…you are feeling sleepy, very very sleepy…It may not be accurate, but I’m hoping you know where I am going with this?
Hypnosis. One way of getting people to do your bidding, if the hacks are to be believed. Regardless of your view, it is a way to get a person to do/stop doing something i.e. smoking, over-eating, being afraid of snakes. It is a way of controlling a person’s mind, to a certain extent, and this, in the wrong hands, could lead down a dark and dangerous path…..like the last three of our deadly sins, which are grouped together under the banner of mind corruption.
Yes, you read it correctly. If you are guilty of the sins of sloth, pride or envy, then you can be said to have corrupted your mind in some way.
When you hear the word “sloth”, what is the first image that comes to your mind? Is it that of the long limbed, scarily clawed furball that cartoonists like to portray in hilarious manners – think Ice Age and Zootropolis? Or is that that of a bone idle person, lying on the sofa all day, eating junk food and watching TV, while the rest of us slave away and pay our taxes?
Whichever image you have in your head, I bet it is not one of a drug dealer and child molester, is it? Yet, this is how the sin of sloth is portrayed in the film Se7en:
Why? Because the evil of sloth can be expressed through a lack of feeling for the world, for the people in it or for yourself. What better way to illustrate the lack of care towards your fellow man than in this way?
Sloth is defined as “without care” and is the general absence of interest or, a habitual disinclination to exertion. Spiritually, it can be seen through an indifference to duties or obligations. Mentally, it is seen through states of mind giving rise to boredom, apathy and passive, sluggish or downright inert mental activity. Then there is the all too familiar physical view of sloth, which is basically a cessation of motion and a general indifference to work i.e. laziness, idleness and indolence.
Chaucer said that sloth was “the enemy of every source and motive for work”.
While Dante said, sloth was the middle sin and was an absence or insufficiency of love. Penance for those guilty of sloth, is to run continuously at top speed.
Sloth can be seen as the failure to do things that one should. In today’s world, examples are people who don’t care, people who won’t work, people who sit back and allow themselves or others to be abused and people who harm others. In its rawest form, sloth can be seen in the form of suicide.
Just remember – evil exists when good people fail to act. Are you, therefore, guilty of sloth?
The age old tale of envy, is shown perfectly in the story of Cain and Abel. Cain, envious of the way God favoured Abel’s sacrifice over his own, murdered his brother in cold blood.
Whilst the story of Cain and Abel is an extreme example of envy, it is a story we hear all too often in today’s society. Think of all the murders that are committed, due to affairs of the heart. These are sins of envy.
Like greed and lust, envy is characterised by an insatiable desire. In the case of envy, this translates itself into a sad and often resentful coveting of the traits or possessions of another person.
Whilst similar to jealousy, envy has a dark edge to it. For those committing the sin of envy, it isn’t just about a little bit of the green eyed monster, when they see the perfect life, the perfect partner, the perfect shoes. No, it is more than that. A person guilty of envy desires to possess said house, partner and shoes. Think Single White Female and you will be on the right track.
Dante defined envy as “a desire to deprive other men of theirs”. His punishment, in purgatory, for those envious souls, is to have their eyes sewn shut with wire, because they gained sinful pleasure from seeing others brought low. Ouch!
In Se7en, John Doe (Kevin Spacey) told Mills (Brad Pitt) how jealous he was of his life with his wife, Tracey (Gwyneth Paltrow), and so he killed her:
In today’s world, the most common example of the sin of envy is the “keeping up with the Jones’” mentality that is all too apparent in suburbia. So, think next time you desire something that someone else has, are you envious or do you just like it?
Only pride weighs the soul down more than envy, amongst the capital sins.
Pride, the last of our deadly sins, but by no means the least, is the source of all the other capital sins.
Pride is a dangerously corrupt selfishness which puts your own desires, urges, wants and whims before the welfare of people.
Pride is where you irrationally believe that you are essentially and necessarily better, superior or more important than other people. Pride is seen in the failing to acknowledge the accomplishments of others. Pride is the excessive admiration of your own image.
I challenge you, dear reader, not to be guilty of pride, because we all have at some point in our lives.
“What weak head with strongest bias rules, is pride,
the never failing vice of fools.”
Dante defined pride as “love of self, perverted to hatred and contempt for one’s neighbour”. His punishment for those prideful sinners in purgatory? To burden them with stone slabs on their necks, keeping their heads bowed.
Pride isn’t just a solitary sin, though. Group pride also exists and this is seen through discrimination and prejudice, another theme all too common in today’s world.
“Pride goeth before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.”
This famous saying, now shortened to “pride goeth before a fall”, is all too true, because proud people would rather see themselves fail, than admit they were wrong.
Se7en illustrates the sin of pride very well, when a model is given the choice of calling for help, after she has been mutilated, and saving her life, or committing suicide by taking pills. Can you remember what she chose? This picture should help.
Today, pride can be seen everywhere, but never more so than in thinking you are better than someone else because of your job, clothes, family, friends etc.
Are you, like so many, guilty of the sin of pride?
So, dear reader, our exploration of the seven deadly sins comes to an end. How did you do? Are you more devil than angel? Dare you share how devilish you really are? None of us are the angels we may believe ourselves to be, but how dark our souls really are is, well……..up for debate.
May fear protect you when the darkness comes.
Til next time.