Money Is the Root of All Evil?

By Lee Collins •  Updated: 09/12/22 •  7 min read
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Money is the root of all evil?

Not hardly. In fact, I was absolutely shocked when I dug deeper into this – which you’ll see shortly.

You have likely heard people say ”money is the root of all evil” or “greed is the root of all evil”. Or possibly “the LOVE of money is the root of all evil”.

On Facebook recently, a friend made a comment and it got me thinking.

Is money the root of all evil?

It’s a popular thing to say, but I believe it’s not true.

Removing religion from the equation, I needed a tool. I decided to use my “Confab Scrutiny and Dissection” technique to gain insight into “what do they really mean”.

Here’s how my CS&D technique works:

1) Look up the definition of the root word (in this case, greed)
2) Find the “core” words in the definition. There are almost always only one or two. Be sure to keep the definition you choose to use in the context of your inquiry.
3) Look up the definition of each of these words.
4) Repeat with each word until you can go no further without a loop. I define this as where a word circles back to another word that has already been defined. You can also stop when you get to an action or choice as your only definition, provided there are no more loops.

If that sounds confusing, it should make more sense as you follow along below.

Using GREED as our root word in the search, let’s see if analyzing the words provides any clarity at all to the statement “Greed is the root of all evil”.

If you Google it, greed is defined as “intense and selfish desire for something, esp. wealth, power, or food.” OK, so when we strip away all the unnecessary words from that definition, we get greed is desire. Intensified.

Let’s keep going… don’t skip ahead.

We’re going to find out if money is really the root of all evil!

This gets more fun as we dig deeper.

Desire is defined as “a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen.” Going deeper, desire is “wanting”.

Wanting is “lacking in a certain required or necessary quality”. So now we are down to lacking, and lacking means “not available or in short supply”.

Taking a step back, in the definition of desire we had a slight split where desire could also be defined as wishing. Wishing is defined as “feel or express a strong desire or hope for something that is not easily attainable; or to want something that cannot or probably will not happen.”

We already defined desire and want, so the remaining word is hope, which is defined as “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen; a feeling of trust”

Expectation is “a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.”

Trust is a “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something”.

And both of those come down to belief, which is “an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists”.

Acceptance “the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered.”

Consenting is “give permission for something to happen.”

To undertake is to “commit oneself to and begin (an enterprise or responsibility); take on.”

To commit is to “carry out or perpetrate (a mistake, crime, or immoral act); pledge or bind (a person or an organization) to a certain course or policy”

Perpetrate gives us another loop back to a previous definition “to carry out or commit (a harmful, illegal, or immoral action)”

A pledge is “a solemn promise or undertaking”

Promise means “a declaration or assurance that one will do a particular thing or that a particular thing will happen; give good grounds for expecting (a particular occurrence or situation)”

Undertaking gives us another loop with “a formal pledge or promise to do something”

Declaration “a formal or explicit statement or announcement”

Announcement gives us another loop in its definition of “a public and typically formal statement about a fact, occurrence, or intention”

Statement “a definite or clear expression of something in speech or writing”

Expression “the process of making known one’s thoughts or feelings”

Thought “an idea or opinion produced by thinking or occurring suddenly in the mind”

Feeling “a belief, esp. a vague or irrational one”

Can you see how this works?

We are back to belief again “an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.”

Idea “a thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action.”

Opinion “a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.”

Suggestion “an idea or plan put forward for consideration.”

Plan “a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something; an intention or decision about what one is going to do.”

Proposal “a plan or suggestion, esp. a formal or written one, put forward for consideration or discussion by others”

Intention “an aim or plan”

Decision “a conclusion or resolution reached after consideration”

Aim “have the intention of achieving”

Conclusion “a judgment or decision reached by reasoning”

Resolution “a firm decision to do or not to do something”

Judgment “the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions”

The words “ability”, “decisions” and “conclusions” aren’t in context. Thus, we can’t go any further without realizing that it’s simply the CHOICE of the person to exercise judgment.

So, is money the root of all evil?

One last step…

Using my Confab Scrutiny and Dissection technique, we replace the original word GREED with the new word JUDGMENT and the statement reads…

“JUDGMENT is the root of all evil”

Wow. This literally gave me chills when I finally ended up with the following statement:

I never expected it.

But to me it makes sense.

When people say “greed is the root of all evil” a picture forms in their mind. From the people I’ve spoken with over the years, it’s usually a fat cat business person making money hand over fist and still wanting more.

That image is a judgment.

Calling him/her greedy is a judgment.

Who determines who or what is greedy and who or what is not?

Where in your belief system (BS) did you establish your image of “greed”?

Even further, have you ever asked yourself who is more greedy: 1) the wealthy business person working to grow their wealth even further, or 2) or the able-bodied person living off subsidies instead of earning their own way?

(We all know the system can be equally corrupt on both sides of the fence, so don’t judge me for asking a question regarding a known fact.)

At any rate, I am satisfied with the results of my analysis.

To me it just feels right.

If we stop judging, there wouldn’t even be a need for a saying like “greed is the root of all evil”. This is because it would not serve us to even fashion the thought, or the words. Ever.

I use this CS&D technique almost daily, although usually in a more abbreviated format. But still, the overall analysis above took only a few minutes of my time which is totally reasonable when digging deep.

What are your thoughts?

Is it really true that “judgment is the root of all evil”?

Lee Collins

Air Force veteran and former corporate VP, Lee Collins is best known as an early pioneer of Direct Response Marketing on the Internet. Since 1999, Lee has parlayed his experience into his Top-Down Consulting Framework to help thousands of clients build and optimize their "Repeat Profit" marketing systems resulting in more sales, more profit and most importantly – more freedom from their business with less stress, and without the typical overwhelm and frustration. When Lee isn't helping clients solve marketing and systems problems, he enjoys time with his wife contemplating by a campfire, exploring a mountain or desert trail in his Jeep Gladiator, or planning their next epic BBQ roadtrip.