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15 November 2004 | Uncompleted

Accepting God's Will for the World

Understanding the Christian mandate given through George Bush

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God, wrath and weaponry
Reframing, promotion, exploitation and incarceration


The world can now be deeply grateful to the American people -- the greatest people on Earth -- for confirming so clearly God's mandate for their Christian leader -- the most powerful leader on Earth -- in the furtherance of the Christian-inspired policies of the world's only superpower. The prayers of American Christians have evoked the comprehensible guidance from God that the world so desperately needs for the 21st century. As the most developed country, the spiritual guidance is reflected in the convictions of the majority of American voters -- the remainder will, as is their custom as loyal citizens, stand dutifully behind their President in whatever actions he deems appropriate.

As noted in the UK by Martin Kettle (The fervour behind the push to put 'America first' : Don't underestimate the centrality of the old belief in manifest destiny, The Guardian, 2 November 2004):

Bush's apparent acceptance of the view that he may be doing God's work in the White House has been much noted in this country as the campaign has wound through the autumn. But this is not some idiosyncratic hubris on the president's part. It is shared by millions of American conservative evangelical protestants, many of whom believe, along with the attorney-general John Ashcroft, that the very existence of the United States is proof of a divine purpose. In that context, the idea that America should reject ties with necessarily less blessed nations becomes existential, an exceptionalism of another order altogether.

The world should be in no doubt that, thanks to the prescience of the American people and their privileged understanding of God's will, the 21st century calls for the following.

God, wrath and weaponry


Wrath (ira) includes madness, blasphemy, insanity, provoking others to wrath, spreading scandal, homicide, and ferocity. Its contrary virtue is Hope (spes), because it rejoices in the future, rather than dwelling on the turmoil of the present.


Reframing, promotion, exploitation and incarceration




Incarceration: incarcerating a significant proportion of the population following failure to address the conditions giving rise to their crime


Kristena West. The seven vices are considered to be the veils of illusion that occlude us from Sophia, holy wisdom, the Beloved of every human heart. These seven vices today are considered to be behavioral patterns adopted by us as coping mechanisms. Eventually, these behaviors can become addictions which cause us pain, limit our growth, and are considered obstacles to the spiritual path. [more]

Wikipedia: One way of organising the vices is as the corruption of the virtues. A virtue can be corrupted by nonuse, misuse, or overuse. Thus the cardinal vices would be lust (nonuse of temperance), cowardice (nonuse of courage), folly (misuse of an virtue, opposite of wisdom), and venality (nonuse of justice). See: The four virtues.

The Christian vices would be blasphemy (faith betrayed), unforgiveness (hope betrayed), apostasy (nonuse of piety), and indifference (scripturally, a "hardened heart"), the betrayal of perfect love: charity.

Transforming Your Dragons: Turning Personality Fear Patterns into Personal Power by José Stevens, Ph.D. Bear and Co. 1994

What then are these seven dragons but the most familiar of all human limitations. Throughout the ages they have been called many names: The seven deadly sins; the seven vices; bad blood; original sin; base human nature; plagues; the fall of man; Satan, evil spirits, and so on. These notions of the dragons suggest that evil is visited upon human beings by the devil, demons, or by humankind's own innate wickedness and sinfulness. According to this view, people are helpless in the face of these dragons and it is only in crying out to the gods through prayer and ritual, or by offering sacrifice that these demons can be avoided. The limitation of this perspective is that while creating temporary relief, in the long run it is disempowering and offers little in the way of effective solution to the problem.

In modern times we sometimes call the seven dragons by more scientific names: Dysfunction, psychopathology, abnormal psychology, defense mechanisms, addiction, aberrant behavior, neurosis, and anti-social behavior. We attribute these modern demons to familial conditioning, poor social conditions, chemical imbalances, and genetic makeup. However, with all the modern science in the world we have not arrived one step closer to slaying the age old dragons that continue to plague us. Why? Because we do not understand the fundamental nature of the dragons we seek to slay. The dragons are swift and sly and have led us on merry goose chases that lead to a false sense of security. They continue to reign supreme on the world scene. In fact, more commonly we call the dragons by the name, ordinary everyday behavior. We regard destructive, callous, insensitive, self defeating behavior as not only ordinary, but we reward it socially with fame, fortune, and social status.

