Greed is a disease
Wall Street is a metonym for everything to do with finance. The name of an unassuming back alley draws overambitious people from around the world. The allure of money and power, and the depths of sleaze they offer has attracted misguided individuals for as long as memory serves.
Bud Fox, played by Charlie Sheen, is the individual in question. He does everything he can to get close to Gordon Gekko, played superbly by Michael Douglas, to advance his career. As many experienced people will testify, seeking is not the same as having.
I have seen this particular story play out with so many people. I wouldn’t call them friends as I do not befriend such people, but I knew them well enough to see similar cycles of abuse and regret. It is such a pity we do not try and channel this untamed ambition into something beautiful.
“What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient... highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed - fully understood - that sticks; right in there somewhere.”
— Dom Cobb
“But you’re wrong if you think that the joy of life comes principally from human relationships. God’s placed it all around us. It’s in everything. It’s in anything we can experience. People just need to change the way they look at those things”
— Christopher McCandless
“Aristotle be damned!
By Zeus and all the gods, what makes you so much better than them, Cassander? Better than you really are! In you and those like you is this!
What disturbs me most is not your lack of respect for my judgment. It’s your contempt for a world far older than ours!”
— Alexander the Great
“I cannot waste time with these classes and these books, memorizing the weaker assumptions of lesser mortals! I need to look through to the governing dynamics, find a truly original idea. That’s the only way I’ll ever distinguish myself. It’s the only way that I’ll ever… matter”
— John Nash
“You’re an interesting species. An interesting mix. You’re capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you’re not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other.”
— Carl Sagan
“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked…
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?”
— Kahlil Gibran
“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”
— Abraham Lincoln
“Two little mice fell into a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned, but the second mouse, he struggled so hard that he eventually churned that cream into butter and he walked out. Amen.”
— Frank Abagnale, Jr.
“There’s a little boy and on his 14th birthday he gets a horse... and everybody in the village says, ‘how wonderful. The boy got a horse’ And the Zen master says, ‘we’ll see.’ Two years later, the boy falls off the horse, breaks his leg, and everyone in the village says, ‘How terrible.’ And the Zen master says, ‘We’ll see.’ Then, a war breaks out and all the young men have to go off and fight... except the boy can’t cause his legs all messed up. and everybody in the village says, ‘How wonderful’.”
”Now the Zen master says, ‘We’ll see.’”
— Gust Avrakotos & Charlie Wilson
“You know the worst part?
The world didn’t stop. The newspaper still came every morning, the automatic sprinklers went off at six. Jerry next door still washed his car every Sunday.
My life ended and nobody noticed.”
— Phil Woodward
“You wonder why fund managers can’t beat the S&P 500? Because they’re sheep, and sheep get slaughtered. I’ve been in this business since ‘69. These Harvard types don’t add up to dogshit. Give me guys that are poor, smart, and hungry, and no feelings. You lose a few, but you keep fighting, and if you need a friend, get a dog. It’s trench warfare out there, pal.”
— Gordon Gekko