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Five additional sins for the list


By Nanook - Posted on 19 November 2010

[Nanook is talking with Father Vincent]

"So, Father, you said there were some additional sins that you think ought to be on the list. What are some of those?”

"OK. Remember, the key provisions for making the list are: the sins are human drives that are very hard to control, and they lead to major problems in society. Here are my candidates:

FEAR; IGNORANCE; SINGLE SENTENCE LOGIC; LIMITED PERCEPTION and IRRESPONSIBILITY.

**Fear

FEAR is the one that I would put at the head of the list. Fear can be shown to be the source of most of the other sins. Pride, greed, anger, gluttony and envy are all drives that are directly related to day to day survival. When any of these threats enter a persons perception or thoughts, the fear emotion results that drives a person to action - i.e. fight or flight. Does that make sense to you?”

"Sure. Pride, for example, which includes racism and nationalism, are essentially defensive responses.”

"Good.

**Ignorance

IGNORANCE. I’d include this as a sin because a person would aim to do something in an intelligent way, but MISS THE MARK because of human mental limitations. And because of our ignorance, we do a lot of stupid things and cause all kinds of grief. So, how’s that?”

"Hmmm… But it’s not an action that we would take? I don’t understand.”

"Remember, not all of the Seven Deadly Sins are actions. Sloth is the opposite of action. Ignorance is like sloth. People choose ignorance by not putting in the effort to seek knowledge and wisdom.”

"OK. Now I got it.”

“So how about some examples and some broad implications for society?”

"Hmmm… I just thought about a person who never read the Bible. That’s got to be a big obstacle to leading a wholesome life. And I guess, a person like that who interacts with society is going to get into a lot of trouble.”

"Good example. But it doesn’t have to be related to religion, of course. The same problem arises for someone who has not gone to school, or has not learned to read.

**Single Sentence Logic

SINGLE SENTENCE LOGIC is actually the bad result of a good human drive. An animal needs to learn to see patterns in the environment to avoid predators and learn how to respond to them if they attack. This capability is very advanced for monkeys and apes For humans, learning language is very important. Even apes have a lot of hand signals and body language. But Single Sentence Logic is bad because people react too quickly to too limited an amount of information in a complex society. The result is jumping to conclusions and doing things for very wrong reasons. Does that make sense?”

"Sure. I’m with you on that one.”

**Limited Perception

“LIMITED PERCEPTION is an extension of the principle behind Single Sentence Logic but applied to things other than language. While it includes limitations to our physical senses like seeing, smelling, hearing etc. by ‘limited perception’ I really mean refusing to pull together broad perceptions of how the world works. Let’s say someone looks at homeless person. They see someone in rags and conclude they are a vagrant and should be thrown in jail. But maybe there’s a much bigger story to tell. Does that make sense?”

"Wow. I sure do agree with this one. Maybe another word for this is NARROW MINDEDNESS. This was a common practice in high school. The kids broke up into social groups. I’m sure that the stereotypes they had about each other were mostly wrong. Your selection of words, LIMITED PERCEPTION, is pretty ironic in fact. Sort of like a play on words. People guilty of this might as well have poor vision and poor hearing since they only get part of the story. And when we apply it to society at large, this directly feeds PRIDE.”

**Irresponsibility

"IRRESPONSIBILITY is the ultimate act of omission. There are many, many situations in life where the conditions establish a role that we SHOULD play. The word SHOULD is a difficult one here, because it supposes social conventions. But given those conventions are valid, our role is laid out. IRRESPONSIBILITY is the decision of a person NOT to carry out their role. Does that make sense?”

"Sure. Boy Scout Law in action. Someone is swimming and you see them start to flounder around. You’re a trained lifeguard. No questions - you go into action: THROW; ROW; GO.”

"What does throw, row, go mean?”

"Most people who haven’t had water safety think if someone is drowning, the first thing you do is dive in to save them. NOT SO! That’s a sure way to produce two drowning people. So the first step is to see if there is a something around that you can throw to them. This is especially important if they fall through the ice. There are sure to be two casualties if you dive into icy water. If you can’t find something to throw, you look to see if there is a boat nearby. That’s not always so ridiculous. Most drownings occur near swimming areas that have rescue boats nearby. Last option - dive in.”

