The New Face of Evil: Revising The Deadly Sins

While having one of my philosophical chats at work, (you tend to find a surprising number of fascinating minds at a rest stop/welcome center) I came to a realization that the most famous list of what-not-to-do’s on earth – the seven deadly sins – is in dire need of an update.

The current deadly sins were conceived of back in the 4th century and our understanding of things has changed a great deal since then. So, like a tech geek scanning his software vulnerabilities, I’ll be going through and updating the sins to make a more modernized list of things you shouldn’t be doing if you want to avoid being an a-hole.

Lust

This one is just plain vanilla stupid…

You’re going to notice a pattern with most of these sins; that they attempt to curb bad behavior, but are defined too broadly to be practical. Lust is no different.

Lust seeks to control unbridled sexual desires and force sexual responsibility. However, sexual desire is also what promotes procreation and ensures the continuation of a species. It’s perfectly natural; let it do its job.

That said, the idea of responsibility – in regards to sex and in general practice – is a good idea. So perhaps what needs to be done here is just change the language around a bit to provide more focus on the real problem. The issue isn’t lust; it’s irresponsibility.

Gluttony and Greed

In the interest of logic and simplicity, I’m going to bundle these two together.

Gluttony and Greed, overconsumption and coveting material goods, are practices that seem good to avoid. But if you ever looked closely at the list, it seems far too strict.

Gluttony is the worst offender in this regard. Eating too expensively, eating too daintily, eating too much, eating too soon, and eating too eagerly are all considered gluttonous acts.

But in all honesty, shouldn’t you be allowed to enjoy the things you’ve earned? You bought the cool toys, you bought/raise the great food, and should be yours to enjoy.

Where gluttony and greed become a problem is when you have so much, but refuse to let others that are clearly in much more need than you partake in your excess. Hell, even five-year-olds know the importance of sharing.

So, let’s simplify and focus the list by combining these two into a new paradigm I call ‘uncharitably’.

Sloth and Envy

I’ll be combining both of these as well for reasons that will be made more obvious later on.

Sloth is a great big pain in the tailpipe to define as it covers several ‘bad behaviors’ from antiquity. Generally speaking these days, we liken it to laziness. And while I’d argue that a few days of rest should be allowed (no one can keep running at full steam forever), it’s actually pretty good as a sin and something to keep in mind.

Envy, on the other hand, is less forgivable.

Envy covers great desire – much like lust, gluttony, and greed – but subtracts the actual possession of the thing you desire. Already, this seems redundant and needs to be stricken. Not to mention, that the desire for something is often a driving force that pushes you to work for it.

However, when you stop to think about what happens when envy is allowed to grow IN THE PRESENCE of sloth, then you get a bunch of lazy MFers that want it all while everyone else does all the hard work (the ‘one-percent’ as we call them today).

So, once again, let’s create a new sin from these two and we shall call it ‘hedonism.’

Wrath

Okay, back to the singular sins…

At first glance, wrath DOES seem wholly bad. People tend to do stupid things when they’re angry after all.

But excluding anger from your life entirely is just as detrimental if not more so. I’ve gone on record saying that anger is what motivates people to fight against a system that’s hurting them and the ones they love.

So when is wrath a bad thing? When it causes you to harm innocent people. When your wrath becomes so great and goes untempered by compassion for so long that you are motivated to destroy property or unjustly harm lives – when you are moved to violence – that is when wrath does its worst.

Pride

And finally, we come to MY sin. I call it my sin because it is the one that I and, in my humble opinion, most creative personalities are ‘guilty’ of.

This is the one that started me on this philosophical track and all because I spoke one line; “Whoever called pride a deadly sin has never known the joy of creating something beautiful.”

There is nothing wrong with having pride in your work and what you do. It’s a feeling of accomplishment after a successful venture. No one should be robbed of that feeling.

Pride is only an issue when you allow it blind you to the truth; when you are so convinced that what you’re doing is right that you continue to push forward at the cost of yourself and others.

