Love is selfless, lust/greed is selfish

Love is selfless, stable, and not limited to one person.

Lust/greed is selfish, fickle, and jealous.

Out of love, most parents would instantly, without thinking, dive in front of a train to push their child to safety, and that feeling lasts for the parent’s whole life. By comparison, lust/greed: “The way you make me feel. You really turn me on. … My lonely days are gone” (Michael Jackson) — it’s all about what the girl does for *him*.

South Asian cultures often equate words like greed, lust, and attachment, perhaps in order to highlight how they all have to do with selfishness and possessiveness. But there is a difference between greed and lust, when in reference to people. Lust, obviously, is mostly physical. But greed, in the sense of treasuring someone, considering them precious like a valuable possession, wanting them to “be mine,” etc. can be more subtle and mental. For example, “You’re mine, and we belong together. Yes, we belong together, for eternity. You’re mine, your lips belong to me. Yes, they belong to only me, for eternity. …” (Ritchie Valens, “We Belong Together”).

Long-term romantic relationships, marriages, etc. often seem to be a mixture of love and lust/greed.


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