"Interesting - but also right on. The fact that you trained for that situation was the social commitment you made to react to drowning situations. If you didn’t apply that training when the situation came up, that would be irresponsible. Can you think of another case where preparation isn’t so obvious?”

"Sure. It happens all the time. People see a car accident or a crime. But they are on the way to work or some other appointment. So they just take off. This is mental Single Sentence Logic if I ever saw it. They don’t even envision themselves being the other guy. The victim of a crime or accident depends on others in society to help out. Making many of our laws work depends on people doing their part. From a religious standpoint, to me, it means God put me in that specific situation to help that specific person. So I can easily accept that as a sin of omission.”

“Both of these examples were related to emergencies. Those are easy examples. Where IRRESPONSIBILITY becomes most abused is when people are given roles as leaders. The whole process of having leaders is a process of establishing social conventions. So when a person is elected or appointed to a leadership role, there are many expectations of what they are supposed to do. Most of the time, because of the Seven Deadly Sins, when people get into a leadership position, rather than being responsible, they take advantage of their position to back off in life and gather as many rewards as they can. They become irresponsible in carrying out their duties. They become corrupt.”

"I guess this is what fills newspapers.”

"That’s surely an understatement! Another aspect of leadership related to this is the assumption that leaders are somehow smarter than others, or that they are organized thinkers. The way we elect or appoint leaders is based on their ability to use Single Sentence Logic to sway crowds. So, this essentially guarantees that people in POWER are NOT responsible OR system thinkers.”

"This is a pretty sad commentary on our political system, isn’t it?”

“Precisely!

Hey! I think it’s time for you and I to take a break and indulge in one of the Seven Deadly Sins ourselves.”

"If your mind is wondering in the same direction as mine, I’m famished! Let’s do it.”

Studying the additional sins

[Nanook is talking with Ben - &, Father Vincent +, and George %]

+ "Well said George. But, to really understand the Seven Deadly Sins as the true bad actors in the human drama, we have to see them as the TWELVE DEADLY SINS. Remember I added the following: FEAR, IGNORANCE, SINGLE SENTENCE LOGIC, LIMITED PERCEPTION, and IRRESPONSIBILITY. These are all driven by the same primitive human mental patterns described by Maslow. People can be taught to overcome them if they understand the general principles behind these sins.”

"Well, I can understand how irresponsibility could be a sin. A person has conscious control about that. But you don’t have control of fear. So, how can that be a sin?”

%"You’re assumptions are wrong. Fear, remember, is learned. Yes, it may be induced by a traumatic event. But it is still learned. That means it can be unlearned. What Father V is saying is that irresponsibility is also learned. When it happens, it is as unconsciously driven as fear. So, it can be unlearned. Ignorance is the same. Most people are not born with a brain wired to be ignorant. It is a learned trait, mostly by learning to be narrow thinkers who reject opening up to a wider view. Just like Single Sentence Logic, ignorance can be unlearned.”

"OK. I guess most of that makes sense. So, what about limited perception? I mean, you can only see what you can see.”

%"Again, wrong assumption. Most people with limited perceptual abilities have learned to narrow what they see. They subconsciously filter things. It can be traced to a history of trauma. But, it can therefore be unlearned. So, all Twelve Deadly Sins can be unlearned. The five I added are on the list because, in social interactions, they are driven by fear and lead to hostility with others. The action item for an individual with any of these, like the first seven, is to seek help to learn to control them or ultimately replace them with their opposite, the TWELVE LIVING VIRTUES.”

Boy Scout Law - the 12 virtues

"Twelve virtues! Neat. Shoot.”

+ "I think you’re going to be surprised. Did you ever hear of the Boy Scout Law?”

"What?”

&"Whoa! Seal Muncher. You don’t remember the Boy Scout law? Isn’t that the Boy Scout holy grail?”

"Sure I do. Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.”

