Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Regret, Doubt, and Jealousy: Sins of Want

Regret is, in fact, a sin.  This is in stark contrast with "Remorse-as-such".  When one regrets what one has done, one is taking part in an emotional strategy that distinctly lacks the most important sentiment of Faith.  This may seem counter intuitive to some, trained in the art of circumspect Moralism. 
Remorse is far more in line with what the demands of Faith require.

Doubt, again, is sin.  This is in marked contrast with such sentiments as scepticism.  To doubt is to adhere to the natural inclination to flee from Grace;  to turn from God.  We doubt only when our rationality lacks the style and majesty of true scepticism.  Think, if you will, of the last time you doubted your lover.  It was base.

To be a true ardent follower of the Faith, one must etherealize the instinct to doubt into reasoned questioning.

Jealousy is the most obviously sin laden of these sentiments.  In jealousy, it is said, one has the distinct desire to do damage; to do harm to both self and the object of ones jealousy.  It is never a good strategy, and most obviously inherently a moral poise lacking in dignified discourse.  You never make any kind of really grounded arguement on the basis of jealousy;  almost all positions based in jealousy, or to the point "resentment", are groundless on the basis of reason and passion.

An emotion?  Sin?

Most certainly if one takes into account the theological position which see's one being judged by the content of one's character rather than mere deeds.  It has been said that God judges one on what is in ones heart...  and emotions are one of the most important components of what is indicated by this theological formulation.

If I regret something, I feel bad about having done it.  It does not necessarily follow that I fix the problem on the basis of feeling bad about having done it.  If I, say, regret having wrecked my auto - It does not follow that I can keep from having collisions in the future because I do not want to.  When we have real passionate remorse about a collision I would argue that it, in fact, necessarily follows that I will take corrective action to prevent a collision from happening again.  Perhaps this is why judges often put so much stock in the greivences of those in court.

Doubt is obviously problematic.  To doubt is simply to say, I do not agree that such-and-such is the case.  To have systematic scepticism is to not agree or disagree but to observe.  I can say "I am not".  But if I do not understand why "I am not", I am surely not going to develop my position beyond the merely apparent.  Again, resentment is a key component of the groundwork of promordial doubt-as-such.  The apparent will not sustain the needs of any civilization worthy of its, shall we say, salt.  What a man of civilization requires for the task of living in Grace is apprehension; and this is not acheived by virtue of the sin of Doubt.

Jealousy is the differance of true resentment.  One is jealous precisely because one finds themselves to be in a position of agitation.  So, if I'm jealous of affection one is bestowing upon my loved one I am agitated by the situation I am in.  Yet, in jealousy, we do not take responsibility for our selfhood.  It is a negative emotion precisely because of our own soured sense of self.  Contrast this with contempt.  Contempt takes the role of people and simply sets them into place. 
Contempt solves the riddle of jealousy.

So in all of these sentiments we see something that can be damaging, problematic for functioning, and negative inherently.  My point is this:  We should all find ways to allow ourselves to get over these primordially passionless senses of self and the world.

It is with this that I leave you.

Brendan O'Connell

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