VIRTUES & VICES
GLUTTONY vs SELF-RESTRAINT
Of course we all know what gluttony is, it's eating too much. And Self-Restraint would be not eating too much. So this Intro should be easy.
The dictionary gives us "excess eater" for Gluttony. Good. Just as I expected. Everything is right on track. Then the dictionary adds, "Habitually greedy."
Uh oh. Greedy. A conflict. Greedy is the topic of another section. Wouldn't you think there would be a clear dividing line between at least most of these subjects?
And, besides, isn't it a bit severe that eating to much is in a category of its own under the title, the Seven Deadly Sins? Could there be more to Gluttony than just overeating? Perhaps a little more research will clear up the picture.
I'll try Self-Restraint. That might give us a clue. After all, it's supposed to be the opposite of Gluttony. So understanding it may help us understand why Gluttony is on the Hit List, as well as explain how Gluttony and Greed differ.
The dictionary gives us "Self-control" for Self-Restraint. That's saying the same thing, so is no help. How about Restrain, I'll look that up. For restrain the dictionary gives us; "control, hold back".
No help there.
So far we have a person who eats too much, and a person who doesn't. Is it as easy as that? All the Great Judge has to do in order to find out if we have committed one of the Seven Deadly Sins is to put us an a weighing scale?
I suspect there is more to it than that. If for no other reason than that of the word "Self-Restraint".
Consider all the sins. Here we have seven categories of them. Is Gluttony the only one in which we have to muster up self-restraint? How about Fear, and Greed, and Morality? Why wasn't Self-Restraint listed with them?
Something is missing. Where else can we research this?
Perhaps looking up Gluttony in the Greek will help. After all, Socrates was a Greek, and he is one of those who started this maze. However, his seven included the three; Faith, Hope and Love, which are also in the Bible, but did not include Gluttony as such.
No luck. The Greek word for Gluttony is to eat.
Well, how about Cicero. He was a Roman philosopher and helped perpetuate this categorizing of Virtues. Maybe there is something in his version that will help?
Nothing again. Apparently the Greek and Roman philosophers were more interested in what to do (the Virtues) than what not to do.
It was the Roman Catholic church that really established Virtues as a tradition, then added Vices, which they combined utilizing two poems of the day. So while we are in Rome, let's look up the word Gluttony in Latin.
"Gula" is the word, and it means, you guessed it; "Gluttony".
So we've traveled around the world and learned nothing we didn't already know.
One last hope, that I can see. A glimmer of a possibility in the dictionary.
Another definition of the word Restraint, is Moderation. Now that word fits nicely as opposed to Gluttony, but it stands as only a part of the meaning of Self-Restraint.
We can eat moderately. We can drink moderately. But can we be moderately Immoral? Or Proud? Or Greedy? On the human level, sure we can. But in a Divine sense, that is, in an ultimate sense that these Virtues and Vices were intended, can we be just half-way there and get away with it?
I tend to doubt it.
It appears that although the Virtues and Vices were intended to line up, apparently they do not do so entirely.
So for this section I think I will substitute the word Moderation for Self-Restraint, and reserve Self-Restrain as a sub-heading for the word Integrity which covers all the virtues.
So then, by using the word Integrity as a term to describe who we honestly are now; and also as a description of what we would be if all the Virtues were in place in our lives, that is, if we were truly "integrated"; we have, as it were, a "State of Being" in the word Integrity.
But, of course, that is not who we are now, (at least I'm not), so another force or process has to be utilized to keep our self in check.
And that would be, for the purpose of this study, Self-Restraint.