Twenty-one years old Eli Jones lies in bed waiting for the day to be over. Even though it’s beautiful outside, he’s too lazy to move. He needed to hire a personal assistant just so that he could brush his teeth.
“Sir, here is your Dr. Pepper,” his assistant, Ronnie said while handing Eli’s pop to him. Eli looked at the top to see if it was opened; sadly, it wasn’t.
“RONNIE! Open the top of this!” Eli instructed. Ronnie sighed and opened the top of his pop.
“Lazy ass! No good as a boss! Can’t even open pop by himself.” Ronnie thought as he struggled to open the pop just right. Then he handed it back to Eli, “Here!” Ronnie accidentally said it harsher than intended.
“Wow! Someone has woken up on the wrong side of the bed! I would slap you but it’s too much of an effort.” Eli said, unaware that Ronnie was watching him closely from the windows. Lazy, lazy, lazy! Why is that, Eli? He dismissed Ronnie so that he could watch television. Eli had dropped out of college so that he could spend more time watching TV and eating cheese puffs. School was too much work and effort for him – all the writing and moving was just too much. Eli lay lazily on the bed as he gulped down his Dr. Pepper. Then he threw the can somewhere, knowing that Ronnie would pick and clean it up. Then, he watched TV for the rest of the day. Not much happened in his house and he didn’t have to worry about money either. His parents were rich and had died one month ago. Now Eli just had to mooch off of his parents’ inheritance and never needed to lift a finger. Eli got it all – Money; Ronnie and the TV – what more did he need? His life.
“See you later,” Ronnie waved goodbye as he left Eli’s home. Eli sighed and continued watching mind-numbing TV and eating pizza that was a day old that Ronnie had given him to eat. Then the TV went to some boring documentary about starving children in Africa. He wanted to change the channel but the TV remote was too far away on his bedside table. “I’ll get it later,” he thought and continued eating. “Why does chewing have to be so tiring?” Little did he know that I, Ronnie, was pouring gasoline around his house and inside his bedroom.
“Hurry up! I’m trying to watch my ‘soaps’!” Eli shouted at the TV. The documentary was taking forever to end and he really couldn’t give a rat’s ass about that. What was I supposed to feel for him? Pity? I lit a match and dropped it into the gas – a raging fire instantly emerged and engulfed Eli’s house in flames. If Eli moved, he would live; if not, you know what would happen to him. Eli started coughing and looked around his house, as red and orange flames surrounded him. The only exit was the window but he couldn’t get up. Was it that he couldn’t or wouldn’t?
“I’m going to die, but what about my TV?” he shrieked but no one seemed to notice the smoke or the wild flames coming from his house. No one called 9-1-1. He died after a while. Then the fire started dying down. On Eli’s body, was the following word written in soot and ashes: SLOTH. The deadly sin of his utter laziness is what finally killed him.
He was sitting alone, at the beach, and staring out into the dark sea, sheltered by none other than the night sky. There were no clouds hanging overhead, yet the sparkles of the stars did not illuminate the land or the sea one bit. There was no moon either, not even a crescent.
But amidst this dark place, accompanying the gentle breeze and the sounds of the sea, were the snowflakes lightly falling down from the sky. Winter. It was the start of winter. Yet he was there, sitting on the sand, and staring out doing nothing.
He had been doing nothing for a long, long time. Since when, had he been like that? He could not remember.
Going through life, everyday, doing the routine things. Wake up, prepare to go to work, go back home, sleep. And the next day repeats itself. He never thought more about it. He did not have anything more that he wanted to do. He did not desire anything. No ambition, no purpose, and therefore, no striving towards anything in life.
Even the ‘bad guys’ were better than him. For they were alive and working for something, even though they were morally bankrupt in the eyes of society. Not that society was pure and holy. Just that, he was wasting his life away, more than what the ‘bad guys’ were doing. At least, they were exchanging their lives for a temporary pleasure. But him, nothing at all.
Not that he could not. It was that he did not want. He did not want to work hard anymore. He would just put in the bare minimum for everything. Then he would live through his life that way.
