Seven deadly sins, moral virtues and creativity – are they related?

The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things...
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It continues to surprise me that some people refuse to own their creative abilities.  Last summer I met a remarkable woman who produced a documentary on how swine are ill-farmed. She wants to bring to everyone’s attention to the ways pigs are raised and mistreated, causing ill effects on the environment, the people who live in proximity to these farms and consumers. See Pig Business for video clip.

At a reception following I handed her an I Am Creative button for World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21 i-am-creative-iconsand she flatly refused it, saying she could never wear it, that she’s not creative. Clearly our thinking on the subject is different.

She’s not alone.  Many people don’t see themselves as creators, and for good reason.  Society formed in ways to protect people from deviating from the throng and doing harm to others and self.

Social reforms and moral structures from the 5th century are still in place that dissuade people from engaging their curiosity and imaginations to embrace new ideas and make new decisions.  I wonder how these will reconcile, if at all, in the days to come when skills associated with using creativity become commonplace in schools and higher education.

Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Heavenly Virtues

Pope Gregory (AD 540) put forward the  Seven Deadly Sins as attributes or vices to avoid to live a good life: pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed, sloth. Seven Heavenly Virtues (humility, kindness, abstinence, chastity, patience, liberality, diligence) became popular in Europe in the Middle Ages as behaviours to protect people from engaging in the vices.

Is it possible that people may feel owning their creativity opens the door of temptation, and leads them astray from practicing the virtues?

  • Pride is an excessive belief in one’s own abilities. Humility is modest behaviour, giving respect, thinking of yourself less often than you think of others, and giving credit where credit is due.
  • Envy is wanting what others have, be it status, abilities, or possessions. Kindness means giving charity, having positive outlooks, and inspiring consideration in others.
  • Gluttony is the wish to eat or consume more than you require. Temperance is mindfulness of one’s surroundings, moderation between self-interest and public-interest and the rights and needs of others.
  • Lust is a powerful craving for such as sex, power and money. Chastity is clean living, being honest with oneself, family and friends, and achieving purity of thought through education.
  • Anger is the loss of rational self-control and the wish to harm others. Patience is endurance through moderation, forgiveness, creating a sense of peaceful stability and community.
  • Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain. Charity is generosity, self-sacrifice, unlimited loving kindness to others.
  • Sloth is laziness and the avoidance of work. Diligence is integrity, steadfastness in belief and having a decisive work ethic.

Is it possible that this very talented woman did not want the button because she wanted to keep her virtues of humility, temperance, patience and diligence and not succumb to the temptation of her perception of pride?  Does claiming your creativity make you boastful?

Your thoughts?

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Commentary

Wearing the I am Creative button for World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21 shows people you want to contribute to the future in that you are willing to

  • be open to new ideas
  • engage your imagination
  • use new decisions

that will make the world a better place and make your place in the world better too, without causing harm.

You can get one soon. Stay tuned.