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Essay/Term paper: Materialism is the root of all evil

Essay, term paper, research paper:  History Essays

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Materialism is the Root of All Evil

There is an old adage which says, "The root of all evil is money." This, however,
is not true in America. In America, money is not the problem, the love of money,
or materialism, is the problem. Materialism is at the core of our American dream.
We grow up learning that success is rooted in material wealth and power. We live
in a country where material things mean more to the general populous than a good
education, where material things dictate the amount of money we spend, and where
material things motivate our lives in most every way; something needs to change.
Realizing that we are corrupted by materialism is not difficult. What is
difficult, however, is finding a solution to the problem.

Habits recognizes the difficulty by saying, "And since we have believed in that
dream for a long time and worked very hard to make it come true, it is hard for
us to give it up, even though it contradicts another dream that we have— that of
living in a society that would really be worth living in." (Bella, et. Al. 285)

Materialism is closely tied to our individualism. We are taught to pursue our
materialistic American dream, to get ahead in life, to be somebody, to pursue
our own happiness. Even our own Declaration of Independence assumes we are
individuals first and for most: "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that
all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of
Happiness. . ." For Americans to be primarily self-reliant and selfish is not
surprising. Americans only do what is beneficial to themselves, if it helps
someone along the way, then that's great, but helping people is not their
initial motive.

In order to have the necessary balance between individualism and community, we
must be willing to give and then, only after giving, take what has been given to
us. If we learn to give, and then take what has been given to us, we will see a
dramatic change in American society. A change from a materialistic mindset, to
one which promotes the betterment of society, a society which as Habits says,
"would really be worth living in." (Bella et. Al. 285)

Our individualistic idea of the American dream must change. It must change from
being materially based to morally based. Our motives for doing things to get
ahead need to change. Getting ahead is all well and good, in fact, I think it's
vital to a society to have such a motive, but our reasons for getting ahead need
to change. We need to do things to help others, not ourselves. We need to get a
good education to have an educated society which can function with the other
surrounding societies, rather than getting a good education to get a good job.

We need a new American dream, one that motivates the betterment of society as
well as the betterment of our individual selves. This new American dream can
only be achieved if we remove our selfish motives, and replace them with morally
based and community minded motives.


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