The Nine Vital Sins

Life is all about sin. Joy comes from sinning. And I am the source of sin. Well, more or less. I don’t want to take too much credit. How about: I am an instigator of most sin. That’s probably more on the money (gotta watch that false Pride).

Of course some of you, the foolish ones, are saying to yourself, “Sin is evil. Sin causes pain.” Well, you’re wrong. And not very bright. Evil is something you do to others. Sin is what you do to yourself. Torture, maiming, and repression are evil. None of those have anything to do with sin. Or with me. Those are the actions of humans, and you really need to cut it out. As for sin, well, we’ll get to my examples. Let’s start with Dante's. His, taken from religious writers before him, and altered by time and translation, are:

  • Pride
  • Envy
  • Gluttony
  • Lust
  • Wrath
  • Avarice
  • Sloth

That’s not a bad list. For short-sighted fools with no concept of the wonder of life, they came pretty close. Six of those are the sins that I promote. Pride—Sure, It’s good to like yourself. Gluttony—Yup; who doesn’t enjoy a good chocolate soufflé? Lust—Of course; sexuality is life. Greed—OK; it’s nice to have things. Sloth—Certainly; a good flop on the couch is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Wrath is a bit more complicated. It requires a bit more balancing, but think of it as the fuel of life

But there is one miss: Envy. That’s a silly one to toss on there to begin with. If you’ve already including wanting stuff, i.e. Avarice, why include the subset of wanting other people’s stuff? Even if Greed wasn't on the list, it was a bad choice. I agree that envy is not a good trait. Why care about what others have? Care about what you have.

So, Six of the Nine Joyful Sins are familiar. Let’s add the others. The Seven Deadly Sins weren’t grouped in any particular order, except for Pride, which was considered “the sin from which the others arose.” I don’t consider Pride, to be more important than the others, but I will put it first to follow tradition. As to the rest, they are more or less in ascending order of importance, but don’t get too hung up that. At most, it means you should commit the earlier ones in moderation so you have time for the later ones. They are:

  • Pride
  • Sloth
  • Avarice
  • Gluttony
  • Wrath
  • Beauty
  • Thought
  • Humor
  • Lust

Those are the sins. Each brings passion to life, and passion makes life worth living. (Yes, even Sloth can create passion, though admittedly, it’s not the best at it.) Let’s take a look at each one.


Pride barely makes the list at all, as it is more background than action. You aren’t going to have a lot of fun sitting around being prideful, but without it, you’ll find it is hard to enjoy anything. Pride is the love of self. It is the belief that you are worthwhile. It is different from vanity, as the vain person will focus on some personal attribute (such as a comely face or well sculpted muscles), connecting his or her value to it, and then be devastated when it is gone. A proud person will love himself (or herself… enough with the gender words. Fix your language) whatever the situation: fat or skinny, young or old. There’s no need for self delusion. If you think you are wonderful weather you are hansom or ugly, you won’t have to angst about your appearance or pretend you are other than you are. Sure, it is nice to be pretty. It’s also nice to own a forty room mansion. The proud person won’t get his priorities mixed up.

The self-righteous always meant Pride to mean any level of love of self. They required everyone to be meek and subservient

In recent years, with ego problems causing neuroses everywhere (actually, they always caused ego problems, but no one gave a damn if peasants were depressed in 900AD) and eating disorders discussed in every family magazine, Pride is generally looked at as not only good, but healthy, although it is sometimes renamed self-confidence. Those who want to keep Pride a negative have added in the word “excessive” to the definitions, so that Pride becomes: An excessive belief in self or love of self. That’s just playing with the word. The self-righteous always meant Pride to mean any level of love of self. They required everyone to be meek and subservient, bowing before the grace of their god. Silly. Even if you want to follow a religion, isn’t it better to be able to stand and proudly state that. I don’t want any worshipers who are on their knees.

Don’t get Pride confused with over-confidence (sometimes known as false Pride). Being proud of yourself doesn’t mean you can do everything. You can’t. Get used to it. Rationally evaluate your abilities, and then whatever they might be, be proud of that.


This is a great sin, but it is one to commit in moderation. If you get too slothful, you won’t be able to commit the other sins, and you never should give up a chance to be lustful because of Sloth. But Sloth can be wonderful. If you are a go-getter who is disdainful of this sin, think for a moment: What are you working for? What is your goal? There are several possible answers (you might be trying to get stuff…i.e. Avarice), but a common one is to be able to retire. Retire and do what? Nothing of course. What is the standard picture of the idyllic life or the perfect vacation? Laying about on a beach, getting some sun, drinking something in a glass with an umbrella, and doing nothing at all. That’s Sloth.


