Greed And The Seven Ages Of Man

Categories Human Nature

On my mind is greed, which Mr. Webster defines as, “intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food”.

William Shakespeare contextualizes greed in his pastoral comedy entitled “As You Like It”, through his character Jaques, in the fifth, sixth and seventh ages. Jaques compares all the world to a stage, and life to a play and catalogues the seven ages of a man’s life.

The seven ages are: the helpless infant; the whining schoolboy; the emotional lover; the devoted soldier; the wise judge; the pantalone or the old man who is still in control of his faculties; and the extremely aged, returned to a second state of childishness, just before going to oblivion.

Analysts of this comedy suggest that the fifth age, when one is approximately between thirty five and fifty years old, is where man turns into justice, the one who knows what is good and what is right, and is perhaps the best person to approach to find out who is correct and who is wrong.

They suggest that the sixth age, which is roughly between fifty and sixty five years of age, is the age of Pantalone, where man has a high status in society, yet he is greedy for more. This age does not remain for long in his life.

This age, however, is the time when:

  • they build palaces, from stolen monies, with ten lobbies, ten dining rooms, ten toilets, twelve bathrooms, eleven offices, five bars, and twelve bedrooms;
  • they let their accounts grow to millions while their brother’s child is going barefooted;
  • they put clothes they don’t wear in the bin while a neighbour is going naked;
  • their food is rotting in the house while those around them are sleeping hungry;
  • they see business opportunities and hide them without sharing and yet they won’t use them;
  • they are in a position to help someone get promotion or a new job but they hold back because the person is not from their family, tribe or religion;
  • they defame their brother or sister just because they don’t want them to get help.

My mind is at a loss because it can not fathom why the heightened greed at the age of Pantalone.

My mind wonders why they become so busy looting, plundering and amassing wealth as if they are preparing to live forever; reaping where they never sowed.

My mind wonders what the fun is when grand children watch them on television, in Courts of Law, being accused of stealing from public coffers.

And yet they do not have to because their children have gotten their education and have left the nest, and they already have several sources of genuine income, which they generated in their fifth age, and which can keep them going comfortably into old age.

My mind, therefore, feels very sorry that these are people who are in denial, even when the facts are clear as crystal.

The facts are that sooner than later, when they will be seventy five years of age and over, they will not be able to remember things no matter how hard they try.

The facts are that they will turn into children again, and will totally be dependent on others, after losing the vision, the taste, and the greed for everything that they once drooled for in life.

My mind feels sorry that they have not realized what peace there is in living a contented life; they have not realized the joy that comes with living within what is reaped from genuine toil, sweat and blood; they have not realized that despite everything, all is vanity.

I am an epic introvert, who quickly becomes an open book when I pen what’s in my significantly fertile mind; fertile as a result of bombardment by realities that are continuously captured by my inquisitive eyes, ears which are constantly rubbing the ground, through constant reading, and through dreaming too.

Writing provides an opportunity to ‘say’ what my unapologetic quiet mouth will not say; which not only soothes me, but also bequeaths to me a relief, a release, and a hope that the written words will change the world, even if only one person at a time.

And so should you seek, that’s where to find me; deeply tucked inside the blankets of reading, seeing, listening, dreaming, and then writing.

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