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Research Says Money Can Lead to Greed. (Duh.)

By Shrinkingthecamel

Research Says Money Can Lead to Greed. (Duh.)I once came across this shocking headline: “Cutting Calories Leads to Weight Loss.”

A well-funded publicity campaign propelled this revolutionary news story to the forefront of major newspapers, websites, and network news programs.

Well, Duh!  Do we really need a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine to tell us that we’ll lose weight if we eat less?

So, I was not at all surprised when another sensationalistic headline came across my desk that said, ”Money Can Make You Greedy.” The link took me straight to an article in New Scientist magazine, called “Why Money Messes With Your Mind.”

I, for one, am not ashamed to admit that I am ambitious. But for me, money has always been about its practical use more than anything else. It sure does come in handy. It pays for our homes, puts food on the table, and clothes on our backs. Not to mention all that make-up required by my two teen-age daughters. It also pays for our church staff, important missions and service work. Money can do a lot of good.

But there is another side – a side that leads to plenty of selfish, unethical and downright sleazy behavior. Look no further than the headlines, which somehow continually dredge up a never-ending stream of financial indescretions.

Currency is simply a tool to help us make more efficient and functional transactions in our society. So why does money have such a nasty effect on peoples’ thinking, driving them to do stupid things?

The New Scientist article asks this same question, but from a neuropsychological angle. The article reviews a slew of research that looks at the effect of money on your brain. And, guess what? It turns out that money really does mess with our thinking.

Here are some of the findings:

  • Simply thinking about words associated with money can make us more self-reliant and less inclined to help others.
  • The very act of handling cash can diminish physical pain and social rejection.
  • Money affects some brains the same way drugs affect addicts.
  • Subjects who heard words associated with commerce were slower to ask for help

Hmm. Why does this all sound so familiar? Oh yes, I remember. I once read about something like this in an ancient manuscript called, THE BIBLE?

Jesus knew all about this problem 2,000 years ago when he gave that famous talk about the camel going through the eye of a needle. It is harder for a rich man to get into heaven, he said (followed immediately, by the way, with “But with God, all things are possible!”).

And Paul wrote one of the most misquoted scripture verses of all time in I Timothy 6:10, which says,

 ”The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with all kinds of grief.”

All throughout the New Testament are references to the dangers of the love of money, not money itself.  They might as well have written about the love of food, or sex, or the insatiable desire to see a new comment posted on your Blog every five minutes.

Our brains have this needy little hot spot baked right in there that is constantly yelling at us from the sidelines, like a screeching monkey. “No, don’t stop! We need more! Hey Loser, Over here! More of that! I’m not filled yet! You are such a stupid Loser! Gimme some of that! We need more! More! More!”

I think the screeching monkey is the root of all evil. Not the money.

Awesome/scary/screaming photo thx to Nance, used with permish.

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