In this 3rd article in the series on the 7 Deadly Sins and 7 Heavenly Virtues, we discuss the 3rd, 4th and 5th Deadly Sins: Greed, Sloth and Wrath.
Greed, Sloth and Wrath - Deadly Sin #3: Greed
In the previous article we ended by looking at gluttony, which we defined as strictly with regard to eating.
In this article we distinguish Greed from Gluttony by stating that greed applies to all aspects of life - not enough food, not enough of any resource, and thus to overcompensate by gathering as much of the resource as possible. It is essentially 'The Scarcity Mentality.'
Applying our 4 question test let's see how this plays out.
Q: is the thought or feeling of greed detrimental to the individual?
A: As we have foreshadowed, this will be the same as for gluttony but in the wider context. The common factor is the perception of a 'lack' of resources. In the mind of the individual, they can never get enough of 'x', and are thus never satisfied, and never at peace with themselves.
Q: Is the thought or feeling of greed detrimental to other individuals?
A: Again, thoughts themselves do not have a direct effect on other individuals.
Q: Is the action of greed detrimental to the individual?
A: Likewise, where it applies to the health - physical, mental, financial etc. of the individual - then it can be detrimental. For example, someone spending too much on frivolous things may lead to them going broke.
A: Is the action of greed detrimental to other individuals?
Similarly, where it applies to the health - physical, mental, financial etc. - of a group, it could be detrimental, but not always. Greed often leads to criminal behaviours such as theft or even murder, which obviously do affect others.
Deadly Sin #4: Sloth
The word 'sloth' is a translation of the Latin term 'acedia', which means 'without care'. It can often mean laziness, carelessness, indolence, indifference, etc.
Sloth is somewhat different to the other 'Sins' in that it is a 'Sin of Omission' and it could be allied with other such things as negligence.
At a psychological level, it represents a lack of commitment and lack of motivation to creating a desired outcome.
So let's apply our 4 questions again to give a secular answer.
Q: Is the thought or feeling of sloth detrimental to the individual?
A: On it's own, no. However if it becomes habitual, then yes.
Q: Is the thought or feeling of sloth detrimental to other individuals?
A: No, as we have discussed above, thoughts on their own have no consequences to others.
Q: Is the action of sloth (or in this case, the lack of action) detrimental to the individual?
Yes and No. For example, I may not feel like cleaning the house today and may skip it. Big deal - the house is dirty for a day. However if I leave it for a month, there are bigger consequences that I will leave you to guess at!
Another example: if a child is too lazy to finish their homework, they will be penalised by the teacher. If they are careless doing the assignment they will be marked down and possibly fail the exercise.
Q: Is the action (or lack thereof) of sloth detrimental to other individuals?
It can be, if doing the projected action will have an effect on others. Again, this needs to be examined on a case by case basis. For instance, if a doctor is too lazy to prescribe the correct medication to his patient, there will likely be negative consequences and the doctor could be sued for negligence.
Greed, Sloth and Wrath - Deadly Sin #5: Wrath
Wrath is an ancient word for what we now call anger, but it can also apply to hate and associated feelings such as revenge and spite. The key here is that the feeling is 'uncontrolled' and directed at others who are not necessarily guilty of anything.
To clarify this, consider our 'Famous 4' questions.
Q: Is the thought or feeling of wrath detrimental to the individual?
A: Yes and no. If we use the synonym of anger for now, anger is only detrimental if it is persistent in the mind for an excessive period of time. However if the anger is short lived it has no real consequences.
Q: Is the thought or feeling of wrath detrimental to other individuals?
A: On its own, no. Again, (unless you believe in telepathy!), thoughts alone have no effect on other individuals.
Q: Is the action of wrath detrimental to the individual?
It can be. Depending on the action, there can be either physical or mental harm, or both, to the individual. For instance, the individual may self-mutilate in response to the feeling.
Q: Is the action of wrath detrimental to other individuals?
A: Yes, it is most often detrimental to others in both a physical and psychological way. It can lead to such things as murder or mutilation of others, destruction of another's property or theft of another's possessions. It can also lead to other forms of psychological torture such as guilt tripping and persecution.
Next Article: Envy and Pride - 7 Deadly Sins Part 4
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