Humans are good. It’s society that corrupts us. Remember your childhood. A child’s soul is pure innocence, or so Jean-Jacques Rousseau assured us; leaving the bed of his unfaithful partner, while unrolling her lace.

The Selfish Good

During the 13th century, Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican Friar, became the chief propagandist for the new Christian church in Rome. This ruminant bull as he was called (because of his size and character), tried to explain everything; from our existence on earth to the mechanism of the resurrection and the biology of the angels. For his efforts, he was promoted to sainthood (employee of the century) by his employer, the church.

Unlike Rousseau, Aquinas reasoned that the city was part of an extended family. The role of the was to cultivate a mutual fraternal spirit to eradicate evil and stigmatizing bad behavior. In doing so, the church’s followers were all good in the image of their creator—who is infinitely good. But, Gaunilon, (a 11th Century Benedictine monk and wise critic) had earlier questioned this premise, asking how evil could exist if the creator was in fact, infinitely good? Blaming the devil for this defect did not solve the problem. So, it was necessary to create another guilty party (a principle that colonialist policy has still not grasped).

One may kill in order to survive, steal in order to eat, and even lie and cheat to succeed. In each case, the good is obtained by damaging the happiness of others. For Aquinas, the essence of evil was this notion of good achieved through the suffering of others. Therefore, evil and the sins that constitute its catalog are the fruit of a selfish attitude.

Moralists of the great Christian family decided to educate the members of their community to think of others. Hence the famous slogan: love your neighbor as yourself (this principle excludes masochists) to promote altruistic behavior. This is where the idea of the seven deadly sins (of misbehavior) were born, those cardinal vices that feed on the selfish consumption of good.

Greed is…

…a sickly insecurity about the possible lack of possessions. It causes excessive emotional attachment to this possibility. The avaricious person buries his possessions away from curious eyes and enjoys them only from an accounting point of view. His treasure is sterile, producing no happiness. The avarice of the heart is the most corrosive. It sets itself up as a shield against the misfortune of its neighbor. It shamelessly displays itself in North America within the world of cosmetic surgery—the cosmetic dog under the arm; far from the misfortunes of two-thirds of the world where doctors flee from and cannot afford drugs that have been overpriced due to patents.

On Mt-Royal, near De La Roche

Anger is…

…an abrupt reaction to another person’s offense—interpreting an other’s actions or words out of context, without any generosity. A reaction which the outsider provokes by claiming a certain freedom and respect that may hinder the performance of industry. The worst anger is that of the leader (Nietzsche’s societal dragon from Thus Spoke Zarathustra comes to mind), supported by a god who blesses this flood of violence. And promoted by lobbyists to eradicate (without nuance) any obstacle to the exploitation of the resources necessary to satisfy their greed.

Envy is…

…an inescapable desire to monopolize the happiness of others. Someone filled with envy suffers from a deep resentment at seeing their neighbor enjoy happiness, leaving the envious one a mere spectator. Envy develops a cannibalistic avarice (think of the US oil reserves). It is envy that prevents one from smiling at the world’s lonely lovers. This selfish interest in possessing while dispossessing fills the soul with a desert sadness.

On St-Dominique ouest, near Duluth

Gluttony is…

…an exaggerated attraction to the pleasures of the table and, by extension, to the pleasures of the body. The taste of food to the month and the touches on the skin are among the most primitive and satisfying stimuli we can feel. A bulimic attachment to the primary pleasures—eating and fucking, which fulfill two essential goals: survival and reproduction. In its diabolical form, this sin causes us to consume jars of skimmed yogurt (individually packed sizes), with the illusion of not over-consuming, but in turn throwing away more plasticized calories than it contents could ever provide (a fact ensured by the producer). Cultivated in society and mixed with avarice, greed forces us to destroy our food surpluses—a historical exclusivity of industrial capitalism.

Lust is…

…an immoderate search for the pleasures that awaken sexuality. This sin (xxx) is a delicacy particularly prized by preachers, politicians, celebrities or gurus—idols of all kinds. They are answered by groupies who want (at all costs) to copulate with the winners. Lust is democratized when it is consumed as voyeurism; via sunglasses, screen windows, mirrors, or at the beach—our obsession with Hollywood-style breasts and pectorals. Its staging accepts all decent and indecent characters, circumstance and situations: young and old, mothers, fathers, sons, the anorexic and obese, swingers , secretaries, nurses, policemen, all nationalities and people of color, black, yellow, white as well as inflatable dolls, vibrators, etc. In the devil’s mind, a repetitive unproductive reproduction.

One of the oldest porn movies theatre, on St-Laurent east, south of Duluth

Pride is…

…an exaggerated impression of the value of yourself. One imagines the proud man, woman as an opulent businessman or a cosmetics star. Pride goes unnoticed where it is at its most laughable, when we carry an advertisement on our speed bump that we believe will boost our self-esteem. If clothes don’t make the monk but it show its pretension.

Laziness is…

…an obvious aversion to effort, especially to work. We tax the welfare recipient, the maladjusted and the homeless. Yet it is when this laziness is institutionalized that its power is most terrifying. When indifferent civil servants abuse a collective system; when devious citizens exploit the letter of a law without spirit; when employers without compassion tyrannize their employees. The laziness of the heart becomes monstrous when we witness the daily deployments of televised misery from the third world, chips in one hand, sweet bubbles in the other.

10,000 BC

Ignorant of everything related to the idea of a city, the primitive man assiduously practiced certain inclinations, all of which were a guarantee of the survival of their people. His gluttony consisted in eating all he could on good days, famines being frequent. Laziness motivated him to invent (the irony of which must be emphasized) tools that allowed him to accomplish superhuman tasks, such as defeating a tiger with two pieces of wood and a sinew (a bow and arrow). Greed made him fear the dark days and forced him to accumulate reserves. Anger allowed him to defend his family and his possessions against their enemies who came to plunder the fruits of his labor. To envy the happiness of others drove primitive man to imitate others and to spread the use of inventions. Pride was the vehicle of publicity that reminded everyone of the importance of surpassing oneself and of evolving in a world without the possibility of education or personal ambition. As for lust, it gave rise to many births in a world where one child in three did not reach puberty. It spurred the progenitors (in heat) on unknown paths, varying the genetic combinations in those tribes that feared the unknown.

All diets during this time were defined by the scarcity of food and to live was never considered a sin. At least, this is what Rousseau claimed.


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