Most of us have heard of “the 7 deadly sins”, whether it was from the Bible or just our parents trying to shape us into better people. Today’s modern society not only has lost sight of these ideals, but I suggest that the very fabric of our lives is centered around exactly these.
- Pride is excessive belief in one’s own abilities. Pride is also known as Vanity.
- Envy is the desire for others’ traits, status, abilities, or situation.
- Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires.
- Lust is an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body.
- Anger (or wrath) is manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury.
- Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of the spiritual. It is also called Avarice or Covetousness.
- Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work.
Pride seems like a good thing at first glance. Everyone should be proud of their accomplishments, right? But when pride starts to cloud one’s own judgement of what is right & wrong, that’s when it things change for the worse. This is quite evident in a successful salesmen. They make a sale with an inflated price, which in turn boosts their commission, and then they do it again and again. Capitalism actually encourages this type of thinking, even though it’s morally wrong to screw over another human being.
Envy can be described in our modern world as “keeping up with the Jones’s”. If your neighbor gets a new car, then you need to get a new car. If your sibling moves into a big house, then you need an even bigger house. It’s a never ending battle to spend money you don’t have to buy stuff you don’t need to impress people you probably don’t even like. Capitalism encourages this by providing cheap credit to finance big purchases without even a moment to consider the practicality of those purchases. It only takes a minute to get into decades of debt and for what? Being “on top” if only for a fleeting moment.
Gluttony is often viewed as “over eating”, but the term does not only apply to fat people. Gluttony is every business’ best friend and at the same time, the consumer’s worst invisible enemy. Capitalism lives and depends on the catch-phrase “More More More!!” We need to go to the store and buy more stuff, before other people buy OUR stuff. But how many pairs of new shoes does one really need? It doesn’t matter, as long as you don’t end up on a TV show like “Hoarders”. If one were to simply step back and see the truthful irony of the saying “The things we own end up owning us”, the sooner the healing can begin.
Lust is that carnal feeling that most people try to fight off, thinking that sex is bad or somehow “dirty”. Sure, it can be (if performed the wrong way) but enjoying a good sex life is actually quite healthy, both physically and emotionally. Guys are visual creatures while women are more emotional creatures, yet capitalism corrupts our feelings and plays on our emotions. It’s quite obvious that the porn industry is mostly designed for men and the beauty industry is designed mostly for women. Both are centered around lusting for someone or something we can’t have. And both industries make billions off of their followers. Just think about how many industries would go out of business if we’d all accept our bodies as they are.
Anger is an easily controlled emotion, the only question is whether YOU are doing the controlling or someone else is. Capitalism wants us to remain angry because angry people make rash decisions, both in the short term and in the long term. If an entire country is angry at another country, they go to war; and this is very profitable for the businesses who provide support for the war, both directly and indirectly. The late comedian Bill Hicks said “You see my point, how are we going to keep building nuclear weapons ….. what’s going to happen to the arms industry if we all realize we’re all one. It’s going to fuck up the economy, the economy that’s FAKE anyway….Which would be a real bummer. You can see why the government’s cracking down, on the idea of experiencing unconditional love.”
Greed is the most obvious one when it comes to a discussion of capitalism. Many have said that “the love of money is the root of all evil”, but in truth, it’s only one ingredient in the overall recipe. It’s also one of the easiest traps to fall into. You work hard to get ahead, to provide for your family, to do the things in life that you enjoy. And your hard work usually pays off, or so you think. You get the promotion at work and now your workload is increased. Your family prospers and now you are busy with your kids, running around in a minivan, trying to keep the little ones entertained. You look forward to the weekend, just so you can slow down and enjoy 2 days without all of those hassles. And capitalism is right next to you the entire way, encouraging you to work harder, buy more stuff, and repeat the cycle over and over.
Sloth is the most misunderstood item on the list. Most people think its all about being lazy, sitting around, and doing nothing. And to some extent, that’s true. Capitalism wants us to stay stuck in our collective ruts, to keep doing what we’ve always been doing, to keep the dollars flowing into the pockets of those who crave them. And for the most part, that’s the way it works. Sloth can also include the lack of yearning to make changes. Sure, no one LIKES change, because it’s seemingly unknown. Most of us are kept quietly content in our little worlds, with just enough money to make it through until the next pay check arrives. Most of us keep turning the perpetual hamster wheel, punching the time cards, keeping the machine slowly grinding forward. And this is where each of us can take back our power, to stop the machine from going forward, to help improve life for everyone, rather than trying to put each other down. Nike uses the slogan “Just do it”, and humanity could make a giant leap forward if we’d all live by this simple advice.