Article Overview:  Human beings like to change history, especially when it comes to sinning.   A new thrust is underfoot to revise the famous Seven Deadly Sins to reduce guilt and shame, and open the door for the Beast of Terror to have easier access to our behavior.  Find out which one, if any,  you think should be changed.


Monday--August 11, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 698
Revising The Seven Deadly Sins
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

  GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Aug. 11, 2003--  Moral guidelines are hard to find these days. One of the reasons is we humans like to rewrite history, mollify our duties, and abandon the rigors of character that attempt to force us onto narrow versus wide, vermiculating paths that separate "right" from "wrong."

Moral guidelines, as suggested by Mark Twain, are hard to find, and harder to follow once found.

    I know.  I'm no saint.  Like most people, I prefer to take the path that requires the least effort, the one that glitters with all the fundamental human temptations.
    But I also know that unless I have some guideposts, signals and roadmaps, I get lost in the darkness of Pride, Anger, Greed, Lust, Envy, Gluttony and Sloth and eventually bump into the belly of the Beast of Terror who waits for us all at the end of the wrong road.

A group of French chefs was organized by Lionel Poilane to petition the pope to replace 'gourmandise' with 'gloutonnerie'.

     Maybe our desire to soften our path, to pad our moral progress on life's often rocky road, is the reason the Seven Deadly Sins (SDS), listed above and capitalized, are under attack.
     The Christian Science Monitor newspaper reported today the current trend to revise "moral history."  The story sparked my attention because a group of French chefs are petitioning the Pope John Paul II  to remove or alter "Gluttony" from the SDS list so people can gorge themselves without guilt or shame.
     Then there are the ice cream makers.  It seems they have commercialized the SDS into various flavors.  Consumers can lick a cone filled with Envy, or smack their lips over the deliciously tasting Lust ice cream flavor, or shut all the blinds, dim the lights and consume a couple pints of Sloth or Pride--in any flavor they want.
      Intellectuals are also putting the SDS to the test.   Authors, both religious and secular, have been conducting talks at the New York City Library, offering their takes on how and why the SDS should be altered to conform to "modern times."

Monastic Theologian Evagrius of Pontus originally proposed eight deadly sins

     The Monitor's story by Kim Campbell cites the history of the SDS as reaching back to the end of the 6th Century when Pope Gregory I refined the list some 1,400 years ago.  The original list proposed by 4th-century monk Evagrius of Pontus listed eight deadly sins:  gluttony, lust, avarice (greed), sadness, anger, acedia (spiritual sloth), vainglory, and pride.   Ms. Campbell notes that Gregory I added envy and merged vainglory with pride and acedia with sadness, which, she says, eventually became sloth.

In Greek mythology, the seven deadly sins are trapped in a box by Zeus until freed by Pandora

       Oddly, she did not mention the original source of the SDS.   They came to light in the Greek fable about Pandora's Box, sent to earth by Zeus to punish humans for defying his commands.   When opened, out flew the SDS to haunt human beings, who previously had lived in what religious scholars would call Paradise.  
      The advent of Pride, Anger, Greed, Lust, Envy, Gluttony and Sloth changed the nature of humans from peaceful coexistence to selfish self-righteousness, and launched the Beast of Terror's trek through the human spirit.
      The bright side of the coin in the Greek myth was that in the bottom of the box, hidden beneath the "evil demons" of the Seven Deadly Sins was salvation.   It was the single word "Hope," designed to be the antitoxin to the noxious emotions geared to cripple humans from evolving into creatures of peace and prosperity.
      Spiritual advocates argue the need for moral guidelines to provide checks within our nature to "not lick the ice cream cone of the Seven Deadly Sins" no matter how attractive the taste.   Phyllis Ticle, an author and expert on religion, argues that "without sins there would be no faith."  She claims that sin drives us back to the path of righteousness, and goes further to suggest that without it, there is no human progress.   There is no tension forcing us to overcome our defects.

