Okay guys, I explained in a previous article how a lot of Pinoys get their values wrong. Now, let’s explore the opposite side of morality. Of course, being a predominantly “Christian” country, the idea of the seven deadly sins are shoved down our throats on a regular basis. Unfortunately, more often than not, a lot of people misinterpret these sins or purposefully misunderstand what they actually mean and label people they don’t like with them.
This will be another article with a slightly religious tone so if you’re not exactly inclined for this kind of discussion, I wouldn’t mind if you decide not to read all of it. However, if you do decide to read it anyway and try to understand its essncee, then I will be most grateful. Also, this will be somewhat long so I don’t really expect you to read all of it in one sitting.
You see, dear readers, like most everything to do with religion in this country, the seven deadly sins are also used as a means to control people and as a weapon to be used against those who run counter to one’s beliefs or cause. Using the seven deadly sins, which is actually inherent in human nature, it becomes fairly easy to demonize a person or a group of people because of their association with the said sin. In the meantime, people lose sight of what each sin actually means and how detrimental they are to those who practice them and those who they are practiced upon. A lot of people in the Philippines often forget what these sins even mean and even practice them without knowing that what they do is already wrong and possibly hurting others.
So, for a better look, I’m offering a look at each of the seven deadly sins, what they entail, what a lot of people think they entail, what they actually mean, examples of the sin in action and how to handle them. Now, please take note, I am not trying to demonize the said examples. After all, I do commit similar things every now and again. Instead, I am merely trying to humanize the said examples and explain to those who are reading this why they are wrong. The goal of this article is for readers to understand the seven deadly sins, why they are deadly and perhaps neutralize their effects on oneself and others. This article is about humanizing and NOT demonizing examples.
So, without further ado:
- Definition: Wrath is best defined as unthinking anger and hatred. Among the seven, it is probably one of the easiest to define.
- What Most Pinoys THINK It Means: Getting angry at someone is a sin. Hating someone is a sin. “Haters gonna hate.” Or so they say. Then there’s the utterly silly concept of: “Make love not war.” (Then I guess it means we should just have sex with terrorists and extremists.) Being angry makes you negative, as a lot of these happiness addicts might tell you, and that you should be happy all the time. We here at GRP get a lot of flak and accusations of being “haters” because of the way we criticize politicians, celebrities and our society in general. In fact, anyone who gets in the way of the festive moods of Pinoys are automatically labeled as “haters”.
- What It Actually Means: Unfortunately, the idea of wrath goes a little deeper than what most people tend to think. Wrath is about unthinking anger and hatred after all. It’s about hating something with no clear reason as to why. Bearing grudges is another aspect of wrath as it prevents one from improving oneself and bettering the people around him/her. Grudges trap you in the past just like depression and will blind you to the more important parts of life like love and true happiness. However, I will again expound that simply being angry or critical of something or someone is not wrath especially if there is proof to back it up and a willingness to allow for change. Remember, we here at GRP are willing to accept criticism as long as it comes with sound reasoning, logic and judgement.
- Examples: Religious extremists and terrorists are probably the most blatant example. After all, these are people who are willing to use their religion or cause to justify their reprehensible acts against other people. However, an often overlooked example would be trolls. Yep, the same people who often like to accuse us or other people who zealously defend their “idols” from harmless and constructive criticism of being “haters” without first trying to understand what was meant in the first place. What do terrorists and trolls have in common? Yes, that’s right: insane troll logic. Just as extreme Islamic terrorists and other religious radicals use their religions to justify their atrocities, many trolls simply use their rather unique way of thinking to bash critics of their idols which they often take literally as gods.
- What To Do About It: Like a few previous articles state, being emotional isn’t in and of itself bad. Having emotions is just a sign of being human after all. However, due note that letting your emotions control you is an entirely different matter. Before reacting violently to any statement or situation, it is often best to consider the issue first before making any action. Also, let go of your grudges. While you may have your reasons, letting them linger in your heart might prevent you from seeing the bigger picture and stop you from improving yourself and becoming a productive citizen.
- Definition: Overindulgence in one’s achievements and potentials without sound logical grounds.
- What Most Pinoys THINK It Means: Most Pinoys think of Pride as something similar to “kayabangan” (boastfulness) and often accuse anyone who is noisy, can speak English fluently or willing to present a problem logically is boastful. Presenting facts and evidence often intimidates most Pinoys who have been caught in the act of a crime or anything inappropriate so their sole response is to often call out their critics and accusers of being “know-it-alls” as they cannot rationalize their acts.
- What It Actually Means: Pride is about holding oneself in high regard without any real reason for doing so. It’s what fuels the concept of “Pinoy Pride” as we have very little to be proud of yet are still adamant about our sense of entitlement. Also note that boastfulness and boasting is about claiming to be capable of something yet not have the facilities and fortitude to back up said claim. Pride is, as some would say: “Biting off more than one can chew.”
