We say that one must make one’s way through life; each one out for himself, whether in the name of business, religion or country. You want to become famous, and so does your neighbour, and so does his neighbour: and so it is with everyone.
Thus we build a Society based on ambition, envy and acquisitiveness, in which each is the enemy of another; and you are educated to conform to this disintegrating Society, to fit into its vicious frame.
It seems we must conform to society or be destroyed.
At present, you are so-called educated to fit into this Society; your capacities are developed to enable you to make a living within the pattern. Your parents, your educators, your governments, are all concerned with your efficiency and financial security.
Society wants you to be ‘good citizens’, which means being respectably ambitious, everlastingly acquisitive and indulging in that socially accepted ruthlessness called competition, so that you and they may be secure. This is what constitutes being a so-called good citizen; but is it good, or something very evil?
In most dictionaries, ambition simply means a strong desire for success, achievement, power and wealth. The way modern societies have given a special value to success, achievement, power and wealth – and especially power and wealth – it is no wonder that being ambitious seems a blessing.
The current models of great ambition are either politicians or business moguls, more on power and wealth and less on success and achievement. It seems people would rather chase dreams or visions and not ambitions. There has been a growing negativity about the term ambition.
Ambition should better defined as an inordinate desire for power and wealth, not much different from the term greedy. And like greed, it cannot be moderated unless the person has the character to transcend greed. It seems that the in-between from the strong desire to succeed, to achieve, to gain power and money and the quicksand that can swallow the ambitious is a human virtue called temperance.
Unfortunately, that virtue is severely challenged when confronted with greed and the lust for power. In the journey to satisfy the strong desire for success, achievement, power and wealth, as one makes it through the different stages, ambition turns to addiction.
With success and achievement come recognition and fame that leads to power and wealth. Each stage is intoxicating and becomes more so. We have heard of horror stories about how success and fame have destroyed relationships and families. That is why many players become forced to step back and reassess the value of the pursuit, if it was worth everything else.
Those winners who then decide to stay the course, having resolved family or relationship issues, or junking these in favor of what they believe to be higher causes, they will stand out for their passion and determination. They reach greater heights, become the most known personalities in Society.
Those who can sustain their elevated status can be said to be the rare destined few. They will make the history books with a fair amount of positive legacy.
Most winners, though, who gravitate in the world of great power and wealth, do not end up as lucky. By this time, the ambition has eaten the soul and exposed for what it is – merely ambition. And the noble reasons that were used to mask the ambition cannot anymore hide the truth.
Most of us realize at one point that we have to let go of ambition before ambition will refuse to let go of us. Ambition must remain a tool for a higher purpose, or ambition will make tools of us.