Truly, the seven dragons lie at the heart of every major dysfunction and addiction known to human kind. These are the addictions underlying every addiction. These are the dragons behind every obstacle to human potential. These are the dragons that masquerade as power, brilliance, modesty, strength, colorfulness, sacrifice, and fortitude.

For the purposes of this book these dragons will be called by simple, blunt names: Arrogance; Self-Deprecation; Impatience; Martyrdom; Self- Destruction; Greed; and Stubbornness. These are seven familiar words to describe the cause of all human suffering. Judging by human history, there would seem to be no hope of erasing these scourges that erode the best intentions of even the most developed of our races. And yet, it is possible to defeat the seven dragons if you are armed with accurate information, an intense desire, perseverance, and the courage to admit difficulty and the humility to ask for help. This book is dedicated to arming you with the tools to eradicate the seven obstacles.

Is God a terrorist



Pope Gregory the Great (d. 604) described Seven Deadly Sins in his Moralia in Job. 1. Superbia Pride 2. Invidia Envy 3. Ira Anger 4. Avaritia Avarice 5. Tristia Sadness 6. Gula Gluttony 7. Luxuria Lust (Moralia in Job, XXXI cap. xlv).


RENEE LAPOINTE-DAOUD. The Seven Deadly Sins? are there seven? are they deadly? are they even sins? 2001 [text]

Virtues and Vices, Aristotle, trans. H. Rackman, Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, l992.

WILLIAM P. MARSHALL. Conservatives and the Seven Sins of Judicial Activism. University of Colorado Law Review, Vol. 73, 2002 [abstract]

Michael Lewis. Poisoning the Ivy: The Seven Deadly Sins and Other Vices of Higher Education in America, 1997 [contents]

Jean Bannon The Seven Deadly Sins Managers Commit. New Mexico Labor Letter, Fall 1999 [text]

Karen Horst Cobb. No Longer a Christian. Published on Monday, October 25, 2004 by by [text]

D.A. Blyler. The Seven Vices of Highly Creative People. 2001 [text]

Steven D. Strauss. The Seven Deadly Sins of Advertising. Online Digest of the Small Business Association of Michigan, 11 August 2003 [text]

Thomas P.M. Barnett. The Seven Deadly Sins of Network-Centric Warfare. Proceedings (U.S. Naval Institute, 1999) [text]

  1. Lust: NCW Longs for an Enemy Worthy of Its Technological Prowess
  2. Sloth: NCW Slows the U.S. Military's Adaptation to a MOOTW World
  3. Avarice: NCW Favors the Many and Cheap; the U.S. Military Prefers the Few and Costly
  4. Pride: NCW's Lock-Out Strategies Resurrect Old Myths about Strategic Bombing
  5. Anger: NCW's Speed-of-Command Philosophy Can Push Us into Shooting First and Asking Questions Later
  6. Envy: NCW Covets the Business World's Self-Synchronization
  7. Gluttony: NCW's Common Operating Picture Could Lead to Information Overload

Ron Robinson. Seven Sins of Strategic Planning. 4 March 2002 [text]

Bob Post. Seven Deadly Sins of Seven Deadly Sins of Contingency Planning. Booz Allen Hamilton, 2002 [text]

Bob Lewis. The seven deadly sins of information systems. InfoWorld, 1998 [text]

Steven S. Ross. "Lies, damned lies, and statistics": the seven deadly sins. 21stC, Fall 1998 [text]

The Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. Seven Capital Sins. 1959 [contents]

Justice Michael Kirby. Freedom of Information: The Seven Deadly Sins. Paper delivered to British section of International Commission of Jurists, 17 December 1997 [abstract]

Drue Miller. Seven Deadly Sins of Information Design. 1999 [text]

Eric Matson. The Seven Sins of Deadly Meetings. FastCompany, Issue 02, April/May 1996 [text]

