Friday, June 10, 2005

The Seven Deadly Sins

In my youth I spent a week in the city of San Francisco, just missing by a few months (!#&**!!!) the Summer of Love. I stayed with a friend on the campus of San Francisco State College, soon to become one of the most visible examples of 1960's college campus unrest. It was like going to the circus. I knew I didn't quite belong with the performers; but I knew that somewhere under that tent was a place for me.

Among the places I visited was the Haight-Ashbury district and nearby Golden Gate Park, where I attended an early spring "Human Be-in." I went to the Winterland and heard a band called Cream. My host suggested one afternoon that we drop by a house where some guys he knew lived. They had a band called the Grateful Dead. I opted instead to go to the famous San Francisco Zoo. My friends love this story.

newadventuresjesus_1969Somewhere on Ashbury street I bought a comic book called The New Adventures of Jesus, one of the first "underground comix," although I didn't know it at the time. I still have it, somewhere. The author, Frank Stack as Foolbert Sturgeon, has Jesus say at one point when confronting a mob of dim-bulb Galileans that, "The problem isn't sin, it's stupidity." For some reason that phrase has stuck with me since.

Given, IMHO, that there is only a very fine line between sin and stupidity, I have been thinking recently about the Seven Deadly Sins. For those of you who need reminding, they are (in ascending order of severity according to Dante): Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride. I am personally thankful to Dante for that order.

When I was younger I thought these small fish to fry; I was after bigger game. Besides, although not in much official favor today, at one time the Seven Deadly (aka Capital or Cardinal) Sins were closely associated with the medieval Catholic Church, an institution I did not admire. In addition, they seemed so.... familiar, so....American.

Recently I have come to reassess my position. Large things from small things grow. Maybe looking at our lives and the choices we make through the lens of these sins is not a bad idea. It would also be tempting to begin a critique of the last 60 years of American life - including our foreign policy - from within their framework. But this is a blog post, not a dissertation.

So I invite you gentle readers, who are likely as free from these sins as I, to consider along with me the many ways we all might benefit if others would just get grip on their seven deadly sinfulness.


Anonymous said...

Fantastically written! Let me ponder on the subject and hollar back.

C. said...


Weirdly enough, I started doing a series of "deadly sins" posts before even reading this post. Must be something in the air, eh?

take care,

Bibb said...


Please post the URL for your series. I would love your take.

Analog Man

C. said...

sure--just click on the usual Locust St. site, it should be the first

Bibb said...

Sloth is wonderful. Mind if I post about your series?


C. said...

oh certainly--thanks. Glad you liked it. Gluttony should be up tomorrow.