- Examples: BS Aquino’s ironclad refusal to apologize about the bus hostage crisis a few years back is a blatant example of this in action. What’s worse is that he seems to be waiting for everyone to just forget about the incident (including the offended party) despite the fact that the issue was worsened by the way his cronies and the media (who is also under his thumb) mishandled the whole affair. “Pinoy Pride” is a wonderful example of this sin as we tend to exaggerate our achievements despite the fact that we’re nowhere near the standards of countries like Singapore or at least have good national and cultural integrity like Thailand. The thing is, we lay back and let life pass us by as a people and get mad when other countries (who work their assess of all day) call us “indolent”. Sweeping our mistakes under the rug such as when certain officials attempted to hide the poor, starving children of Manila from Pope Francis during his visit and hoping he wouldn’t notice is another example as it shows just how superficial our sense of honor really is.
- What To Do About It: They say that “actions speak louder than words” and one must do what they can to better present one’s actions to others. Do rather than say so that people will know that you’re willing to back your claims rather than assume that you’re just boasting. Anyone can claim to be capable of climbing Mt. Everest but only so people actually can. Also, avoid talking too much outside a given topic (I know this from personal experience) unless spoken to or required to as this does make you look like a “know-it-all”.
- Definition: The desire for earthly pleasures. In short, the need for sex and a luxurious living. After all, “lust” in Latin is luxuria, which means “luxury”.
- What Most Pinoys THINK It Means: Looking longingly at an attractive member of the opposite (or even same) sex is evil. Wanting to have sex is evil. Making yourself look attractive is also evil. In short, SEX IS EVIL. I have often heard this underlying silliness in a lot of arguments between couples. I have heard one party claim infidelity or even outright adultery after their partner simply glanced at an attractive person.
- What It Actually Means: Desire is actually a powerful creative force. It’s what inspires many artists to create breathtaking works of art. Lust is just a less-controlled form of desire and is deeply ingrained in the human psyche and makes any attempt to control it just worse. Simply glancing or even smirking at another attractive person doesn’t classify as infidelity so long as it isn’t acted upon and your loyalty remains squarely with your current partner.
- Examples: Well, adulterous people of both sexes are an obvious example, but a less mentioned instance of this are stalkers or people who are simply too obsessed with one person. I once knew a guy similar to another person mentioned in a previous article about Marian Rivera who was obsessed with Angel Locsin this time. While I would only call the guy of “average” looks at best, his unhealthy obsession with the actress has prevented him from finding true love with another woman (who was quite pretty in her own right) who had feelings for him. What’s worse is that he honestly seems to think that Ms. Locsin would probably fall head over heels for him should they ever talk in private, despite the fact that she probably has to budget her time properly for her own love-life, let alone meet anyone else in private.
- What To Do About It: Again, I would ask one to think properly before reacting to this kind of impulse. Remember, you can use the same kind of energy that lust provides to make something more positive. Try applying what it gives you in doing something creative like singing a song, telling a story or painting a picture and you’ll see just how talented you can really be. As for those who are obsessed with certain people of either sex, please come back to reality. I’m not saying looking at a hot girl (or hot boy, if you’re a girl or of another orientation) is bad, but let’s keep things into perspective. You have to think about whether or not that person is truly worthy of your attention and if it’s even practical to have a relationship with them.
- Definition: Desire for another’s goods. I mean hey, sometimes other people get the good stuff first.
- What Most Pinoys THINK It Means: More often than not, Envy is a common accusation people throw around to defend themselves when criticism is thrown at them. Like being labeled as “hater”, as mentioned above, being labeled envious is something that is tossed around a lot because a lot of people don’t want to be criticized for their mistakes and wrong way of thinking.
- What It Actually Means: Envy is all about coveting your neighbor’s goods. It’s about wanting something that someone else already has. It can be a lot of things really from wanting your friend’s new Mercedes Benz to wanting how popular he/she is with the opposite sex. Of course, it’s part of human nature and, what people don’t understand, is that envy can even be a positive force if used properly. Giving into envy is similar to giving into despair which also has ties with the idea of “sloth” as mentioned below.
- Examples: Jealous partners are one good example of envy in action. Crab mentality is yet another, more destructive example as it prevents any progress. Envy and crab mentality are two of the biggest reasons why even the best and brightest of this country remain unknown and obscure to the rest of the world. As mentioned above, envy also ties in with people who are despondent because one reason for despair is believing that you can never be good as someone else.
- What To Do About It: Envy can also be used for more positive outcomes. Sometimes, you can use your envy, your desire to be like another person, to make yourself just as good or even better. So instead of giving into crab mentality and trying to pull that person down, why not just make yourself a better person to match that person and inspire others to follow you.
- Definition: Desire for earthly possessions. This is similar to lust, in a sense, but this is more about material wealth rather than an abstract concept like pleasure or luxury.