+ "While they are not a one for one counter to the 12 deadly sins, as a group, the scout law provides a full positive alternative to all the sins. Who ever selected these virtues to guide the Boy Scouts really knew what they were talking about. And notice, while the religious 10 commandments take a negative approach and tell people what they can’t do, the scout law is constructed as a positive guide. If you are ever up against a challenge, these twelve words can lead you to positive ways to figure out a solution. And think about the rest of the scouting structure: the six ranks, merit badges, leadership training. There is an uncanny similarity in these to the message we’ve presented to you as a guide for a new society: cooperative competition, incentives to do the right things, rejection of power, love of the earth. The people who first put the Boy Scout program together were true geniuses. “

"Whoa! I never realized any of this.”

+ "So, did you ever struggle with it?”

"Huh? I mean, following the scouting path was a challenge at times. But I NEVER felt it was fighting me. It was always a bright light guiding me forward.”

+ "Is there an equivalent of hell in Boy Scouts?”

"What??? Hell??? No.”

+ "Then why did you work so hard to get your Eagle rank?”

"What??? Because I admired the leaders. I admired the older scouts, the Jr. Scout Masters, the Eagle Scouts and the stuff that they did. I wanted to be like them.”

+ "Amen!”

"Well! I’ll be?????”

Commandment 13: Thou shalt study the concepts behind fear, ignorance and single sentence logic

+ "Good. But let me restate the whole commandment: Thou shalt study the concepts behind FEAR, IGNORANCE, SINGLE SENTENCE LOGIC, LIMITED PERCEPTION and IRRESPONSIBILITY, AND seek to gain PERSONAL CONTROL OVER THEM IN ONESELF, with special attention to conformance with LOGIC and REALITY.”

"I see. This is a big issue for individuals.”

+ "Precisely! It’s as important to the individual as restructuring the Constitution is to the nation. This is the key to realigning a person’s constitution with the true concept of civilization. We’ve already outlined part of the process that people could use to do this through the community schools and industry. What remains to be created is new community growth models. These will evolve as a whole new society evolves.”

"You mean like clubs and community organizations.”

+ "Precisely! Small organizations developed to support local customs. However, as with Commandment 7, a social reward system needs to be developed to continually reinforce examples of overcoming each of these faults.”

Commandment 14: Thou shalt understand the concepts of the social contract, and honestly and openly state your acceptance or rejection of them

+ "Good. And I’m glad you said the whole commandment. The first part, ‘to understand’, we’ve already talked about some. The schools and industry provide a way to achieve that. We also need a reward structure to reinforce it. So, understanding of the social contract will be a key factor in developing the rules for credentials. The ability to demonstrate knowledge of the social contract and how to implement it will be a key factor in social status.

But what about the last part: honestly and openly state acceptance or rejection of the social contract. George, please explain how we are going to achieve that.”

Basis for honesty

%"Society needs to reintroduce a style of speaking similar to what was common among people in power when our country was founded. At that time, they were comfortable bluntly stating their own beliefs, fully expecting that others would have very different beliefs.. What has replaced that in today’s world, is the need for conformity and acceptance. When people talk, they walk on egg shells. They try to say things that WON’T HURT ANYONE. Ironically, this has all come about because power is now more concentrated than ever in history. Sure, kings had supreme power in the past. But it was only over a small number of subjects. Even a proclamation from the Roman Emperor would take months to reach the edges of the empire. And if people rejected it, it would be years before an effective response was taken. In today’s world, everyone one is on a worldwide stage. Every statement is captured on camera and instantly dissected by analysts and commentators.”

"But isn’t that good? Doesn’t that hold people’s feet to the fire?”

%"Theoretically, yes. But your point fails if people don’t put in the time to truly understand what they’re talking about. The result is politicians falling back to Single Sentence Logic preaching, presented in the form of debates. When it comes to deciding on bills, they vote along party lines. Reality could never be so black and white. This allows them to hide their true motives. The problem is, members of society are caught up in that model. So social discourse is a smoke and mirrors game. The result is a forced authoritarianism. The President of the United States has to personally take a stand and decide everything. In companies, the most mundane decisions get passed up to the chief executive. To spend $50, the Dean of a college has to approve it. What this says is that authoritarianism is as strong today as it has ever been, even though society talks as if they don’t want it. We have to reverse that. AUTHORITY has to be brought back to the individual level.”

