In our final blog on trying to re-brand the Seven Deadly Sins as ‘The Super 7’, things have got trickier. How on earth can gluttony be good for you? Let’s chew it over!
Gluttony – the bringer of pleasure
Here’s Wikipedia to help us out with a definition. Gluttony: “to gulp down or swallow,
In essence the description above is the excessive version of Greed, and on paper there isn’t much to recommend it, but it’s hardly a sin. It’s a sign of letting yourself go and living it up a bit. But a bit of gay abandon, in moderation isn’t something to beat yourself up about.
There is clearly a physiological point at which the body begins to be put under stress as a result of over-consumption. Sometimes the results are temporary, immediate and dramatic, but there are more dangerous, hidden and longer term effects of a regular gluttonous lifestyle which is where the deadly’ comes into it, I suppose. That’s why Gluttony shouldn’t be the order of the day, every day.
Where I take some issue with dismissing Gluttony outright is the idea that Extravagance and Over-indulgence are inherently bad and sinful. The issue here is how do we define ‘extravagance’ and what is under, OK or over ‘indulgence’? Whose definition do we apply?
When I was young boy of 9, I had an embarrassing experience in the way only young children can have. It left a lasting impression on me. My school teacher asked the class to produce two lists of thin
So one person’s ‘extravagance’ is another person’s basic need or right. Fast food is an extravagance to some, and organic food an extravagance to others. I might consider it indulgent to have Christmas pudding AND trifle, whilst others would need the Cheese platter and Chocolates in addition. We don’t have a common agreement about when enough is enough.
Also, if we’re not careful we turn food and the consumption of food into an arid, purely functional experience. Wolfing down a BLT with a packet of crisps becomes something shameful, especially if you slaver and show orgasmic enjoyment as you do so. But deriving pleasure from food isn’t a sin: it’s a necessary biological and human function.
The rise in eating disorders may have something to do with our ambivalent relationship to food, fuelled by the concept that gluttony is a deadly sin.
People show signs of embarrassment eating in public. We’ve become too accustomed to snacking throughout the day, snatching brief mouthfuls at our desks, working through lunch, having ‘working lunches’, or not eating at all until our work day is done. This is no healthier than daily bingeing, and has a damaging effect on productivity. We all need fuel.
It’s time to celebrate pleasure; enjoy ourselves; but do so with one eye on our health and the other on ensuring that it isn’t at the expense of other people’s pleasure: we don’t need to steal from other people’s plates! Gluttony may be the hardest to rehabilitate, but surely we need to cut it some slack!
Please comment if you think Gluttony should be rehabilitated as one of the Super 7, at least in part.
And visit our other postings to read how it might be possible to welcome back wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, and envy.