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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Extant Legacies of Dysfunctional Human Behavior

It is what it is....just deal with it. 


We are at a time in human history in which we show great impatience with anything that seems to nail us down to the past. We like to see ourselves as liberated from the past and summarily ditch what we see as unenlightened superstitions or twisted schemes that would rob us of personal liberty. To many, religion is simply a blind to fetter and enslave us on a cross of high-jinks and sham. I do not share this point of view.  The Ten Commandments instruct us not to covet:  “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”  (Exodus 20:17  NIV).  Likewise the Seven Deadly Sins are set forth as a caution for the ages:  According to the standard list, they are pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth ..(

We find that envy (jealousy) has always been a threat to stability in human relationships.  We have not, and probably never will, be able to chalk off envy as a purely historical deadly threat to human happiness and to that persistence born of stability.

It is my contention that the underlying drive causing havoc for American unity is the inability to humbly assent to the valid and legitimate (and often exclusive) role of others --especially when conceptualized as societal institutions.  It has long been a viewpoint of mine that those who insist that the 2nd Amendment treatment of arms (guns) is open-ended and unlimited is driven by envy.  Private citizens and groups envy governmental power and hence seek to usurp and posses the legitimate governmental role and power known as the Sword of the State. (I hasten to add that the Sword of the State addresses not only lurid street crime or joining an international military alliance but also to me personally if I should decide a legitimate civil contract I have entered is something I find too inconvenient to perform—an officer of the law can sooner or later be knocking on my door with a lethal weapon in tow).  I don't see all guns as an exclusive province of the state, but military style weapons capable of killing hundreds of people in seconds arising from personal impulse and anger certainly are. (And we can address later the extent to which "road-rage-type episodes" and "coolly exercised envy" are in fact instances of mental illness worthy of classification and treatment). In short, those who assume that human equality should project an institutional role identity husband an insidiously destructive ideology fueled by the human nemesis--envy.

I must add in closing that role uniqueness applies as well to other institutions including the family, the creative enterprise sector, and religion.  The generation that ignores personal and institutional limits and the duty to respect the legitimate and special role of others in our community will be blind to human virtues--the essential ingredients needed for trust and goodwill in any democracy..

A feeling of resentment and displeasure toward others by reason of their belongings, prosperity, advantages, position, or reputation. Envious persons want what others have and may feel that those possessing what is coveted are not entitled to it.  [Thanks to my JW friends for this entry.] 
(From Jehovah Witness publication: )

The Seven Contrary Virtues which are specific opposites to the Seven Deadly Sins: Humility against pride, Kindness against envy, Abstinence against gluttony, Chastity against lust, Patience against anger, Liberality against greed, and Diligence against sloth. 

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