A Look at the Human Condition

One of the most controversial and predictable elements of Western society is our relationship with money, prestige and power, to the point they are intermingled concepts that make the fabric of human behavior.

The great extent to which individuals are capable to stretch their moral concepts, if they have them; or the total obliteration of them, if they don’t, has been the fodder or countless literary pieces that depict them well, to the point where the basic notions of character, integrity and values are now routinely mishandled for the sake of greed, profit and questionable financial gain.

This is particularly applicable to the activities associated with real estate where attorneys have a profitable source of business derived from the constant conflict between brokers, buyers and sellers, among which the theory of procuring cause of sale has a legal treatment of its own and probably it’s the most mishandled or perhaps misunderstood of all conceptions applicable to real estate law. The best of friends overnight become enemies accusing each other of interfering with the other’s pockets and all is permissible if one party believes they have the right to another’s well-earned commission. Surely, this constant state of negative awareness doesn’t do much for a healthy set of values of the individuals engaged in the endeavor of real estate procurement. Obviously, the immoral or amoral associated with traits of this type of misguided behavior applies to every segment of human endeavor from servant to gentile through the most varied walks of life, realty buyer’s and seller’s brokers being but an example of the victims of this obnoxious universe. And don’t be mistaken we have enough of these specimens in our midst. Consequently, instead of the timeless cliché caveat emptor, we should now use caveat amicus – beware of the friend, expression more in line with the times.

It’s a well-known fact, clearly shown by statistics and sociological studies that the concept of money is the foremost element that pares humans against each other causing suffering and frustration, even on a higher scale that terminal disease or divorce.

The fact humans have changed their relationship with money represents a new case study for behavior and economics that developed into a new science to help us understand how has the human psyche changed from bartering and exchange for survival and wealth creation into a fiat paper money dependency that is both a tragedy and a disease; this dependency can only suggest that in our brains we are still fighting the enormous vulnerability and consequences of poverty imprinted in genes since primordial times depending on warlords and prophets and our unconscious defense against it, which is the hoarding of money, gold, sheep or whatever was the parameter of wealth in the different stages of human civilization. This situation in due course reflected into independence, power and domination of our peers. All this fear originates from anger, lack of authority over our lives, prestige and respect by our equals, which is a reassuring tool in the survivalist jungle, and finally to be crowned by the ability to control relationships based on the so-called ‘dominance position’ that wealth carries.

Why Cain assassinated his brother? Envy because he did not have the consideration by God Abel had? Was it envy, and fear? Envy, fear, lack of a clear destiny and wealth, as his brother seemed to be a better farmer, a wealthier dweller and worker of the land? Envy is alone the strongest human emotion besides love and hate and its consequences well documented throughout man’s history. This brings us to reason that for the sake of either having an advantage, for revenge at being disadvantaged or simply obeying the typical genetic primeval need of having someone else’s possessions, a member of the humans species is capable of abhorrent conduct. The sages of old understood this flaw well, thus justifying the concepts transcribed in the Ten Commandments as a divine rule.

To most, money is not only an addictive, but also a seductive trait. The one that doesn’t have it yearns for it while the one that does, wants ever more. Implicating that money is not only a means to obtain material things, but a drug that can intoxicate the mind bringing the concept of the miserliness of Scrooge to a serious analysis in terms of value, as to the Dickens’s character whose wealth left the miser with never enough. What he had, he refused to spend and when enough is never reached, especially in terms of wealth, the senses obliterate as nothing will be a stopper to achieve the status of always more. If this unhealthy and misguided relationship with money is inherent to human behavior and not simply a cultural mishap, sad are the days before human civilization and our expected age of achievement.