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Where does deceit fit into the seven deadly sins? - Stephan [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Stephan

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Where does deceit fit into the seven deadly sins? [Oct. 17th, 2008|05:46 pm]
Stephan
Although my personality is nothing at all like Ozymandias Llewellyn I do frequently ponder the mysteries of life.

A question just occurred in my mind. Under which of the seven deadly sins does deceit sit?

Deceit is an evil I've had to contend with all my life, and IMHO far more than my share. I've had two dishonest girlfriends, one who lied to me for personal gain, the other out of insecurity. Going back further I had a school teacher who greatly stretched the truth on the reports she sent back to my parents. Most heinous of all was the man I now refer to as "Mr Slander" who insidiously spread wild stories about me to virtually everyone he met.

Nor is deceit merely the act of *telling* falsehoods. Concealing or destroying the truth is also a form of deceit.

In my above passage I've mentioned deceit spawned from avarice (1st girlfriend). I'm not sure though that the other untruths are covered though. Arguably my 2nd girlfriend lied through vanity and laziness; she was afraid to undermine my impression of herself (vanity) and lazy (sloth) in avoiding her issues in the relationship. The schoolteacher's deceit too could have been prompted by laziness; she lied to make my parents believe I wasn't working hard enough on my schoolwork, believing that they would take action on the matter.

Mr Slander's sin is not so easy to label. No avarice, laziness, envy, avarice, laziness, envy, gluttony, lust or vanity and it wasn't actually hate either; his sick games of slander were a source of amusement to him.

So where does deceit fit in? Is it distributed among the other sins, or an actual 8th deadly sin?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: sleepyjohn00
2008-10-17 01:52 pm (UTC)
The canonical Seven Deadlies are the cause of sin (or wrong action, if you're Buddhist). Lying is one of the manifestations, i.e., it's something one does because one is trying to satisfy greed, anger, sloth, etc. and is doing something consciously wrong in order to do it. It's a tool, not a root cause.


* This above all — to thine own self be true;
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

o Polonius, Hamlet, act I, scene iii
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2008-10-17 10:08 pm (UTC)
Ker-ching! Good answer; that fits all the criteria except one.

What about wrongdoing to assist another person?

If someone kills out of loyalty to a friend it's a sin nonetheless, yet the killer may not be experiencing avarice, laziness, envy, avarice, laziness, envy, gluttony, lust, vanity or even hatred. They might perform this terrible deed simply because they believe it benefits their friend.

So if someone commits acts of deceit to benefit a friend, or conceal their friend's wrongdoing does this spring from any of the seven deadly sins?
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2008-10-19 11:50 am (UTC)
The ambiguous one doesn't reply. XD
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[User Picture]From: sleepyjohn00
2008-10-19 01:13 pm (UTC)
Sometimes I have work to do elsewhere in the shadows.

Is it, in fact, wrongdoing to assist another person?

A woman is walking down the street. Someone grabs her purse and runs off. Her companion pulls out a gun and shoots the thief.

A person hears screams from an alley. He sees a woman being raped. He pulls out a gun and shoots the rapist.

Are both of these shootings wrongdoings? Can the shooting be justified in one case but not the other?

Taking action to help a friend is not in itself wrong. It is what form that action takes that makes it a sin or not. "You lie and I'll swear to it", knowingly taking a false oath, I would call that sinful. Protecting someone in peril of her life, I would not call that sinful.

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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2008-10-19 08:20 pm (UTC)
I can answer that very easily.

I am not the least bit a fan of the American gun culture. Even a few Amercians have spoken against it, including a police officer who I watched in a documentary say "A gun is rarely fired once. People under stress empty the whole magazine." A firearm is supposed to be used first as a deterrant, and a warning is supposed to be given before opening fire.

Getting back to the topic before this conversation veers away entirely, it's not wrongdoing to assist another person, but you have choices in how you can do so. There are right and wrong ways, always.
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[User Picture]From: sleepyjohn00
2008-10-20 02:03 am (UTC)

I don't keep guns. I have a sword.