Avarice or greed is the desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the spiritual (I pretty much always ignore the spiritual). Avarice is like Sloth: it can be great, but not as a lifestyle. It’s great to have cool stuff. Who doesn’t want a nice house, a stylish car, some fancy cloths, and a kick-ass stereo system? How about a home theater? Lots of DVDs? Classy call girls? An expensive trip, perhaps at an island resort where you can be slothful? Yup, it’s nice to have stuff, and you should get it when you can. Just don’t let this sin interfere with those later down the list. You can be happy without Avarice, but satisfying your greedy impulses makes it a little easier.


I’ve got nothing against becoming enormously fat and eating entire double-chocolate cakes in one sitting (as long as it doesn’t stop you from getting to those later sins), but that’s not what Gluttony is about. Gluttony, as defined by those who took the Seven Deadly Sins seriously, is the desire to consume more than you need. The idea there is that it is virtuous to eat and drink only what you need to survive. Sounds like gruel to me. Thus, any elaborate or tasty food is a sign of Gluttony. Chocolate, pies, muffins, and ice cream are always out, as is alcohol, except for medicinal purposes. Why do you think so many priests are in need of their “medicine”? I just turn it around. Eating should be fun. Gourmet food makes life better, as do some cheesy puffs at the right moment. And drinking? Ah, gin, ale, German wine. Love it. There’s a reason why it’s called The Devil’s Brew.

Eating should be fun. Gourmet food makes life better, as do some cheesy puffs at the right moment.

In modern times, Gluttony has come to be connected almost exclusively with food or drink, but in years past, it was used more broadly for many times of consumption. I use it in that sense (hey, I’ve been around for a long, long time). Think of it this way: a glutton = a party animal. So, all drugs (not just liquor) are included, as is dancing (not line dancing or polkas however—think clubbing). So, any time you head for the pub, order a fine dinner, dance the night away, partake of some ganja, or unwrap a Nestlé bar, you are committing Gluttony. Isn’t it great?


This one is tricky. It is one sin, but it will be easier to explain in two parts. First, there is Wrath as fuel. Many of the sins can give you a goal, but most don't really push you to get up and attain that goal. If you aren't careful, your sins can become unbalanced and Sloth can end up ruling.  lust is the great motivator, but not everything in life ties in with it. Sometimes you need something else; you need to get angry. When you see a great injustice that needs to be swept away, it isn't a calm ethical discussion that gets you off your ass and into the war; it is Wrath. You've heard of righteous anger? Well, since it is a sin, it can never be righteous—that's just people being dumb with words. The proper phrase is Sinful Anger. Not that Wrath as to manifest with such seething. Sometime it is just a drive. The short explanation is go see a Rocky movie. The eye of the tiger is Wrath.

so many people have been taught that they shouldn’t have these desires. That it is bad to want to kill, rape, and rob. No. It is bad to actually do these things, not to desire to.

The second part has to do with your basic nature. Humans are complex creatures. You are not all pure and wholesome (thankfully), nor are you evil—in need of salvation from birth. You are filled with desires and instincts, some of which are quite dark. Many make a great deal of sense when you view your history. You came from hunters and gathers, that killed to survive, and that found competition was best dealt with using a spear. This is in all of you. Mankind is inherently violent, and sometimes, cruel. Deep in your brains, there is the wish to become a pirate, to murder, rape, plunder, and pillage. There’re three ways to deal with that. First, you can repress it. You can deny your own instincts, pretending that they don’t exist and condemning anyone that displays them as evil. This usually leads to one form of mental illness or another, with dire consequences for yourself and others. Second, you can give in. You can kill and rape and maim. Or maybe just get in bar fights and become a soccer hooligan. The third way is to admit who you are and what you want, and find a way to satisfy those urges that is not only socially tenable, but fun. Obviously, I’m suggesting the third, and that’s Wrath as Surrogate Cruelty. (The other two methods can be classified as evil.) People have been doing this for years. The most obvious example is sports, particularly football, rugby, boxing, and wrestling. Playing is best, but watching works too. It fun to hit someone, ripping the ball from his hands or knocking him to the mat. If you don’t see that the joy in that comes from humanities innate love of violence, you just aren’t thinking. Dirty Harry movies are another good example. Who isn’t exhilarated when Harry blows away some scumbag. It would be very bad for you to try and take such vengeance in reality, or for a policeman to do so, but as a fantasy, it’s just fine. Make-believe works in lots of ways. Sex partners play rape games—satisfying a dangerous desire in a perfectly safe way.

The trick with surrogate cruelty is that so many people have been taught that they shouldn’t have these desires. That it is bad to want to kill, rape, and rob. No. It is bad to actually do these things, not to desire to do them. People are embarrassed about what they want…what they need. So, they pretend that they enjoy football for the intellectual challenge of the game, and they lie to themselves that it is justice that they want see in Death Wish movies, and not vengeance. That’s not the way to enjoy life. You need to give yourself to the truth of who you are, and then revel in the fantasies that fulfill your desires.