No point. There was really no point. For what had the others worked so hard for? There was no point at all.
For glory? No. it will end as soon as you are dead. For money? You could live a decent life with a decent pay from an ordinary job. For personal achievement? No, even those deeds that you did, no matter how great they are, will fade as time goes by. It was pointless.
He was tired. Really, really tired. He used to be like one of them. But he realized, that there were things, that no matter how hard one worked for, how much one hoped for, how carefully one planned out and how desperately one wanted it, there were things which one simply could not get hold of them.
It was just a fact of life.
And if one could not get what he wanted the most in life, what point was there, to settle for the second wish? Would that not be deceiving oneself? Or accepting reality by killing one’s own desire? How pathetic.
In the end, all the others were working for something temporary. For something meaningless. In the end, when the paths of both their lives end, they would be the same. A living, walking piece of flesh stuck onto the skeleton with a consciousness. That was all there is. That would be all that would be.
In the end, it was simply pointless. Then, it would be best not to do anything.
The snow fell lightly. And for a long time, the scene in front of him, was a literal reflection about the inner state of his heart.
Seven deadly sins
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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.
The Catholic Church divides sin into two categories: venial sins, in which guilt is relatively minor, and the more severe mortal sins. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a mortal or deadly sin is believed to destroy the life of grace and charity within a person and thus creates the threat of eternal damnation. “Mortal sin, by attacking the vital principle within us – that is, charity – necessitates a new initiative of God’s mercy and a conversion of heart which is normally accomplished within the setting of the sacrament of reconciliation.”
According to Catholic moral thought, the seven deadly sins are not discrete from other sins, but are instead the origin (“capital” comes from the Latin caput, head) of the others. Vices can be either venial or mortal, depending on the situation, but “are called ‘capital’ because they engender other sins, other vices”.
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 acronym “SALIGIA” based on the first letters in Latin of the seven deadly sins: superbia, avaritia, luxuria, invidia, gula, ira,acedia.
Sloth (Latin, Socordia) can entail different vices. While sloth is sometimes defined as physical laziness, spiritual laziness is emphasized. Failing to develop spiritually is key to becoming guilty of sloth. In the Christian faith, sloth rejects grace and God.
Sloth has also been defined as a failure to do things that one should do. By this definition, evil exists when good men fail to act.
Edmund Burke (1729-1797) wrote “No man, who is not inflamed by vain-glory into enthusiasm, can flatter himself that his single, unsupported, desultory, unsystematic endeavours are of power to defeat the subtle designs and united Cabals of ambitious citizens.“When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”
Over time, the “acedia“ in Pope Gregory’s order has come to be closer in meaning to sloth. The focus came to be on the consequences of acedia rather than the cause, and so, by the 17th century, the exact deadly sin referred to was believed to be the failure to utilize one’s talents and gifts. Even in Dante’s time there were signs of this change; in his Purgatorio he had portrayed the penance for acedia as running continuously at top speed.
The modern Roman Catholic Catechism lists the sins “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.
7 MODERN SINS
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.
Derived from the Latin gluttire, meaning to gulp down or swallow, gluttony (Latin, gula) is the over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste.
In Christian religions, it is considered a sin because of the excessive desire for food, and its withholding from the needy.
Because of these scripts, gluttony can be interpreted as selfishness; essentially placing concern with one’s own interests above the well-being or interests of others.
Medieval church leaders (e.g., Thomas Aquinas) took a more expansive view of gluttony, arguing that it could also include an obsessive anticipation of meals, and the constant eating of delicacies and excessively costly foods. Aquinas went so far as to prepare a list of six ways to commit gluttony, including:
Praepropere – eating too soon.
Laute – eating too expensively.
Nimis – eating too much.
Ardenter – eating too eagerly (burningly).
Studiose – eating too daintily (keenly).
Forente – eating wildly (boringly).