Of course, that’s not pride; that’s delusion – the presence of pride and blind faith without the guiding hands of insight and skepticism… and it is possibly the deadliest sin of all. One need look no further than the Nazi Party, the Ku Klux Klan, the Westboro Baptist Church, and Donald Trump supporters to see the dangers of delusion.

So, after all going through the entire list and making the necessary changes, I present you with my simplified and modernized list of…

The Five Deadly Sins

  • Irresponsibility – The act of seeking pleasure at the cost of self and others
  • Uncharitably – The refusal to give to those in need when your needs are more than adequately met
  • Hedonism – The desire for pleasure without the drive to earn it
  • Violence – The act of destroying property and/or life in cold blood
  • Delusion – The act of remaining willfully ignorant and unquestioning of the world

Now that’s a list, people! Simple, honest, and direct. Dante and Virgil could have made it through purgatory in time for the Red Sox game with a list like that. Plus, five is just a more psychologically pleasing number than seven.

Transhumanism: A Philosophical Question

Oh, give it up already. That pun’s too good to waste… or is it?
Source: Nerf NOW!!

It’s been a while since I sat down to wax philosophical and just let my mind wander in thought.

So recently, I played a quick one-shot game of Eclipse Phase with friends. This along with a recent Twitter post from Nash of Radio Dead Air has got me thinking about the nature of Posthumanism.

I think what fascinates me so much about Posthumanism as a philosophy is that there are so many schools that come at the problem of the human condition from different angles. Ideologies and theories like Antihumanism, AI takeover, and Voluntary Human Extinction take a more pessimistic view of humanity and sometimes even believe that we need to be removed for the sake of the planet’s well being.

More philosophical schools like Cultural Posthumanism and Philosophical Posthumanism seek to question the very notion of human nature while taking a closer look and the ethics of a life beyond humanity.

But the thing everyone has most likely associated with Posthumanism, and the thing I’ve been thinking about more these past few days, is Transhumanism – a movement/ideology that seeks to use science and technology to transcend our mental and physical limits; i.e., enhance our strength, halt aging, improve cognitive functions, etc.

Now, I know people on both sides of this debate. A lot of people are afraid that tinkering with the things that “make us human” (stem cell research, Synthetic Biology, etc.) is morally repugnant. But there’s also a more pragmatic way of thinking about this.

Every time the technology has arisen to improve how we do things, we’ve leaped at the chance to use it and incorporate it into our everyday lives. For the most part, this has meant the use of tools and improving them instead of ourselves.

Perhaps what is needed here is think of what we consider as “human” about ourselves as merely our psychological components (ego, personality, memories, etc.) and look at the body that houses them as just another tool to be improved on. After all, “human” is merely a title that we give ourselves and self-granted titles are totally subjective anyway.

Besides, don’t you want to have the power to graft a cybernetic exoskeleton to a quadriplegic person to make them walk again, alter our genome to fight genetic disorders, or slow/stop aging so you can play with your grandchildren for years to come? That seems like an awesome future to me.

But hey, this is about YOUR opinions as well as mine. What do you think about Transhumanism? Should we leave well enough alone and let nature run its course with us or is it our moral obligation to use science and technology to improve our minds and bodies anyway we can?

The Agent’s Guide to Ethical Pranking

 

Whoever did this, for example, is a total slime ball.
Source:Fun On The Net

Happy April Fool’s Day, everyone!

Even though I haven’t engaged in any tomfoolery in years, I still find some pleasure in the mischief of others.

The only problem I have – no one knows how to be an ETHICAL prankster anymore.

I remember back in my day that a good prank was something that everyone could laugh at, fool and fooled alike. These days, it seems that a lot of pranks are just unwarranted acts of maliciously calculated schadenfreude.

So, on this most glorious day of playful misconduct and joyous shenanigans, I will detail for you my code of morals when trying to flummox those unfortunate enough to be called my friends.