+ "Precisely! And the requirement for the individual to earn this right is to live up to the concept of responsibility. Sure, every citizen should have the right to speak. But, to EARN the right to be RESPECTED, and the right to make decisions, the individual needs to demonstrate the responsibility to know what they are talking about. That’s the role of learning history in our schools. That’s the role of philosophy. When the average person’s claim to responsibility is knowing the latest clothes fashions, the latest rock bands and only the latest gossip from hanging out with their friends, the RESPECT they get should be no greater than the shallowness they are demonstrating.”

%"Which is why we have to restore respect for logic and broader knowledge in society. Once we do that, then discussions can become explorations, rather than debates. In the new society, people who speak know they will be measured against reality, not ideology.”

Learning the Bill of Rights

Let me read something related to this from The Demon-Haunted World. Page 433.”

“Education on the value of free speech and the other freedoms reserved by the Bill of Rights, about what happens when you don't have them, and about how to exercise and protect them, should be an essential prerequisite for being an American citizen… If we can't think for ourselves, if we're unwilling to question authority, then we're just putty in the hands of those in power. But if the citizens are educated and form their own opinions, then those in power work for us. In every country, we should be teaching our children the scientific method and the reasons for a Bill of Rights. With it comes a certain decency, humility and community spirit. In the demon haunted world that we inhabit by virtue of being human, this may be all that stands between us and the enveloping darkness.”

%"What Sagan is telling us is that average citizens have given up their responsibility to make society work. They’ve passed the responsibility off to the government. But because their assumptions about how government works are profoundly wrong, the approach has backfired and people have become pawns. They like to complain. But they have lost the respect needed to be taken seriously.

Alignment with clans to find social meaning

Let me read another quote. This one is by Donald Snygg, a psychologist at State University Teachers College in Oswego, NY.”

“. . .the greatest obstacle to universal brotherhood is not selfishness and individualism, but the fact that to give their lives meaning and dignity, the people have identified themselves with a great number of conflicting groups and causes for which many of them are prepared to sacrifice themselves and others. That is another way of saying we live in a world of fragments and factions forever splitting off and warring one against the other.”

%"This observation exposes a big issue. It’s a grand case of Single Sentence Logic. Because humans do so poorly at looking broadly at things, when they feel irritated about something, and they hear a reasonable solution from a newly encountered group, they leap into it. Of course, when they get more involved, they realize the new group has all kind of issues they don’t like either. This get’s them irritated again and primes them for another jump. It reminds me of my association with the anti-war effort. When I got interested in that movement, the first thing that confounded me was why there were so many separate anti-war groups. There were over 30 in Boston. So, I picked one that met close to Harvard. It didn’t take long to find out that they had been formed because their leader had a falling out with the leader of another, quote, ‘peace group’. Every time the region tried to pull together a joint anti-war rally, it broke down into an all out melee between the ‘peace’ groups. This is another call for the supremacy of REALITY and LOGIC. The differences between the groups were not rational. They were based on irresponsibility. They wouldn’t take the time to resolve the misinformation that kept them apart. They wouldn’t take the time to address the hidden personality issues driving their leaders. This is another version of the 50,000 religions problem. Society needs to challenge this. It’s one thing to have a ‘Christian’ religion. It’s another to have 2000+ different groups who all call themselves Christians, but can’t even agree on what ‘being a Christian’ means. Instead, they will fight with each other to the DEATH, to the point of destroying nations.”

"So, what would you do about this? How could society fix it?”

%"We already discussed this in relation to businesses. For any organization that calls itself a ‘public service’ group, to become ‘allowed’, their goals and methods must be clearly stated. In the new society, they would be required to clearly state their beliefs. They would be required to SHOW, by DEMONSTRATION, that their beliefs contributed to the goals of society, or to carry a WARNING LABEL that they couldn’t do so. Hopefully people wouldn’t join such groups.”

What happens when people don’t agree with the social contract"

"But this brings up an important question. Does everyone have to agree with the social contract? What if they don’t?”

&"How quickly we forget. This is one of the biggest successes of PLURALISM as we discussed when we talked about government. Pluralism greatly expands the social contract. So most people will be included. But for those that still cannot accept it, they will either be isolated, or shipped elsewhere.”

"But!!! But!!! What about FREEDOM???”

+ "Nanook?”

"Yeah! Yeah! I know. Prisons, mental institutions, parole, deportation. We already do it. We just live in denial about it.”