Kiran Krishnan
4 min readOct 8, 2021


Stealing for greed vs Stealing for need 🤔

Should we punish a mother who steals to feed her baby?

Stealing: Greed vs Need

Stealing literally means, “taking another’s, without permission “. If we go by this meaning holistically, all of us are stealers one way or the other as explained below. Stealing as a sin is very much a human construct. In the animal world stealing is much common. Any animal will take the food of another animal if given a chance (when no one is watching and if they can overpower the opponent) . In the world of humans, people steal due to greed or need. Greed is considered as one of the seven deadly sins and but accumulation of wealth is never considered punishable offense as long as it doesn't break the law. A need is to survive. To survive is a basic right of all living beings. If not for survival, no one would need anything. So, should we consider those who steal for a need as a thief and punish them?

Stealing: A holistic perspective

Are all of us some kind of stealers? Sorry 😞 for disrupting your belief that you are living a honest life. Our honesty doesn’t work if we consider all beings as equal as us. Every being is fighting for its own survival and in that process is right in its own perspective. Let’s consider examples in plant and animal life.

In plant life:

Plants are living beings. They have the capabilities to defend in the form of spikes and toxins to ensure their own survival and reproduce like all other beings to proliferate their own genes . But we endanger their survival by uprooting them , plucking them and destroy their young by eating their seeds without their permission. One may argue that they don’t have emotions. But what are emotions? It’s basically chemical reactions in the brain which gives us the feelings of pain or pleasure with the end point of survival. It has been shown experimentally that the touch me not plant, when sedated doesn’t droop their leaves when threatened. This proves that the plants are also emotional beings which can only be interpreted indirectly by our senses by using logic. If stealing is taking without permission, what we are doing to plants are very much stealing their lives and their future.

In animal life:

Animals are as emotional as us in how they conduct their life. Our senses can directly perceive their suffering. Yet…



Kiran Krishnan

Life enthusiast; Seeker; Renaissance man; Life long student ; Self taught scientist.