Greed (Latin, avaritia), also known as avarice or covetousness, is, like lust and gluttony, a sin of excess. However, greed (as seen by the church) is applied to a very excessive or rapacious desire and pursuit of material possessions. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that greed was “a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, in as much as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things.” In Dante’s Purgatory, the penitents were bound and laid face down on the ground for having concentrated too much on earthly thoughts. “Avarice” is more of a blanket term that can describe many other examples of greedy behavior. These include disloyalty, deliberate betrayal, or treason, especially for personal gain, for example through bribery. Scavenging and hoarding of materials or objects, theft and robbery, especially by means of violence, trickery, or manipulation of authority are all actions that may be inspired by greed. Such misdeeds can include simony, where one attempts to purchase or sell sacraments, including Holy Orders and, therefore, positions of authority in the Church hierarchy.
As defined outside of Christian writings, greed is an inordinate desire to acquire or possess more than one needs, especially with respect to material wealth.
Sloth (Latin, Socordia) can entail different vices. While sloth is sometimes defined as physical laziness, spiritual laziness is emphasized. Failing to develop spiritually is key to becoming guilty of sloth. In Christian faith, sloth rejects grace and God.
Sloth has also been defined as a failure to do things that one should do. By this definition, evil exists when good men fail to act.
Over time, the “acedia” in Pope Gregory’s order has come to be closer in meaning to sloth. The focus came to be on the consequences of acedia rather than the cause, and so, by the 17th century, the exact deadly sin referred to was believed to be the failure to utilize one’s talents and gifts.
Even in Dante’s time there were signs of this change; in his Purgatorio he had portrayed the penance for acedia as running continuously at top speed.
Wrath (Latin, ira), also known as “rage”, may be described as inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger. Wrath, in its purest form, presents with self-destructiveness, violence, and hate that may provoke feuds that can go on for centuries. Wrath may persist long after the person who did another a grievous wrong is dead. Feelings of anger can manifest in different ways, including impatience, revenge, and vigilantism.
Wrath is the only sin not necessarily associated with selfishness or self-interest, although one can of course be wrathful for selfish reasons, such as jealousy, (closely related to the sin of envy).
Dante described vengeance as “love of justice perverted to revenge and spite”. In its original form, the sin of anger also encompassed anger pointed internally rather than externally. Thus suicide was deemed as the ultimate, albeit tragic, expression of hatred directed inwardly, a final rejection of God’s gifts.
Like greed and lust, Envy (Latin, invidia) is characterized by an insatiable desire. Envy is similar to jealousy in that they both feel discontent towards someones traits, status, abilities, or rewards. The difference is the envious also desire that entity and covet it.
Envy can be directly related to the Ten Commandments, specifically “Neither shall you desire… anything that belongs to your neighbour”. Dante defined this as “a desire to deprive other men of theirs.” In Dante’s Purgatory, the punishment for the envious is to have their eyes sewn shut with wire because they have gained sinful pleasure from seeing others brought low. Aquinas described envy as “sorrow for another’s good”.
In almost every list, pride (Latin, superbia), or hubris (Greek), is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, and the source of the others. It is identified as a desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to acknowledge the good work of others, and excessive love of self (especially holding self out of proper position toward God). Dante’s definition was “love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one’s neighbour.” In Jacob Bidermann’s medieval miracle play, Cenodoxus, pride is the deadliest of all the sins and leads directly to the damnation of the titulary famed Parisian doctor. In perhaps the best-known example, the story of Lucifer, pride (his desire to compete with God) was what caused his fall from Heaven, and his resultant transformation into Satan. In Dante’s Divine Comedy, the penitents were forced to walk with stone slabs bearing down on their backs to induce feelings of humility.
7 HEAVENLY VIRTUES
Abstaining from sexual conduct according to one’s state in life; the practice of courtly love and romantic friendship. Cleanliness through cultivated good health and hygiene, and maintained by refraining from intoxicants. To be honest with oneself, one’s family, one’s friends, and to all of humanity. Embracing of moral wholesomeness and achieving purity of thought-through education and betterment. The ability to refrain from being distracted and influenced by hostility, temptation or corruption.
