How The Seven Deadly Sins Impair The Apprehension of the Truth.
(randomly put down, with envy being left off for the moment)
Wrath: Makes compromise impossible, since compromise involves ceding something good to an opponent, while anger as such refuses to do so. It also makes impossible any sympathy with an opponent. Compromise is essential to apprehending the truth in political affairs, since reason in these affairs demands compromise; but it also hurts dialectic as such, which demands some measure of sympathy with opponents, even if merely for the purpose of converting them.
Wrath also places an unfitting emphasis on the particular, practical here and now- what should be done to this man or this particular set of men. But the apprehension of truth cannot happen until our concern is more about the truth itself, and not about what needs to happen to any particular group. It also causes us to see as “true” anything that harms an opponent- a disposition that is not obviously correct.
Pride: Perhaps the consequences of this are the best known: asserting one’s will as supreme over any given object; hating to have to accept something as true that we did not make and are not responsible for; the desire to be unique, which causes us to have a distaste for anything that has been already said by someone, or worse still, is commonly accepted by everyone and is in no way “revolutionary” or “controversial”, and which is liable to get us the brand of “a follower” or “a disciple” who doesn’t “think for himself”.
Supernaturally, we alienate ourselves from angel guardians- who despise pride for the same reason that a Normandy Veteran would hate Hitler- remember that the Angels fought a War against angelic pride, and saw a third of the angels fall from the sky over it. Man’s intellect is so infirm that he needs help if he wants to get very far, just as a crippled man needs help if he wants to make a long journey.
Gluttony and Lust: Each makes us identify what is most real with what is the most extreme sensation. We trust extreme sensation for everything. It dependably rewards us when we do well, it dependably comforts us when we feel down or stressed, it dependably passes the time for us when we feel neutral or bored. We start t order our whole lives around extreme sensations, we plan for them, we make provision for them, they are the one thing in our life that we will not negotiate with for very long.
To the extent that we understand the most real, existent, and dependable things to be what causes extreme sensation, we think of immaterial things as less real, less dependable, less worthy of interest. Eventually immaterial things pass from our everyday life, then from our private moments, then even from our dreams.
Greed: Similar problems to lust and gluttony, but the sensible thing desired is not sex, booze, a drug, porn, but a sort of desire as such, since money is a sign of desire. We abstract from any particular material object and desire what stands for all material objects as desirable.
Greed also makes reason less desirable since reason makes it harder to extract money from people. It will sometime make it in our interest to get someone to give us money for something they should not and do not want. Similar problems attend lust and gluttony, but I put greed in a different class since it generally tries for a more widespread attempt to circumvent that reason in people that causes them to say “no”.
Sloth: The distaste for things because they are difficult or unsatisfying in some way. Getting the truth is difficult. We get mowed down on a thousand different pet theories we have; we have to content ourselves with a lot of negations and arguments from analogy; we look to the past and see a trainwreck of dead philosophies, sciences, opinions, doctrines, beliefs, sacred dogmas, unsatisfied desires, failed efforts, blind ideologies, good things that were forgotten and abandoned, noble endeavors that were defeated by irrational or trivial forces, vanity, vanity, vanity. Who could claim that there is anything here worth knowing or doing, and not doomed to perish? Even if we found it, what then? Isn’t it better to just get by, never claim to have gotten the final answer to anything (which we will no doubt find unsatisfying for some reason, right?) …why not just put in our time, make no bold claims, live out our life and die like everything else?
We don’t want to be proud or arrogant, right?