- What Most Pinoys THINK It Means: I hear a lot of people saying that: “Money is the root of all evil.” While money does in fact cause a lot of problems for a lot of people and has been the reason for a lot of conflict and hatred in the world, there’s no denying the fact that you still need money to survive. Nonetheless, a lot of Pinoys who hear that a person who wants money is automatically labeled “greedy”. What’s worse is that they also label people who just want to save money as “greedy” as well even if saving money is usually more practical.
- What It Actually Means: Greed is actually all about “excess” rather than the simple need for money. After all, too much of anything is never a good thing. It’s not money in and of itself that makes one evil but the need to acquire more beyond the bounds of practicality and violating the safety of yourself and others certainly is. Greed isn’t just about wanting money, it is also about wasting it. Accumulating wealth but being unable to part with it in times of need is another good representation of what greed actually means. You save money for a reason after all, not just for the sake of the money itself.
- Examples: Well, there are plenty of politicians who fit this very well. However, another not too well-known example of greedy people are compulsive gamblers as they needlessly waste money in the hopes of gaining more. Some of these people have even sold their own homes, vehicles, family members and even internal organs just so they can gamble more in the hopes of winning back all they had lost.
- What To Do About It: The desire to accumulate wealth and save money isn’t really bad in and of itself. Just remember why you’re saving money in the first place. If you’re thinking too much of your money to help your kid who’s in the hospital then you, sir or madam, are “greedy”. You save money to spend on important matters such as when you have friends or family in the hospital or special occasions like wedding, baptisms and funerals. Also, don’t give in to people calling you “greedy” just because you don’t want to treat them to lunch on a daily basis. Greed is about excess, not practicality after all.
- Definition: The desire for rest and ignoring work.
- What Most Pinoys THINK It Means: Wanting a break means your lazy. Sleeping a lot makes you lazy. Sitting and thinking while everyone else is doing manual labor is lazy. It’s that simple. As if thinking in and of itself is actually doing nothing even when planning is always essential to any kind of activity.
- What It Actually Means: Sloth actually runs a lot deeper than just being “lazy”. Sloth is about being idle and doing nothing when your energy could be better devoted to doing more constructive and positive things. Also, sloth ties in with despair just like envy mentioned above. Sloth can be easily associated with depression because most depressed people tend to think that anything they do will mean nothing in the long run so it’s better for them to not do anything.
- Examples: Sloth isn’t just about people who sit around and do nothing, it’s also about people who sit around and think nothing. Remember, it’s not just about the people who don’t work, it’s also about the people who contribute nothing to society and continue to be a burden on our already dwindling resources. Alcoholics who simply prefer to drown their sorrows instead of solving them, poor people who just blame the government for their problems and do nothing, rich people who just lament about the situation of the poor but choose to do sit on their butts and people with access to considerable resources but refuse to explore and exploit its more positive and constructive aspects are all examples of people being slothful.
- What To Do About It: Everybody gets sleepy and everybody wants a break every now and again. But come on, you can’t take a break all the time and think you’ll still get fully paid for it. If you want something for yourself and if you want to make yourself a better person then get up and do it, stop wasting your time and the time of others. The world does not care about your woes and if you don’t do something soon, it will proceed to flatten you and everything that you care about.
- Definition: Overindulgence in earthly goods and pleasures
- What Most Pinoys THINK It Means: You are a glutton if you eat too much. You are a glutton if you think of food all the time. People say this as if to say wanting to eat, in and of itself, is evil.
- What It Actually Means: Again, it is not that simple. Wanting to eat is a natural drive ingrained in the human psyche just like the need to breathe and procreate. There’s nothing wrong with that. What is WRONG is eating TOO MUCH. What is wrong is eating too much when there are people out there who could be starving just as you chow down on that last mouthful. Also, eating too much to your own detriment is a form of gluttony as well and it’s not just about food. Any substance like alcohol and nicotine are dangerous to the body and consuming them with abandon is a sure-fire way to get yourself killed in the long run.
- Examples: Gluttony isn’t just about those who eat too much but also those who overindulge in substances like alcohol and nicotine as well as those who abuse narcotics. Also of note, now that we’re on the subject, I’d also like to mention a certain celebrity couple who got married quite a while back in December. While it’s true that they spent their own money, did they really need to be so extravagant and have to broadcast it to the rest of the country despite knowing that there are still starving people in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan? That 12-foot-cake, which was shown on every TV throughout the nation, is a slap in the face of every Typhoon Haiyan victim who can barely afford to feed his or her family 3 meals a day.
- What To Do About It: Sharing your blessings is one way to prove that you’re not a glutton. Reaching out and sharing what you have with others who may need it more is probably a good place to start if we want to bridge the ever growing gap between the rich and poor in the Philippines.
My point is simple, while we can’t really rid ourselves of the seven deadly sins because they are ingrained in human nature, it is entirely possible to work with them towards the common good…
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