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Friday, June 22, 2012

The Virtues - Part 5

Aside from Sloth, and where many addicts find their 'shining hope,' is Gluttony.  Given that Lust is the manipulation and (mis)use of people, Gluttony is the abuse of things.

Gluttony is different from hoarding and Greed, because Gluttony relishes consumption.  The glutton consumes, regardless of quality.  This is why the food addict does not bother with fine, expensive meals when a trip to the fast-food joint down the street can provide perfect pleasure.  The alcoholic will drink cheap wine or beer not because he enjoys the taste, but because he enjoys the effect.

The glutton seeks an effect that is not really related to eating or drinking.  He is not really hungry or thirsty... he is craving something else.

Not all Gluttony is addiction, and addiction can present over a wide array of behaviors, but Gluttony represents the largest slice of the pie chart.  Gluttony is now easy: the world is awash in food, alcohol, drugs, and time.  If you think back a few hundred years, living on a farm without modern conveniences meant every hour of every day was taken up with some task of daily life.  You didn't have time to consume in excess (except certain holidays and feasts, usually rare and tightly controlled by rituals) and you certainly did not have a reliable surplus from which to pull your supplies needed to live in excess.  Famine was always around the corner, and so your life was about putting up food for the lean times and exercising.... Moderation.

Moderation is not utter abstention, but the correct use of things as they were provided by God and created for our usage.  Moderation in all things means an appreciation for their actual usefulness rather than how we can distort them.  You eat when hungry, and drink when thirsty.  You what 'enough' really means.

Moderation means leveling out the highs and lows.  A successful year does not mean the following year one does not work, but rather the extra gains are put away for the lean times, because the surplus in God's gift to us to help us when things go bad.

It requires a long view of life, and can only really be attained with experience and maturity.

Our sense of Moderation is tested with fasting, when we set aside what we enjoy for a time.  How do we react to deprivation?  Do we find ourselves craving things, worried that they will not be there when we are done?  How many of us have eaten out of fear that if we do not eat it, it will be gone when we are ready?

That is not Moderation, but rather Gluttony, driven by fear that we need this or that so much we will eat it even when we do not need to.  Moderation is peace, knowing that if we have a need, God will provide the right things at the right time.  When something appears to be in short supply, there is a reason and God has a purpose.

The comfort of Moderation is that man is free from his dependency on things.  They are not his cruel taskmasters.  Moderation liberates us from worry and fear of lack, and at the same time sees things as they really are.

Our modern society mocks Moderation.  We live in an era of 'extreme sports,' ever more extreme foods, drugs, etc.  Of course, we are always chasing after more.  We are never satidsfied.

Moderation is satisfaction.

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