Monday, September 3, 2012

The Seven Deadly Sins and your Hero: Sloth

This week our Seven Deadly Sin is Sloth. Nasy word isn't it?
For Sloth I've copied the definition because I find it helpful. This seven deadly sin will depend on your society. Is it current? Advanced? Or sometime in the past? Much of the attitude for your slothful character by other characters in your world will depend entirely on the societal makeup of your world.


Sloth is defined as spiritual or emotional apathy, neglecting what God has spoken, and being physically and emotionally inactive. Sloth or lut can also indicate a wasting due to lack of use, concerning a person, place, thing, skill, or intangible ideal that would require maintenance, refinement, or support to continue to exist.
Religious views concerning the need for one to work to support society and further God's plan and work also suggest that, through inactivity, one invites the desire to sin. "For Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do." ("Against Idleness and Mischief" by Isaac Watts).
In the Philokalia the word dejection is used instead of sloth, for the person who falls into dejection will lose interest in life.

For example: Currently we recognize that depression is a serious illness that people cannot control. Rather, it controls them. In the past, the slothful person, was a person who did nothing. Now we know that a person who suffers from depression is often unable to motivate themselves, thus there is a change of attitude in society for this illness. However, not all will share this compassion. A small town, for instance, may still hold strong religious beliefs about this condition.

You will need to ask yourself why your character is slothful. Are they bullied? Even adults can be bullied by over powering personality types in the family, work place or in their social connections. Have they just had a child and suffer from postpartum or are they recently back from the war and suffer nightmares? Perhaps they have inherited a tendency for depression. I have and suffer from this illness. St. John's wart works for me and a series of mental exercises I do, but my case is mild. Is your character suicidal? Have they been sexually assaulted?

If your character lives in medieval times or Roman times or earlier, then they didn't know about depression. People still suffered from it. I'm sure that herbal healers used St. John's wart, but those healers in certain times were burned as witches and your character would have to use caution when visiting them.

Of course, there are truly lazy people and always have been.

Your job is to decide what kind of person your hero is and then work out how they overcome their slothful or depression prone personality to become a hero. He have real life examples of this. Think Abraham Lincoln. One comment made about him before he was President and after he and his wife lost a child was; "Melancholy dripped from him." What an excellent description that instantly made me feel sorrow for Lincoln and his wife Mary. Even more remarkable is that this man, with no medication available for his depression except St. John's wart, (and we don't know if he used it), became the President that lead The United States of America through one of the most turbulant times in our history and overcame. That's hero stuff in my book.

Any thoughts? I hope these post are helpful for you.

Wikepedia: picture link.


Jamie Gibbs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jamie Gibbs said...

I like the idea of a slothful hero. Someone who goes out of their way to avoid doing anything, but inadvertently throws themselves into the heart of every conflict. Could make for an amusing story :)

Jamie @ Mithril Wisdom

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Jamie
You're right about that. Very amusing indeed. Thanks for stopping by.

Carolyn V said...

Ah the slothfulness. I've never quite though of it this way. What a great tool to use in character building!

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Carolyn
It really is a great tool. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.