The Seven Deadly Sins are "Footprints of the Beast"

     From a Vigilance point of view, I view the SDS as simply "Footprints of the Beast."   They are mere reminders to me that the "Beast" exists within us all, and that our defects are nothing more than the stress and strain we were born with that makes us not only question what is "right," but drives us to achieve it.
     Mathematically, the SDS are the minus (-) or the gravity that holds us down.  In a more terse form, the SDS are the sum of Terrorism, for they blind us to the future.   They make "right now" more important.  They make "what's right for me" overpower what's right for the Children's Children's Children.
      Countering the SDS takes as much effort and specificity as allowing the Sins to roam within unchecked.   Again, mathematically, the goal is to counter the minus (-) with a plus (+).
      Vigilance provides the counterbalance.  
      Over the years, I've become more and more convinced for every thought that drives us down into the muck and mire of our "Beast's" nature, we need to defend with our Swords and Shields of Vigilant Thoughts.
      I converted the SDS into the word P-A-G-L-E-G-S, standing for Pride, Anger, Greed, Lust, Envy, Gluttony and Sloth.
      But, I couldn't stop there.   On a purely mechanical format, it seemed the only way to defend one's self from the assault of the SDS was to deal with each one as an entity.  Since each can be a "time bomb" to defuse them requires an antidote for each.
      I chose to exercise my Powerless for Pride.   Powerless simply means to me I am humble, not better than or less than any other.   Pride wants me to think I am either a Loser or a Winner, either below or above others.

I converted The Seven Deadly Sins (SDS) into P-A-G-L-E-G-S
A defense mechanism of Vigilance

     For Anger, I chose to convert its power over me with Acceptance.   If I could find some way to accept the situation I was in, even if that acceptance included only One Percent, I could crack the wall of anger that boiled my blood and turned my innards into the entrails of a Beast, desiring to lash out at the world for victimizing me.
     Greed, for me, was nothing more than wanting more than my fair share.   I remember what Andrew Mellon once said when asked, "How much is enough money."  His reply:  "Just a little more than I have."
     Greed, unlike gluttony, is about selfishness.  There is no endpoint to it.  Gluttony has limits because you can only consume so much before you burst, but Greed is avaricious, it has not sated appetite.
    To balance Greed, I chose the word Giving.  When the feeling of Greed strikes me, I try to ferret out of my Vigilance weaponry the ability to Give, to find ways to be of service to others for free and for fun, so that I am reminded my job on earth is not to take but to plant as many gifts as I can.   Such a gift could be as simple as a smile to someone when I feel like frowning, or opening a door for someone, or picking up a phone and calling someone and saying "Hello" with no other agenda.
     For Lust, I try to invoke the principle of Love.   Love is about caring for someone or something rather than wanting to sate one's Greed through its possession, or desire for possession.  
     Envy is the hardest of all for me, for I often see others as having what I deserve.  I realize that is nothing more than my victimization, my Anger at the fact I am not happy with my own lot.   To convert those thoughts, I ask for Enthusiasm.  I seek to try and be grateful that "they" have the Rolls Royce, or own the island, or are financially free, or seem to have no demons riding on their shoulders.

Humans were haunted by defects before Greek myths or religion's promotion of "sin."

