Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Sin of Sloth

I was channel surfing earlier this evening when I came across an episode of Biography’s The Seven Deadly Sins. This one was about The Sin of Sloth, and it revealed to me some things about my own condition that I was not aware of. As if I actually needed more reasons to feel pissed off and outcast in this Hell on Earth global nuthouse.

Never having been one for religion, I had always assumed that the sin of sloth referred to people being too lazy to work or to maintain good personal and household hygiene. But apparently that’s only part of it. The sin of sloth also has to do with the causes of such laziness, such as having a weak moral character and being depressed – which many today still think of as being synonymous – and the things those causes lead to, like criminal activity and suicide. Apparently this is the reason the religious folk claim that sloth is the second most deadly sin.

As one who has suffered from depression for many years, I can see how others can confuse my lack of motivation with laziness. After all, I make no effort to “get out and meet people” yet still complain about being so terribly alone. And since I don’t anticipate being around anyone I care to impress, I’m not exactly what you’d call “diligent” when it comes to personal hygiene (I can’t stand an unkempt house, however). But I challenge anyone to label what’s important to me, my writing, as the work of a “lazy” person. And as far as having “a weak moral character” is concerned, I think the subject matter of my writing speaks for itself.

Now I have known lots of people who, just like me, don’t work. And yet most of them have no problem whatsoever when it comes to taking care of their personal hygiene or “getting out and meeting people.” Hell, as far as I can see, there’s nothing in the world more important to them than “feeling good, looking good, and looking for love.” And yet few of them seem to give a damn about cleaning their house and taking care of the property they live in and depend upon. So while you could argue that neither of us have much to show for our time on this Earth, you certainly can’t say that that has anything to do with who we are inside. So much for depression being synonymous with having a weak moral character.

If you’ve read the articles in the My Life volume of this blog, you’ll know that I do have some experience with the subjects of crime and suicide. So the question becomes: was it depression or having a weak moral character that led me to those things? Or perhaps more fundamental questions should be asked: if having a weak moral character and/or being depressed are such horrible personality traits, then why is suicide considered to be the worst sin of all, and why are all those religious folk so determined to prevent it? Why on Earth would they want us to stay?

I have to admit that I really wasn’t certain of where this would end up when I started writing. But then I guess that’s why writing is so therapeutic for me. All I knew when I turned on my old hunk-o-junk was that what was said on the TV show pissed me off, and I needed to deal with it. But now that I’ve worked it through, I’m left with one inescapable, if sickeningly familiar, conclusion: The prohibitions against Sloth and Suicide are “moral” justifications for human bondage.

Every culture that has ever existed has had at least one thing in common: the need for an “underclass” who can be blamed for the all the failings of that culture and who can be forced to do all that culture’s dirty work. Who better to blame for a culture’s lack of success than those who are “unproductive?” And who better to force into menial labor than those who are “shiftless” and “lazy?” Is this starting to sound familiar yet? Haven’t we all been taught that religion is both the “founding” and the “civilizing” force of our societies? What could be better than a justification for slavery that only a “heathen” would argue against?

I’ve spent my whole life resenting people because they’re all too willing to let me do their thinking and their work for them, and resenting religion because it tries to rob me of my individuality and my self-esteem. The problem with this logic is that it has lead me to erroneously think that I’ve been waging a war of two fronts, when the fact that over 95% of people are religious means that I’ve actually been battling an enemy with two faces. Like the character “Two Face” from the Batman comics, who swung from being the best kind of person one moment and the worst kind the next, the real enemy is the one who wants to be the slave-master but is willing to settle for selling his brother into bondage instead.

Now I know that we’ve come a long way since the days of treating those who suffer from depression as if they were possessed by demons, but it’s clear that some degree of animosity, disbelief, and distrust towards those so afflicted still exists, especially within the “less enlightened” segments of society. And it’s also true that the current age of “enlightenment” has brought with it every manner of “snake oil” salesman promising a pricey cure to a very vulnerable group that includes both the afflicted and those who care for them. Perhaps the lunatics are indeed running the asylum.

And now I think that it’s only proper that I include some lyrics from Pink Floyd:

Brain Damage

The lunatic is on the grass
The lunatic is on the grass
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs
Got to keep the loonies on the path

The lunatic is in the hall
The lunatics are in my hall
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
And every day the paper boy brings more

And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
And if there is no room upon the hill
And if your head explodes with dark forbodings too
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon

The lunatic is in my head
The lunatic is in my head
You raise the blade, you make the change
You re-arrange me ’till I’m sane
You lock the door and throw away the key
There’s someone in my head but it’s not me.

And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon

“I can’t think of anything to say except…
I think it’s marvellous! HaHaHa!”

I want ice water.


  1. I 'm sad to hear your letter. There's hope than you don't seem to know.
    There's good things. You can think, see , walk, hear, taste, touch, smell..... All free gifts from God. There are good people to get to know, who are trying to do what they can, to make changes for the good. Make a change and break the cycle... It's worth it.

  2. I heard a monk say, "You're in paradise, but you can't see it because you're stuck in the story in your head." It's the getting out of our own stories - which are almost always about disappointment and not getting enough, resentment, etc - that is the worthwhile pursuit.

    So I can identify with you, and have been there, but left it.