Empty Days

Saturday, October 25, 2003

vainglory vanity vanitas

Vanity is the most ancient and the most fundamental of all the 7 deadly sins. I don't know how they counted sins, but since it's an impressively old technique and the number is notoriously esoteric, I am not going to doubt the math here.

The more pedestrian way to go about bashing vanity and its children - vainglory, conceit, use your thesaurus - is to say that man is too insignificant to rest solely upon his ego (hen upon her egg?), that greater personalities exist that demand respect and obedience, like God Almighty for instance - and I am not using the name in vain, I don't know the name.

But even absent stronger characters in the universe (let's say we can't get it into our head that there is a God - the royal "we" here, as Dude de Leibowsky liked to say), even absent that - still, vanity has a psychological value of foremost importance. I could even say that the whole psyche is wrapped around it like the snake around the damn tree of knowledge.

I don't think I am being obscure here. All hidden quotes from better minds.

The well known Catholic lament for "the hollow man, the stuffed man" is about vanity impotent, vanity wane, man lost to himself. An abstract of modern psychology.

***

A few steps down the ladder, here I am wrestling my glory to the ground. As I catch myself exulting in my own image, a horrible rush of guilt throws me off my horse.

Who is this austere knight and why the punishment? Behold - it is my father and I am not enough of a heir. Kill thy father and thou shall inherit thine kingdom.

Hence vanity must be repossessed and indulged for it is the root of all life. Self-murder. Resurrection. Death.





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