    Gluttony, as we have eluded to above, is about quick sating of hungers.  It's about stuffing our faces either with food, or our minds full of false expectations.  The compulsive gambler is a glutton for losing.   A sad, depressed person is a glutton for victimization.   A person who has given up all hope is a glutton for self-flagellation.   
     To balance the hunger to consume that which I don't have, I need to balance Gluttony with Gratitude.  I need to look in the mirror, and as hard as it often is, to be Grateful for what I have.  I force myself to make a Gratitude List and delineate the great gifts I have, and stop thinking about what I think will make me whole, happy, a rich human being within.
    Sloth, the final on my list, is the worst of all.  It is, Complacency.  It means I have given up Hope.  It means I have stopped trying, or, that my attempts to evolve are so sluggish and imperceptible they cannot overcome the gravity of life itself.
    I counter the negative Sloth with the positive of Service.   I force myself to think of the Children's Children's Children, and ask, "What can I do today to help the world of the children be a little better, safer?"
    Service to me involves the duty I owe the future.   Someone paved the way for me, and I can sit on my butt and ignore that responsibility to pave or repave the road I have used for the future, or, I can think of some way to be of service to the future.  I can ask myself:  "What have I done for the kids today?"
     Pride vs. Powerlessness.   Anger vs. Acceptance.   Greed vs. Giving.  Lust vs. Love.  Envy vs. Enthusiasm.   Gluttony vs. Gratitude.   Sloth vs. Service.
     Each is a minus (-) vs. a plus (+).
     Each is its own battle.
     Each is a footstep of the Beast, or a Victory of Vigilance.
     Each can be a reflection of inner Terror without resolution, or proof that human evolution is capable of evolving above the grip of the Beast's desire to drive us into Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
      In the Greek myth, long before organized religion institutionalized the Seven Deadly Sins and laid claim to them, humans were haunted by these defects much as they might had they walked up to a hornet's nest and whacked it with a club.
      One doesn't have to be religious to accept the history of the SDS.  One only needs to remember that they exist, and their goal is to cripple human development.
      Zeus wanted human beings to run around swatting at the SDS and waste the life that was given to them in a vortex of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
      But Hope had other plans.
      Hope today is Vigilance.  It means we need to all carry our flyswatters with us, and when the mosquitoes of Terrorism buzz around our heads, do we become Complacent and let them sting our souls and cause welts on our human well-being?

Hope is Vigilance

      Do we give up after a while and accept our lots, surrendering to our Pride, Anger, Greed, Lust, Envy, Gluttony and Sloth?   Or, do we draw our Sword and Shield of Vigilance and attack the Beast's vermin with Powerlessness, Acceptance, Gratitude, Love, Enthusiasm, Giving and Service?
       In the 21st Century, the goal of many is to alter the SDS.  Give them new names and new faces.   But that is impossible.   They exist despite the clothes we try to dress them up in.   We can't bury them, but we can counter them.
       Even if the Pope bans the SDS from dogma, and the intellectuals come up with euphemisms for them, they will stand the test of time, just as they have over countless centuries of legacy.
       But, you can alter their effect not only on yourself but also on your children.
       Teach your children the Principles of P-A-G-L-E-G-S.
       If you like, make up your own counter-words, create your own positive opposites to the negative gravity of the Beast's footsteps.
       But keep P-A-G-L-E-G-S simple.
       Remind your children and loved ones that for every thought that creates Fear, Intimidation or Complacency, there is a counter-thought that creates Courage, Conviction and Right Action for the Children's Children's Children.
       Remind them that the ability to overcome any defect is only One Percent more energy than that of the defect.   One percent more Courage than Fear banishes Fear.   One Percent more Conviction than Intimidation sends Intimidation running for cover.  And One Percent more Right Actions for future generations sinks Complacency's ship.
       The same is true of Pride.   One Percent more Powerlessness, or humility, sucks the energy out of pride.    One Percent more Acceptance over Anger emasculates the rage, drives the resentment underground.   One percent more Love than Lust puts the need to sate one's hunger at bay.   One Percent more effort to provide Service to the future puts Sloth hanging back on the Beast of Terror's tree by his tail.
        To insure you battle the SDS, take the Pledge of Vigilance.
        Use the Pledge as your reminder that you can not only manage your life better with the Principles of  P-A-G-L-E-G-S, but that you can pass on these principles to your children and loved ones.
        Don't wait.
        The Beast is sitting just behind you, looking over your shoulder, hoping you'll forget what you've just read.

The Beast is sitting just behind you.  Scare him away.  Take the Pledge of Vigilance today!

(link to various Seven Deadly Sins tests:

Aug 10--Women Of Vigilance Rule Over The Beast Of Terror

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