In our modern society human beings have apparently been turned into voracious monsters. They are tormented by an unquenchable thirst for life. They are possessed by an insatiable hunger for power. The more they have, the more they want, so their appetite is endless and can never be appeased.
Why have people in our modern world become so distorted? Because both consciously and unconsciously they are dominated by the fear of death. For a person’s greed for life is really his fear of death; and their fear of death finds expression in an unbridled hunger for power. ‘You only live once!’ we are told. ‘You might miss out on something!’ The hunger for pleasure, for possessions, for power; the thirst for recognition through success and admiration – this is the sin of modern men and women. …
When the fear of death leaves us, the destructive craving for life leaves us too. We can then restrict our desires and our demands to our natural requirements. The dreams of power and happiness and luxury and far-off places, which are used to create artificial wants, no longer entice us. They have become ludicrous. So we shall use only what we really need, and shall no longer be prepared to go along with the lunacy of extravagance and waste. We do not even need solemn appeals for saving and moderation; for life itself is glorious, and here joy in existence can be had for nothing.
Jürgen Moltmann, The Power of the Powerless