Restraint, temperance, justice. Constant mindfulness of others and one’s surroundings; practicing self-control, abstention, moderation, zero-sum and deferred gratification. Prudence to judge between actions with regard to appropriate actions at a given time. Proper moderation between self-interest, versus public-interest, and against the rights and needs of others.
Generosity, charity, self-sacrifice; the term should not be confused with the more restricted modern use of the word charity to mean benevolent giving. In Christian theology, charity—or love (agäpé) — is the greatest of the three theological virtues.
Love, in the sense of an unlimited loving kindness towards all others, is held to be the ultimate perfection of the human spirit, because it is said to both glorify and reflect the nature of God. Such love is self-sacrificial. Confusion can arise from the multiple meanings of the English word “love”. The love that is “caritas” is distinguished by its origin – being divinely infused into the soul – and by its residing in the will rather than emotions, regardless of what emotions it stirs up. This love is necessary for salvation, and with it no one can be lost.
A zealous and careful nature in one’s actions and work; decisive work ethic, steadfastness in belief, fortitude, and the capability of not giving up. Budgeting one’s time; monitoring one’s own activities to guard against laziness. Upholding one’s convictions at all times, especially when no one else is watching (integrity).
Forbearance and endurance through moderation. Resolving conflicts and injustice peacefully, as opposed to resorting to violence. Accepting the grace to forgive; to show mercy to sinners. Creating a sense of peaceful stability and community rather than suffering, hostility, and antagonism.
Charity, compassion and friendship for its own sake. Empathy and trust without prejudice or resentment. Unselfish love and voluntary kindness without bias or spite. Having positive outlooks and cheerful demeanor; to inspire kindness in others.
Modest behavior, selflessness, and the giving of respect. Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less. It is a spirit of self-examination; a hermeneutic of suspicion toward yourself and charity toward people you disagree with. The courage of the heart necessary to undertake tasks which are difficult, tedious or unglamorous, and to graciously accept the sacrifices involved. Reverence for those who have wisdom and those who selflessly teach in love. Giving credit where credit is due; not unfairly glorifying one’s own self. Being faithful to promises, no matter how big or small they may be. Refraining from despair and the ability to confront fear and uncertainty, or intimidation.
Sloth is a reluctance to work or to make an effort to do anything worthwhile with one’s life. It is considered to be one of the seven deadly sins because it is a form of excess – it is physical and spiritual laziness and idleness in its extreme form. Sloth is considered to be a deadly sin because it is based on the principle that everybody has the innate potential to lead a fulfilling life. This potential could be the pursuit of gainful employment; it could be the pursuit of higher education with the intention of sharing one’s knowledge with others; it could be the pursuit of a vocation such as art, sculpture, music, carpentry, etc or it could be simply an act of dedicating one’s life to the service of humanity, as a whole, by becoming a teacher, doctor, voluntary social worker, researcher or scientist.
A typical example of an idler is “a man/woman of leisure” who lives off the gains of a massive inheritance that has come their way. They enjoy all the luxuries of life and have few worries or cares in the world – if any. They do not care to look for gainful employment because they already have all the money in the world. Making an effort to do anything fruitful is anathema to them.
Such people are lazy in the extreme – they wake up at noon and sleep very late after partying out all night. They may return home in the early hours of the morning, so it is not surprising that they have little or no energy left to do anything else. Such people are invariably members of exclusive clubs where one is likely to see them at any time of the day – just “relaxing,” gossiping; drinking alcohol in excess; smoking cigarettes by the dozens or gambling away their own inheritance. Such behavior is deemed wrong because someone else worked hard and diligently to earn that money in the first place.
Idlers who know only how to “while away their time” uselessly, are despised by one and all. They are considered to be the scum of the earth. People who are idlers in the extreme have no self-respect or pride. They know that everyone hates them but they do nothing to improve their situation and lead a fruitful life.
People who are willful idlers and whose lives are ridden by sloth shall be punished severely, as per the rules governing the Kingdom of God.
That is the Commandment of the Lord and it shall always be so!