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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Greed, the sin from which come all others.

            The seven deadly sins: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the greed that is the dark side of capitalism, and that’s rampant in America today. There’s even a TV show, American Greed. If you look logically at the seven sins, all of them but wrath are aspects of greed.
            Lust is simply greed for more sex. Originally lust simply meant desire, the wanting of things you don’t have, but in modern times it has a specific meaning. So many people these days confuse lust and love. More hop into bed with anyone handy, causing untold heartache, disease, and unwanted children. The last is especially ridiculous because birth control has never been easier.
            Gluttony is greed for food. We Americans aren’t as bad as the old Romans, who had regurgatoriums where they ate until full and threw it up to keep eating, but sometimes I think we’re awfully darn close. Portion sizes have increased exponentially to the point where I’m amazed anyone can finish a meal, but people do. I fill up fast. When I’m in a restaurant, I don’t get an appetizer or a dessert, and the entree makes me two meals. I have seen people polish off appetizer, the whole entree, and dessert. Not all of them are fat, either. I’ve seen people eat until their stomachs hurt. I suspect if it were fashionable to barf and keep eating, many of them would. (Bulimia, or binge and purge, is a mental illness and not actual gluttony.)
            Sloth, also called laziness, is simply greed for more rest. Rest is a good thing, like having enough to eat, but when you get more than you need, then it turns into greed. I am guilty of this one a lot. There’s nothing I like better than a good lie-in, half dozing but mostly awake. Preferably in a nice soft bed with lots of fluffy pillows and a cool breeze coming in the window. Heaven itself.
            Envy is greed for what someone else has. This one’s even in the Ten Commandments as Thou Shalt Not Covet... anything that is thy neighbor’s. This leads to everything from theft to plastic surgery.
            Pride is the greed to be Best, First, Most Important. It is the greed for power. It’s the desire to always be right, to win every argument, and frequently results in putting down anyone you can class as the Other, the Not Like Us. As with the others except for greed and envy, a little is a good thing but too much crosses a line leading to feeling entitled to having more, more, more.
            And that’s the essence of Greed: never being satisfied, always wanting more, no matter how much you already have. No matter if more is good for you. No matter who you have to hurt to get it. No matter the consequences, either for yourself or others. Greed leads to perfect selfishness: I’ll get mine and the hell with the rest of the world. This is the deadliest sin.

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