I figured that if I presented you with an extreme case, we would continue to have something to talk about B-}

If you've read Donaldson's "Thomas Covenant" series, you will be familiar with the Oath of Peace: the response to an evil deed must be the least action that is sufficient to stop the other person's action.
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2008-10-21 09:46 am (UTC)

You'd get along well with Joseph Raccoon - he likes swords too

>I figured that if I presented you with an extreme case, we would continue to have something to talk about B-}

That only sometimes works with me.

>If you've read Donaldson's "Thomas Covenant" series, you will be familiar with the Oath of Peace: the response to an evil deed must be the least action that is sufficient to stop the other person's action.

I'd agree with that, as shooting a person is unnecessary in most cases.
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[User Picture]From: deckardcanine
2008-10-17 02:29 pm (UTC)
Like John said, the deadly sins are motivations rather than actions. I would say that Mr. Slander's motivation was vanity, possibly mixed with envy. By bringing others down, he felt higher than them.

I agree with C.S. Lewis, among others, that vanity is the worst sin from a philosophical standpoint, and possibly the most detrimental to others as well as oneself. It definitely annoys me most at its worst.
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2008-10-17 10:24 pm (UTC)
deckardcanine said:"I agree with C.S. Lewis, among others, that vanity is the worst sin from a philosophical standpoint, and possibly the most detrimental to others as well as oneself. It definitely annoys me most at its worst.",
"Vanity, definitely my favourite sin" - and it sounded awesome when Al Pacino said so while playing the devil in "The Devil's Advocate"

deckardcanine said:"Like John said, the deadly sins are motivations rather than actions. I would say that Mr. Slander's motivation was vanity, possibly mixed with envy. By bringing others down, he felt higher than them.",

That's thought provoking, and I'll have to give that a lot of contemplation. I'm shortly to head out to Fox Valley and it's a long, enjoyable walk which always gives me plenty of time to think.

I think I can rule out envy; Mr Slander always outdid me in virtually everything professional, especially computer skills in which he prized himself higher than anything else. He considered other skills irrelevant, including basic homekeeping and even hygene.

Certainly he was one of the most vain human beings I've ever known. Whether or not this motivated his sick games is very difficult to say. He believed himself clever for doing so, and there's a possibility there. His successes boosted his ego, so that's another supporting argument. However the flipside is that on the occasions that his games failed (IE someone refused to believe him or he was found out) his ego was not the least bruised; he'd simply move on and conjure up another batch of lies. There was a rare instance where he was caught bare faced telling an especially big lie and he just shrugged it off.

To me vanity does appear a highly potent sin, and to some people irresistable. I've seen widespread damage when people try to show off, most especially when it comes at the cost of other people.
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[User Picture]From: deckardcanine
2008-10-18 05:15 pm (UTC)
The biggest egos are the hardest to bruise. They just tell themselves, "Eh, what do I care what an inferior thinks of me?"
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2008-10-18 08:24 pm (UTC)
Yes that describes him well.

I thought about the matter a great deal during my walks to and from Fox Valley yesterday. I haven't completely been able to make up my mind though.

Vanity would have played a large part in Mr Slander's activities. Certainly in my case because he believed himself far superior to me. However I wasn't his only victim, just the one he targeted most frequently (as far as I can tell). His lies also affected other people, two of whom were supposed to be good friends of his (sadly they lived in complete ignorance of what he had done).

Vanity was a partial motive certainly, and I also considered that avarice might have been involved as well. Not the avarice for gain of physical wealth, but of control. He once stated how he believed he had the ability to "control people's lives" and I think he developed an appetite for doing this. As the Oracle said in The Matrix Reloaded - "What do all men with power want? More power."

I'll continue thinking about all this, but at this stage I'm agreeing with yourself and Sleepyjohn - that deceit is a tool/device of the 7DS.

I'm very dissapointed that nobody else contributed to the discussion. I would very much have liked to here more views.
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