Chris Buckingham. The seven deadly sins of the information professional., 1, 11, 17 November 2004 [text]

Niccolo Machiavelli. The Seven Books on the Art of War. 1520 [text] [review]

Ian Demack. The Modern Machiavelli: the seven principles of power in business. Allen and Unwin, 2004

Seven Deadly Sins. NYPL and Oxford University Press, 7 vols, 2004

Kenneth Rexroth's Classics Revisited. New Directions, 1968

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Criseyde are dynamic structures of evolving interpersonal relations. On each type of character, like sculpture on an armature, a unique individual is erected with a minimum of rhetoric and a maximum of effective characterization. At the end of the "Prologue" a crowd of people have come to life. The tensions and affections that exist between them have been defined. From then on the Canterbury Pilgrims jostle, argue, push and pull, and twist in the fields of force set up by their manifold personalities, each one a center of power. However interesting in themselves, the Tales are each a metaphor of the personality of the teller; each Tale affects the listeners. In the "links" between Tales the narrators are represented and redefined in special relationships, much as the characters in a play are intensified in each new scene. Chaucer's pilgrims can be sorted into categories -- the Seven Deadly Sins: pride, sloth, anger, lust, avarice, gluttony, envy; the Seven Cardinal Virtues: faith, hope, charity, prudence, temperance, justice, fortitude; the four humours: blood, bile, black bile, phlegm; the influence of the known planets and the Houses of the Zodiac -- but this is far from reducing his psychology or philosophy of the personality to schematization. These thirty-five factors, their commutations and permutations, can be figured out arithmetically and are a tidy sum. Besides, each traveler is defined in the first instance by occupation and most of them by native province; each person is strongly characterized by individually developed sexuality; each is a special, complex aspect of maleness or femaleness. This is a larger apparatus for a theory of character than that employed by modern novelists raised on the simple Old Testament schemata of psychoanalysis. [more]

The Seven Deadly Sins board game can best be described as a New Age Snakes and Ladders with attitude. The board is made up of a long, winding and overlapping path of 234 consecutive squares divided into seven different incarnations (first killer, then thief, liar, servant, lover, healer, and prophet). On squares where the paths cross over, called Time Warp squares, players must change path if required. [more]

The seven deadly memes?, 1996. I was thinking about evolutionary psychology and about the "seven deadly sins" and I began to notice an interesting correspondence between the deadly sins and the basic instincts we get from evolution:

Stephen R. Covey. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

  1. Wealth without work
  2. Pleasure without conscience
  3. Knowledge without character
  4. Commerce (business) without morality (ethics)
  5. Science without humanity
  6. Religion without sacrifice
  7. Politics without principle

Walter Lippman. Public Opinion. Free Press, 1997

Chapter XXVIII. The Appeal To Reason: There is, however, a noble counterfeit in that charity which comes from self-knowledge and an unarguable belief that no one of our gregarious species is alone in his longing for a friendlier world. So many of the grimaces men make at each other go with a flutter of their pulse, that they are not all of them important. And where so much is uncertain, where so many actions have to be carried out on guesses, the demand upon the reserves of mere decency is enormous, and it is necessary to live as if good will would work. We cannot prove in every instance that it will, nor why hatred, intolerance, suspicion, bigotry, secrecy, fear, and lying are the seven deadly sins against public opinion. We can only insist that they have no place in the appeal to reason, that in the longer run they are a poison; and taking our stand upon a view of the world which outlasts our own predicaments, and our own lives, we can cherish a hearty prejudice against them.

2004: Denery is one of only 11 scholars selected to participate in a National Endowment for the Humanities seminar, "The Seven Deadly Sins as Cultural Constructions in the Middle Ages," at Cambridge University this summer.

