Professor cites greed as root of all evil

By Joe Bush

As physics and astronomy professor Hendrick Hoeve followed last week’s Voyager II exploration of Neptune, he thought not of the progress being made, but of the other areas where the project’s billions of dollars could have been spent.

Hoeve said greed is the master link in a chain of wars, crime and the depletion of the earth’s resources that is holding down hope for a world where “the misery is tremendous.”

As an astronomy professor, Hoeve said he can broaden students’ scopes and widen their social consciousness.

“Step outside earth and look back on it and you can see that people are really dumb to be fighting,” Hoeve said. “The place of earth in the universe is so miniscule that it makes you humble.”

All the world’s problems, Hoeve said, can be traced to mankind’s all-consuming desire to have more and to make a profit. When a society has a free enterprise system, he said, people are encouraged to do as best as they can, often at others’ expense. Hoeve said the fact that everybody wants to get ahead—to be richer—is the underlying reason behind all crime.

“If you propogate greed then I maintain that you propogate violence,” Hoeve said.

This greed is also the reason for the environmental ravages earth is facing, Hoeve said. The loss of oxygen from destroying the Amazon rain forests, acid rain and the greenhouse effect all have an economic backdrop, “because of a business sense that says ‘if you can get it now, get it.” Hoeve said the youth of today are the ones that will pay unless the world can learn to work together.

“There is hope only if the young people are willing to take on a new trend,” Hoeve said.

That trend can start in the classroom and the home, Hoeve said. People are not born with greed, they are trained to want more. More emphasis on global interests is needed in education because, “most people here haven’t the foggiest on how others survive,” he said.

The biggest disappointment concerning education is that higher educators have a “tremendous amount of knowledge but little wisdom,” Hoeve said. Many professors encourage their students to have the cutthroat attitude “needed” to survive in the world, he said.

Today’s families are growing further apart as well, weakening society and encouraging the “each to his own” way of living, Hoeve said. Groups that think alike withstand today’s pressures much better and can make a difference if they have a cause, he said.

In general, Hoeve said there needs to be a moratorium on sciences to divert those monies to “priority” situations, such as hunger and conservation. Hoeve encouraged today’s youth to get involved with environmental organizations such as Greenpeace, which is a major force in European politics.

“Young people should take their own interests in their hands,” Hoeve said.

“There is hope only if the young people are willing to take on a new trend.”

Hendrick Hoeve, professor