerve, creating a feeling of peace as our bodies fight to remove a toxin or pathogen, while also interacting with digestive serotonin receptors 5HT3 and 5HT4, located in the stomach and gut. The 5HT3 receptor’s function when antagonized is the vomit response. It appears that this receptor is either less responsive than 5HT4 or that there is less 5HT in the the stomach than in the gut. The function of 5HT4 when antagonized is the evacuation of the bowels. Due to an over presence of Candida in the intestines of IBS and Crohn’s patients, it can be reasonably assumed that the immune reaction behind the symptoms of these disorders are being triggered by the Candida’s corresponding 5HT production.

Anyone who has read about, heard about or personally experienced the effects of doing too much MDMA, knows that it is a drug that we quickly become tolerant to. The tolerance to MDMA comes from the antagonized 5HT receptors in the brain becoming less sensitive from over use. When we apply this knowledge pertaining to a potentially addictive drug that interacts with our brain serotonin levels to what was discussed in the last paragraph in regards to Candida and 5HT, it is logical to conclude that the cycle of ‘sugar highs’ and ‘sugar crashes’ corresponds with the ebb and flow of Candida numbers and their production of serotonin. This gives us a greater understanding of how, on a chemical level, sugar addiction begins. It is important and interesting to note that ‘alcohol’ should be considered interchangeable with the word ‘sugar’ in this article, as alcohol digests into sugar. A hang over severe enough to trigger vomiting can be better understood by knowing that the vomit reaction is caused by an antagonized 5HT3 receptor, fueled by serotonin, created by candida, eating the alcohol that you drank last night. Speaking of vomit, lets get back to the subject of colonization.

So, now that we have the topic of  Candida’s role in sugar addiction out of the way, we can get back to colonization, agriculture and greed, and piece things together into a theory pertaining to greed (if you haven’t already pieced things together). Where we left off was in Classical Colonization, or the spread of agriculture onto nomadic tribal lands under the assumption that if that aren’t being farmed on, they aren’t being lived on, and are up for grabs, even if it means killing the nomadic people if / when they show up and try to use the land too.

Whoa. For grain alcohol?

Before I dive into the next chapter of colonization (which shouldn’t be necessary, I’m trying to wrap this up), I wanted to get your attention, because I had a hunch that the timeless story of barbaric practices of war on relatively communal and peaceful nomadic people (with then their resistance efforts being labeled as barbarism) under the guise of “progress” as is the case with the agricultural practices of Classical Colonization,  doesn’t grab very many people’s attention? Why would it? Its nothing new, and it painful to think about. But perhaps if we are willing to look back and explore causation with objective curiosity, we can learn something new about human behavior.

Yes. For grain alcohol.

With alcohol, a food source for Candida, being the known driving force of agriculture, and agriculture being the known driving force of colonization and the specialization of trade, and colonization and the specialization of trade being the known driving force of the growth of imperialism and  capitalism, whos ideologies have warped the simple business of “making a living” into the “dog eat dog” world of trying to “make a killing” leave little room for the consideration of the presence of greed, aside from perhaps considering it an attribute akin to “naked ambition” as the Merriam Webster definition pointed out, it can be reasonably concluded that an imbalance of Candida in the gut could be responsible for the manifestation of greed within human behavior.

As Above, So Below:

A relationship with a microscopic entity that resembles the timeless image of the “shoulder angel” and “shoulder devil” or in other words, a microbial force that can influence human behavior through decision making, sounds a bit like the stuff of science fiction. However, if you look at well known diseases and parasites such as Rabies and Influenza have been shown to influence the mind: Rabies causes the victim to refuse water causing the stereotypical “foaming of the mouth.” and Influenza will drive the newly contagious person to be more social, often before they feel symptoms. Toxoplasmosis is a parasite in cat feces that causes infected rats to crave the scent of cat urine. This is due to the parasites dependency on the cat to ingest the rat to complete its life cycle. Humans who have been exposed to toxoplasmosis can experience a number of side effects, most interesting being the development of reckless behavior in those previously more subdued. These microbes having this level of influence on their host’s consciousness lends credence  to what I’m about to say:

Lets go back to the imagery of “shoulder angel” and “shoulder devil”… what is described here is a classic example of an internal “battle of wills.” On one shoulder you have your “higher self” or your ‘intuition’, often personified by a little angelic image of oneself..on the other shoulder you have the “Devil”. Personified as you in a devil suit, it can be speculated and debated whether or not this figure represents something within all man’s inner nature, or an external force of deception and temptation. This symbolic imagery has been used for ages to exemplify the struggle to find balance in a society becoming ever more complicated.  Whether we struggle between going to bed with an already comfortably full belly and having just one quick bite of dessert, or between selling 3million acres of public lands that are home to millions of wildlife and , well, doing nearly anything else, there is a chance that your opponent is not the dark shadowy “Me to Me” scenario depicted in memes, but could be microbes such as Candida and parasites. As we continue to facilitate passively through consumerism, the use the Earth in irresponsible ways, destroying rainforest to grow GM Soy, Corn and Cotton, the Candida in our bodies continues to passively facilitate the growth of GM cells in the form of tumors, legions and scar tissue through the issuance of cravings for sugar. It may be hard to imagine and even hard to accept that so much human suffering may have been caused by an identification with the cravings of a dying colony of fungal microbes, but when you take time to ponder this objectively, it may explain the external feeling nature of greed, while simultaneously grounding some theories relating to inter dimensional forces into our reality in a way that is comprehensible to our fragile human minds.

In the next article in the series, “A theory on the topic of greed” we will look at and explore some of the functions of the mind, including the limbic system or “reptilian mind” for a more in depth journey into the inner machinations of greed. We will explore scientifically and objectively ideas such as”Scarcity Mentality”, “Rational or Logistical Thinking and its flaws therein” , “Abundance Manifestation” or “Trusting the Universe”  as well as “the Reptilian Agenda”  and the “Archons”  of Gnostic Texts and “Thetans” of Scientology, and see if we can find pointers in very old text that might help us sort out “truths” within an illusionary reality.