Seven Sins

Seven Deadly Sins (With Bananas, Book, Knife, and Earring).

Bill Pusztai’s images were the first I saw upon walking into Garner Narrative on East Market Street. The images, all depicting the photographer engaging in one of the seven deadly sins, are accompanied by a detailed artist’s statement. Pusztai comments on the universal humanity of these sins, and their more complex definitions, and also briefly touches on the guilt often associated with committing a carnal sin. I found it intriguing that neither the work nor the statement reflected any concrete opinions held by the artist. To me, they seemed more of an open-ended question, brought up by the photographer but left for the viewer to answer. Does greed make you feel guilty? Does gluttony make you blush? How does sinning make you feel when no one else is looking? I strolled away, not carrying Pusztai’s opinions with me, but rather my own. -- Sarah Duncan, Leo Weekly, Nov 20 2013

The Seven Deadly Sins is a Christian … meme? Teaching tool? PowerPoint slideshow? that talks about seven human tendencies that lead toward undesirable behaviour. Of course the traditional way of saying that is that we are intrinsically sinful, and these are the root sins that flower into evil acts. Heavy on the guilt (guilt: feeling remorse  for something you can't do anything about). Recent psychology, and non-western religious traditions, often express the same ideas without the guilt.

At one time, in the "Christian world", there would have been no need to do anything more than label each with the name of the associated devil, but thankfully that time is past; and so, I attach some explanatory info. Name of devil, associated sin, and my interpretation. These pieces have shown at garner narrative gallery.

Asmodeus: trad Catholic assignment is sexual lust. But when you dig you find that's a caricature. In Greek it was ἐπιθυμέω "set one's heart upon", that is, to covet something. Translated in King James as "lust", which at the time meant simply to desire something, with the implication, something that was not one's own, that one didn't really need. Early Xty used the Latin word Luxuria, extravagance, a love of the luxurious and unnecessary. Clearly not just about sex.
Deuteronomy 21: And you shall not covet your neighbour's wife. And you shall not desire your neighbour's house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbour's. Not just about sex.

I thought about what I covet in that way, and it's precious stones and jewelry. Therefore the earring. Also this quotes a famous painting of a prostitute putting her earrings on. And of course I can't remember the source. Dammit.

Beelzebub: Gluttony. Wikipedia says, "derived from the Latin gluttire meaning to gulp down or swallow, means over-indulgence and over-consumption of food, drink, or wealth items to the point of extravagance or waste."
If I'd had a bag of cookies I would have used those. But I had bananas. Someone pointed out to me that it's a bouquet of penis. Which is interesting in terms of sexual overindulgence.

Belphegor: Sloth. Another one we inherited only a caricature of. The essential idea here is failure to take joy or pleasure or find value in life / god / creation. Something like anhedonia. This of course often leads to one not being able to get out of bed in the morning because one just doesn't see the point, and so the symptom gets exchanged with the disease and the modern understanding "laziness" results.
So, anhedonia. Which to me sounds like Belphegor just stayed in bed that morning cause there's no tempting to be done. Mr Superego is cut off from Mr Libido.

Leviathan: Envy. Wikipedia: "Envy is best defined as a resentful emotion that occurs when a person lacks another's (perceived) superior quality, achievement or possession and wishes that the other lacked it."
This is about people who are unable to create anything themselves, and so as their revenge upon the artist, point to "established canon" or other theory to discredit a piece of art.

Lucifer: Pride. In my life the most serious form of it has been spiritual pride. Where the ego starts citing scripture to demonstrate its holiness, superiority to the "unenlightened", etc etc. The ego has usurped the role of the superego, and the superego is effectively absent. There's the appearance of holiness but the soul is missing.

Mammon: Avarice, Greed. Wikipedia: "Greed is the inordinate desire to possess wealth, goods, or objects of abstract value with the intention to keep it for one's self, far beyond the dictates of basic survival and comfort."
My bananas. Mine.

Satan: Anger. Which in my case is usually turned against myself.