A few days ago, I stayed by my laptop through the night feeling my distress grow hour by hour. Ever since that morning the same thoughts have been circling in my mind: the notion of the seven deadly sins. Dante’s Divine Comedy lists them as pride, envy, wrath, sloth, greed, gluttony and lust. (For my Finnish readers: ylpeys (turhamaisuus), kateus, viha, laiskuus, ahneus, ylensyönti, himo.) Even though the deadly sins or capital vices are no longer that familiar to an everyman those qualities are the exact opposite to what is generally appreciated and valued in any person.
I have also been thinking about personality disorders, especially the narcissistic one. It is manifested by grandiosity, an unrealistic sense of superiority, a need for admiration, a demand for preferential treatment, manipulation, envy or a belief of being envied, lack of empathy, arrogance and impudence. When you add pathological lying and the lack to comply with the rules and regulations in society because you believe you are so superior laws couldn’t possibly be meant for you, we have a ‘fine’ example of a sociopath.
What is it that makes great proportions of nations time and again fall under the charm of persons motivated by little more than narcissism, self-seeking and/or greed? This is so much beyond me that one of these days I must have a serious discussion about this with my son who has a degree in social psychology.
For quite some time now, I’ve been wondering about the endurance of the man in the street. How long will the ordinary man and woman consent to funding society and propping up the Earth while the ‘rich and mighty’ are taking – and indeed allowed to take – all kinds of measures not only to increase their wealth further but to skip any kind of social responsibility? I can’t help feeling a major clash is lurking around the corner. Electing leaders with low-minded inclinations, let alone with such a track record, certainly doesn’t offer any hope in finding cures for the serious progressive disease the world is suffering from. Amen to that. I’m done with public preaching. Sorry hubby, I can’t promise I’ll be able stop at home.
The photos of this post do not have any connection with the text other than through the Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321). The statue of him by sculptor Enrico Pazzi on the Piazza Santa Croce in Florence was inaugurated in 1865 to commemorate the sixth centenary of his birth. The cenotaph by Stefano Ricci inside the basilica was completed in 1830.
OK, perhaps also a bit through the façade of the Basilica di Santa Croce. The church, the largest Franciscan basilica in the world dating from 1385, had a modest stone façade for centuries until the present neo-Gothic all-marble one designed by Niccolò Matas was completed in the mid-1860s, again to commemorate Dante’s birth. For the most part, the construction was funded by donations from a certain Francis Joseph Sloane. He was a librarian and tutor turned manager of mines who gained enormous wealth in Italy. I don’t think it’s that far-fetched to assume donations like this were often made not only to boost one’s ego in this world but to slip through the gates to the next one.