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Friday, May 18, 2012

Hedonism and Addiction - Lust, Gluttony and Sloth - Part 1

So, let's go back to the chart to see where all of this is going with Fear and Pride:
Pride affords us entitlement.  It says that we are not only alone in our problems, but that we are special enough to ignore the boundaries and needs of others to get what we need.  Pride and consideration are polar opposites, since consideration of others is selfless, versus the selfish orientation of Pride.

For the addict, the sense of entitlement is critical in keeping the disease going: as he becomes more dysfunctional he will have more and more needs.  His Pride, in response to his overwhelming fears of both the unknown and the just retribution his acts beg for, will escalate to the point where people become mere cardboard cutouts: he will lose the ability to empathize with them at all.

So, as our Pride escalates, it is only natural that we manipulate and use others.  This is Lust.  Lust is desiring the body, or the resources, or the attention, or anything else from another person without any respect for them or consideration of their personhood.

So, a lustful person may desire to have sex with another person, but not to care for him or her.  When we watch porn, it is not because we care for the people in the pictures or movies the way we would watching videos from a family vacation or seeing friends on Facebook.  We only focus on particular parts of the person we like and ignore the rest.

Lustful relationships are much the same: two people come together, but each is seeking only a selection of things from the other.  One might be looking for sex, while the other is looking for money.  This is the 'Trophy Wife' stereotype.

In order to attain these things, our Pride tells us we are entitled to lie and manipulate.  So, lying is really a byproduct or tool of Lust (I know that this may sound odd, but it does seem to fit this way).  when we are lying, we are trying to get things out of people with consideration for them as a whole.

But, at the same time, Pride leaves us feeling isolated.  We experience increasing loneliness, which in turn leaves us more fearful and needy.  So, we can become ever-more lustful, seeking to take some sense of companionship from those we feel 'above.'  After all, those who are above do not consort with those below, and so we can only take 'parts' of those beneath our dignity: a corporate executive may visit a prostitute, but he certainly may not marry one! (Sorry, Julia Roberts.)

I've discuss the problem of porneia in other posts ( ), so I won't repeat all of that here.

However, the previous discussion of porneia stopped short of paining the complete picture, because to do so would require discuss two other passions that are related to Lust: Sloth and Gluttony.

It is easy to see how these three go together in their most prurient and depraved form, such as a 'Roman Orgy' or a sultan's harem.  But, their more subtle manifestations are often harder to catch.  We will explore these in terms of their more common forms.

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