Like A Doctor; Do No Harm

A well crafted prank should never result in any kind of damage to property or person. For instance, on paper, greasing the floor so your friend will face plant may seem funny, but it’s also a good way to hurt someone you care about.

Also, destroying other people’s stuff is a bad idea as well. Your victim will be less likely to join in the joke if he has to replace his windshield because of your jackass-ery.

I’m sure you wouldn’t be laughing if your buddy cracked his head open on his wide-screen TV that broke as it fell him and had to be rushed to the hospital (If you would, why are you even here. This is a happy place). So ask yourself before you prank if this could have any potential for destruction or dismemberment.

No One Likes A Bully

This one should go without saying which is why it’s being said.

The prank stops being fun when it starts being about spite and the target of your ire is undeserving of shame and/or is unable to defend themselves.

Let me put it this way; remember that creep in grade school with the triple-digit body weight and double-digit IQ that would stuff you in your locker and hang your underwear on the flag pole? Yeah, that’s what you are doing when you prank that 12-year old kid.

Anyone can pull a prank on a single person less fortunate then themselves. A true master of roguish merriment can baffle a whole army of people greater then themselves.

Strive For Greatness

If you must prank someone, don’t just do some lame gag that anyone can do. Take a look around for inspiration and do something amazing.

Not only did no one become famous putting a ‘kick me’ sign on someone, but the more amazing your prank is, the more likely they’ll be to laugh with you and – by extension – the less likely you’ll be to get in trouble for your deviltry.

Don’t just give someone a wedgie. Go the extra mile; place posters declaring National Wedgie Day in front of the Victoria’s Secret.

Have Fun

Above all else, this is a day for fun and frivolity. Let loose and share some laughs with the people you love and cherish. Keep these pointers in mind and you and your targets will be sure to have a memorable day.

 

In Defense Of The Service Industry

All wait staff should be this happy and perky without faking it.
Source: Texas P.O.S.

So there I was one early evening treating myself to a well deserved pepperoni pizza after some flattering complements in my Social Media class. While conversing with the cook in the dining hall, she asked, presumably as a joke, if she could get me to write a recommendation for campus dining services to quiet down the incessant complaints she got daily.

I couldn’t think of a witty retort off the top of my head, but it did get me to thinking about how we don’t treat people in the service industry as well as we should. Writing a review of a college cafeteria would be silly, but I can show my appreciation to that nice lady and the countless others who make civilized life possible by trying to get others to give them the respect they deserve. The next time you deal with a cashier, server, or the like, remember the following…

They’re Just Following The Rules

Most of the complaints I hear people register with servers are things that can’t be helped. The store can’t accept your expired coupons, the restaurant can’t can’t make your meal special order because it’s pre-made, or some other common request that would violate company policy.

Most of these people (read: the people who haven’t been jaded by the abusive customers) legitimately want to help you. The problem is that when forced to choose between the customer and their job, most are going to take the option that ensures that they get to eat tomorrow.

They’re Just As Human As The Rest Of Us

The service industry is made of human beings. That means that they make mistakes just like the rest of us and can be just as hurt by the ignorance of others.

People make mistakes. What’s more, people make more mistakes when they’re under stress from, for example, some entitled nimrod giving them crap. Relax and work with your server instead of against them. You’ll find you’ll resolve more issues much faster.

Look At Yourself First

As stated above, people working in service make mistakes like all humans. This mean that, since you are human as well, you can be just as guilty of screwing up.

People are, unfortunately, prone to something called Conformation Bias, the unconscious act of exclusively searching for and favoring information that confirms something that they believe. If that person believes that they are in the right, they will fight to prove it to the bitter end and react negatively when proven otherwise.

Take some time to think about what you have contributed to this impasse and consider if you may be at fault. Checking to see if you may have failed at some point may help to find a solution to the problem… and may just keep you off the featured posts of Not Always Right.