Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gobbledygook? (part five of seven)

Can't stop! Taste is possibly the most frequent temptation. Gluttony has it that we do not stop to discipline ourselves, that we over-frequent the smorgasbord, that we overfill the plate, and that we hardly ever are abstemious. We each have a personal nemesis. And yes, over Christmas most of us are prepared to let go of ourselves, and just enjoy the nosh. But that occasional over-eating, over-indulging, over-fixating is but a part of our lives; it is in having a persistent problem that gluttony becomes a predominant 'sin'. 

Physiologically we each are wired and programmed and conditioned and genetically coded and habituated by culture and society and psychological predispositions and even our own wills too. Somatotypes! One look at another and we may judge. In many societies to not be beautifully Rubenesque is to be Twiggy-ish, and anorexia, indeed, is a deadly disease. Ectomorphs and Mesomorphs have it relatively easy, a genetic predisposition is endemic to their existence; tall and skinny, or muscle-bound and stocky. It is the rotund Endomorph who suffers in our society. Were a plump girl a Zulu bride she would be hailed as rich and bountiful, as would he as the bridegroom be, for to be thin is to be a bad hunter, a person of poor means. But gluttony as a cardinal revelation is neither predicated on a natural physical disposition nor the accidental concomitance of life, it is about the inability to deny self gratification through food.

Closest to that inability to self-deny is Avarice and Lust, we surmise, but Gluttony has its own special allotment in the canon of sins, as do they. Why is it that we struggle so with these seven? Much in religion and philosophy has bent around the concepts. Much in mankind has been cruel and non-compassionate and arrogantly judgemental in the face of witnessing another in the grip of the deadly sins, or worse sometimes, in the face of the self. We can be our own worst enemy, entirely dissatisfied with who we naturally are. And we give ourselves excuses, until there indeed be no more cookies in the jar.

The presumption that laziness (physical or mental) attends those afflicted by gluttony, personified as the evidently overweight, is readily evinced. Persons of great weight may appear to move slowly. Sloth is thereby associated. Yet there are far too many examples of persons of corporeal physical stature (to be euphemistic) who are very much involved and energetic and participating. It is a physiological constitution that also plays its part. Perhaps it is the person who has 'no excuses' that we most condemn; perhaps subconsciously, atavistic beings that we are, we fear that such an one abrogates the communal food supplies unto themselves, cheating us of our apportionment of the available store. Ancient reactions! We condemn at our own peril.

Deep in the psyche is the reason we each do what we do, are what we are, or we would do other, yet more, ‘good’ or ‘bad’. We operate from reasons, unique to each, common to all. Conscious or subconscious. It is in having compassion for whoever and whatever we are that we find care and love for ourselves, never mind another. As the saying goes, beware what you do not like in another, it is in you. Arrogance toward and judgement of another, or anger about and hate of ourselves is debilitating, counterproductive. It is with loving concern and the nurturing of our spirits so that we may be at peace with ourselves, and with others, in whatever shape our bodies take, that we may be most healthy. Gluttony, of itself, is not always evinced by one of large proportions; it is manifest in moments we do not desist. 

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