This sin should be called aesthetics, but Beauty is a better word, and when listing sins, nothing is wrong with a bit of shortening. This sin does not refer to the beauty of a thing, but the ability to enjoy and recognize beauty, disconnected from use or purpose or meaning. This is essential to having a good life. Of course this sin is necessary to appreciate or create any kind of art, but Beauty is not limited to artistic works. There is beauty in nature: sunsets, forests, waves crashing against rocky shores, a falling star, etc. There’s also beauty in cityscapes and ancient villages. Don’t forget the flight of a falcon and the leap of a leopard. And while I’m mentioning living animals, what about mankind. Is there anything more beautiful than the flesh you wear? Gaze at a nude woman, or a nude man. Exquisite. Some more exquisite than others, of course, but the basic form you all have is a good one.


Here’s another that Pope Gregory left off his list of sins, but churches through the centuries always included it without naming it.

Here’s another that Pope Gregory left off his list of sins, but churches through the centuries always included it without naming it. This is the sin of curiosity, the desire for truth, the refusal to blindly accept what you’re told. Every right wing fanatic, fascist, and conservative of any stripe hates Thought. That alone is enough to show how important it is. Thought is a double sin. Like Pride, it is important because it helps as background for all the others. It allows you to avoid the stupidity that is everywhere in society and figure out the best ways to indulge your gluttonous and lustful impulses (as well as your violent ones—see Wrath) without causing pain to yourself or others. It is also a lot of fun on its own. Puzzle solving is a kick. Making a discovery can be a remarkable experience. Thinking about philosophy, working out scientific problems, and contemplating poetry can be as joyful as a good meal or a night at the club. Better yet, intersperse your intellectual pursuits with some time on the town.


It’s hard to find anyone that doesn’t recognize the importance of Humor, but that wasn’t always the case. Saint Benedict said, "Only a fool raises his voice in laughter." What an idiot. Many times in history, religious leaders tried to impose Benedict’s views on the populous. It rarely stuck. Laughter makes life better. Period. If you can find the funny side of the events in your life, you’ll be healthy and fun to be around.


And finally we reach the most fulfilling of all sins. Lust is the desire for the pleasure of the body, for sex. Sex is life. There’s nothing better. Sometimes people forget that, when they lack Pride, and have been taught that sex is bad, or that it is only acceptable with a spouse, or worse, only for procreation. Like the desire for violence, people are embarrassed by their desire for sex. That’s sad, particularly because, unlike violence, there is no need to get your kicks vicariously (though hey, that’s cool too). Sex is always wonderful, unless the participants are emotionally damaged, in which case they need to seek help now.

Let’s get this clear, I’m writing about flesh on flesh contact between two or more people, that may, but does not necessarily involve one person inserting body parts into another. I am not referring to breeding or love. Breeding can be a bi-product of sex, particularly if you aren’t doing it right. Lustful sex is a crazed, wonderful, passionate experience. Breeding is something that should be done only after a great deal of Thought and planning. As for love, well, sex brings happiness, love does not. Let me expand on that. Love may, at times, bring happiness. It may also rip your soul apart. Love may be the most important thing in life, but it isn’t something you can just do, and it isn’t a sin. Love is often improved by sex. Sex can also be massively improved when love is involved. It can also be diminished. Love is a condition, and it is outside of my control. Too many people confuse love and sex.

Lust, thankfully, doesn’t require a loved one. It can be with a lover, or a friend, or an acquaintance, or a paid professional, or a stranger, or even an enemy.

Lust, thankfully, doesn’t require a loved one. It can come into play with a lover, or a friend, or an acquaintance, or a paid professional, or a stranger, or even an enemy. It can be sweet and gentle, or wild and animalistic. And if you live your life right, you’ll experience the extremes, and everything in between, and then quite a few more extremes. Whatever you like to do sexually, it is wonderful, and you should do it (the exception is if you enjoy your sex with cruelty, and then you need to add fantasy, i.e. surrogate violence into the mix; and in case it isn’t obvious, if you enjoy whipping, and your partner enjoys being whipped, that’s not cruelty).

I know of no activity in life that isn’t improved by sex. Painting are more beautiful with a sexual component. Food tastes better when it is part of sexual play. And it is far easy to finish a task when there is a sexual reward. I’ll have to think how Lust helps accountancy, but I’m sure it does…somehow.

And that’s it

That is The Devil’s philosophy with regard to how you treat yourself. I have views on how you should treat others (let others live as they wish, do not harm others, etc., etc., but that’ for another time). This is your life. Don’t waste it. Committing the The Nine Joyful Sins as often as you can is the way to make sure you don’t.







Frederick's of Hollywood, Inc.


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