Sunday, June 2, 2013

365 day challenge - day 153 / 7 deadly sins - day 1

7 Deadly Sins

(excerpt from Wikipedia):
The seven deadly sins, also known as the capital vices or cardinal sins, is a classification of vices (part of Christian ethics) that has been used since early Christian times to educate and instruct Christians concerning fallen humanity's tendency to sin. In the currently recognized version, the sins are usually given as wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.
Beginning in the early 14th century, the popularity of the seven deadly sins as a theme among European artists of the time eventually helped to ingrain them in many areas of Catholic culture and Catholic consciousness in general throughout the world. One means of such ingraining was the creation of the mnemonic "SALIGIA" based on the first letters in Latin of the seven deadly sins: superbiaavaritialuxuriainvidia,gulairaacedia.

- Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Engraving, 1558, published by Hieronymus Cock)

Biblical lists
In the Book of Proverbs (Mishlai), among the verses traditionally associated with King Solomon, it states that the Lord specifically regards "six things the Lord hateth, and the seventh His soul detesteth", namely:
  1. A proud look
  2. A lying tongue
  3. Hands that shed innocent blood
  4. A heart that devises wicked plots
  5. Feet that are swift to run into mischief
  6. A deceitful witness that uttereth lies
  7. Him that soweth discord among brethren
While there are seven of them, this list is considerably different from the traditional one, with only pride clearly being in both lists.

Another list, given this time by the Epistle to the Galatians (Galatians 5:19-21), includes more of the traditional seven sins, although the list is substantially longer: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, "and such like".  Since Saint Paul goes on to say that the persons who commit these sins "shall not inherit the Kingdom of God", they are usually listed as (possible) mortal sins rather than capital vices.

The modern concept of the seven deadly sins is linked to the works of the 4th century monk Evagrius Ponticus, (personal note:  I have always thought the 7 Deadly Sins stared with Dante's Devine Comedy) who listed eight evil thoughts in Greek as follows:
  • Γαστριμαργία (gastrimargia) gluttony
  • Πορνεία (porneia) prostitution, fornication
  • Φιλαργυρία (philargyria) avarice
  • Ὑπερηφανία (hyperēphania) hubris – in the Philokalia, this term is rendered as self-esteem
  • Λύπη (lypē) sadness – in the Philokalia, this term is rendered as envy, sadness at another's good fortune
  • Ὀργή (orgē) wrath
  • Κενοδοξία (kenodoxia) boasting
  • Ἀκηδία (akēdia) acedia – in the Philokalia, this term is rendered as dejection
They were translated into the Latin of Western Christianity (largely due to the writings of John Cassian), thus becoming part of the Western tradition's spiritual pietas (or Catholic devotions), as follows:
  • Gula (gluttony)
  • Fornicatio (fornication, lust)
  • Avaritia (avarice/greed)
  • Superbia (hubris, pride)
  • Tristitia (sorrow/despair/despondency)
  • Ira (wrath)
  • Vanagloria (vainglory)
  • Acedia (sloth)
These "evil thoughts" can be categorized into three types:
  • lustful appetite (gluttony, fornication, and avarice)
  • irascibility (wrath)
  • intellect (vainglory, sorrow, pride, and Discouragement)
In AD 590, a little over two centuries after Evagrius wrote his list, Pope Gregory I revised this list to form the more common Seven Deadly Sins, by folding (sorrow/despair/despondency) into acedia, vainglory into pride, and adding envy.

In the order used by both Pope Gregory and by Dante Alighieri in his epic poem The Divine Comedy, the seven deadly sins are as follows:
  1. luxuria (lechery/lust)
  2. gula (gluttony)
  3. avaritia (avarice/greed)
  4. acedia (sloth/discouragement)
  5. ira (wrath)
  6. invidia (envy)
  7. superbia (pride)
(It is interesting to note that Pope Gregory's list corresponds exactly to the traits described in Pirkei Avot as "removing one from the world." See Pirkei Avot 2:16, 3:14, 4:28 and the Vilna Gaon's commentary to Aggadot Berachot 4b.)

The identification and definition of the seven deadly sins over their history has been a fluid process and the idea of what each of the seven actually encompasses has evolved over time. Additionally, as a result of semantic change:
  • socordia sloth was substituted for acedia
It is this revised list that Dante uses. The process of semantic change has been aided by the fact that the personality traits are not collectively referred to, in either a cohesive or codified manner, by the Bible itself; other literary and ecclesiastical works were instead consulted, as sources from which definitions might be drawn.  Part II of Dante's Divine Comedy, Purgatorio, has almost certainly been the best known source since the Renaissance.

The modern Catholic Catechism lists the sins in Latin as "superbia, avaritia, invidia, ira, luxuria, gula, pigritia seu acedia", with an English translation of "pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth/acedia".  Each of the seven deadly sins now also has an opposite among corresponding seven holy virtues (sometimes also referred to as the contrary virtues). In parallel order to the sins they oppose, the seven holy virtues are humility, charity, kindness, patience, chastity, temperance, and diligence.