Lousie Cowan. The Terrain of Comedy. The Dallas Institute of Humanities, 1984 [text]

These three quite different "places" objectifying the three states of the soul can consequently be seen to represent the three possible regions of the comic terrain. The first, infernal comedy, is a state in which grace is utterly absent and where selfishness and malice prevail. The community has accepted its fallen condition and cynically attributes its corruption to "the way of the world." .... Deception and disguise, characterizing marks of comedy, are used in infernal society for the purpose or gaining advantage, usually to the harm of others. Even the guardians, those figures of disinterested benevolence who manifest themselves from time to time within the comic tradition, realize their helplessness to change the general situation and either withdraw as does Alceste or concentrate their efforts on the rescue of the feminine victim, as do Ligurio, Paulina, Sir Henry Harcourt-Reilly and Julia, and Gavin Stevens and Ratliff. The wicked are in control of the city, though frequently in the end they are outwitted by someone even more tricky than they. Face is outfaced; Shylock is outlegalized; Flem Snopes is destroyed by something within Snopesism itself. The bitter bit, the gull gulled--- these eventualities are often the outcome of infernal comedy, since wickedness multiplies incrementally and gives the appearance of infinite resource. Yet there is usually a reckoning, in which the community is reaffirmed, even if in the sternest possible way; justice is meted out to offenders, and the innocent are vindicated. This is the realm of dirty jokes, of harmful trickery, of cruel deceit. The Greeks were only imperfectly aware of it as a human possibility, the Old Testament portrays it but seldom, for it is less the world of sin than of abomination--- Sodom and Gomorrah, the false prophets in Pharaoh's court, Jezebel, the Tower of Babel. But the medieval world, fully aware of its implications, found it in daily experience: Chaucer's pardoner and his friar inhabit this world, as do the characters in the miller's and the merchant's tales. Piers Plowman's vision of the seven deadly sins is in this infernal mold. Machiavelli continues it into the Renaissance in his Mandragola, Ben Jonson in his Volpone and The Alchemist, Shakespeare in Troilus and Cressida, and the characters of Shylock, Lucio, Cloten, and Iachimo. Moliere and Restoration comedy are in this mode also, a fact that explains the frequent charge of "immortality" leveled against them. Blake's "London," Flaubert's Madame Bovary, Gogal's Dead Souls, Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Dostoevsky's The Possessed, Eliot's The Waste Land, Katherine Anne Porter's Ship of Fools, O'Connor's Wise Blood exhibit its dark and malevolent lineage. William Faulkner, as one can judge from his early drafts of the Snopes sage, gradually turned from tragedy to comedy in conceiving his trilogy over the years, coming to see the evil engulfing the human enterprise as contemptible and ultimately defeatable.

Deirdre McCloskey. The Secret Sins of Economics. Prickly Paradigm Press, 2002 [text]

Daniel L. Schacter. The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001) [summary]

The Seven Deadly Sins, 2004 [text]

Virtue against which it sins
Brief description
Pride (1) Humility Seeing ourselves as we are and not comparing ourselves to others is humility. Pride and vanity are competitive. If someone else's pride really bothers you, you have a lot of pride.
Avarice/Greed (5) Generosity This is about more than money. Generosity means letting others get the credit or praise. It is giving without having expectations of the other person. Greed wants to get its "fair share" or a bit more.
Envy (2) Love "Love is patient, love is kind" Love actively seeks the good of others for their sake. Envy resents the good others receive or even might receive. Envy is almost indistinguishable from pride at times.
Wrath/Anger (3) Kindness Kindness means taking the tender approach, with patience and compassion. Anger is often our first reaction to the problems of others. Impatience with the faults of others is related to this.
Lust (7) Self control Self control and self mastery prevent pleasure from killing the soul by suffocation. Legitimate pleasures are controlled in the same way an athlete's muscles are: for maximum efficiency without damage. Lust is the self-destructive drive for pleasure out of proportion to its worth. Sex, power, or image can be used well, but they tend to go out of control.
Gluttony (6) Faith and Temperance Temperance accepts the natural limits of pleasures and preserves this natural balance. This does not pertain only to food, but to entertainment and other legitimate goods, and even the company of others.
Sloth (4) Zeal Zeal is the energetic response of the heart to God's commands. The other sins work together to deaden the spiritual senses so we first become slow to respond to God and then drift completely into the sleep of complacency.

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