Associations with demons
In 1589, Peter Binsfeld paired each of the deadly sins with a demon, who tempted people by means of the associated sin. According to Binsfeld's classification of demons, the pairings are as follows:
  • Lucifer: pride (superbia)
  • Mammon: greed (avaritia)
  • Asmodeus: lust (luxuria)
  • Leviathan: envy (invidia)
  • Beelzebub: gluttony (gula or gullia)
  • Amon or Satan: wrath (ira)
  • Belphegor: sloth (acedia)
This contrasts slightly with an earlier series of pairings found in the fifteenth century English Lollard tract Lanterne of Light, which differs in pairing Beelzebub with Envy, Abadon with Sloth, Belphegor with Gluttony and matching Lucifer with Pride, Satan with Wrath, Asmodeus with Lust and Mammon with Avarice.
In Doctor Faustus, there is a "parade" of the seven deadly sins that is conducted by Mephistopheles, Satan, and Beelzebub suggesting that the demons do not match with each deadly sin, but the demons are in command of the seven deadly sins.

According to a 2009 study by a Jesuit scholar, the most common deadly sin confessed by men is lust, and for women, pride.  It was unclear whether these differences were due to different rates of commission, or different views on what "counts" or should be confessed.[

Cultural references
The seven deadly sins have long been a source of inspiration for writers and artists, from medieval works such as Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, to modern works such as the film Seven.

Biologist Jeremy Griffith cites the seven deadly sins as manifestations of the three psychological states of anger, egocentricity and alienation that necessarily accompanied the emergence of consciousness in humans, beginning some two million years ago.

7 Deadly Sins - Day 1

(1) Lust
Lust or lechery (carnal "luxuria") is an intense desire. It is usually thought of as excessive sexual wants; however, the word was originally a general term for desire. Therefore lust could involve the intense desire of money, fame, or power as well.

In Dante's Purgatorio, the penitent walks within flames to purge himself of lustful/sexual thoughts and feelings. In Dante's Inferno, unforgiven souls of the sin of lust are blown about in restless hurricane-like winds symbolic of their own lack of self-control to their lustful passions in earthly life.

An allegorical image depicting the human heart subject to the seven deadly sins, each represented by an animal (clockwise: toad = avarice; snake = envy; lion = wrath; snail = sloth; pig = gluttony; goat = lust; peacock = pride).

(personal note:  I find it interesting that the goat = lust comes into play in the pentagram...
Eliphas Levi says in his book, Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual that:
"A reversed pentagram, with two points projecting upwards, is a symbol of evil and attracts sinister forces because it overturns the proper order of things and demonstrates the triumph of matter over spirit. It is the goat of lust attacking the heavens with its horns, a sign execrated by initiates." In Native American tarot, the attribution is often more complex than this.)

Further Definition
Lust is an intense desire or craving. Lust can take many forms such as the lust for knowledge, the lust for sex or the lust for power. It can take such mundane forms as the lust for food as distinct from the need for food. Lust is a powerful psychological feeling producing intense wanting for an object, or circumstance fulfilling a it.  Many religions separate the definition of passion and lust by further categorizing lust as type of passion for something that does not belong to oneself.[clarification needed]

In philosophy
The link between love and lust has always been a problematic question in philosophy.
Schopenhauer notes the misery which results from sexual relationships. According to him, this directly explains the sentiments of shame and sadness which tend to follow the act of sexual intercourse. For, he states, the only power that reigns is the inextinguishable desire to face, at any price, the blind love present in human existence without any consideration of the outcome. He estimates that a genius of his species is an industrial being who wants only to produce, and wants only to think. The theme of lust for Schopenhauer is thus to consider the horrors which will almost certainly follow the culmination of lust.

Contemporary Spiritual Perspective
Religious doctrine is rife with conflicting beliefs about lust and what it constitutes. For this reason a psychological conflict arises in many religious adherents and ordinary people from not really understanding lust and lusting, and the possibility of freedom in being and expressing the natural sexual energy as love.

Barry Long states that lusting is only the thinking about the sexual act or related matters, and this thinking about sex works off the pure sexual energy deep in the body. This natural sexual energy or 'wellbeing' is the source of all existential love. When attraction occurs there is an intensification and subsequent increased awareness of this energy in the conscious mind. Thinking while unconsciously focusing on this pure sexual energy or 'wellbeing' in the body actually converts this good natural energy into a related troublesome emotion that we know as 'lust'. This emotion proves to be troublesome because it results in more 'unwanted' thoughts and imagining of sex. Emotion is a degradation of the natural energy of love or wellbeing. A quote from Barry Long on the subject of celibacy (with regard to being free of lust) clarifies his view of love:

"You don’t need a celibate body, you need a celibate mind"

A celibate mind is a mind free of lust, or free of thinking about sex. He states that the natural attraction between the sexes is pure and holy because it derives from a natural uncorrupted God or Life created source i.e. the purity of an innocent (un-thinking, un-judging), sexually mature body. He states that the physical act of sex between two mutually attracted bodies in the absence of wanting and trying, thinking and fantasizing(lust), results in the re-creation of the knowledge of love in the consciousness of the bodies and he offers this as a way for man and woman to realise God in existence. The error of being in love is to think about sex.

Personal Thoughts
Such a complex and varied topic is lust.  I'm going to give this further thought and post more of my personal thoughts as the week progresses.

365 day challenge - day 153


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