We all have common characteristics and behaviors relative to being of the same species. We as individuals tend to succumb to the same earthly temptations. The English speaking family of our species has a label for these common temptations. We called them vices. From a puritanical standpoint, a vice is a fault, a shortcoming or an imperfection within a person’s behavior pattern. A vice is a “not so nice” habit based upon the judgment of what amounts to only a segment of our society. It is generally an act of indulgence relative to an individual’s personal weakness in the face of earthly temptation. We as a society must accept the flaws and frailties that exist within our population when faced with temptation. While doing so, each individual that succumbs to temptation must humbly understand that a balance must be struck between personal indulgence and any harmful actions that may impact the collective. If an objective examination is made of what has been deemed negative in nature by some within our society, regardless of what it is, one will ultimately find that it is based upon some degree of excess leading to imbalance. Each of us must be made cognizant of the ramifications of exceeding the limits of a balanced exist. This balance relates to our understanding of everything from work and play, to competition and fairness, and to movement and Nature. The importance of seeking balance within our behaviors must be taught in the home. It must be a part of the curriculum within our schools. It must be a message contained within the expressions of our media systems. It is so important that our society must be exposed to this divine truth as often as possible.
It is true that there are those in our society that happily indulge themselves in vices. They do so because for them it is a positive choice as some way, those individuals are stimulated and satisfied. It is also true that most all within our society are aware of the harm produced by people that abuse these elements of our existence. A balance needs to be sought such that those that responsibly and peacefully partake of self-indulgence are not criminalized for doing so. If something produces little public harm and is desired by many, outlawing that something because it is deemed unacceptable by a minority number of people is not universally effective. That means it is a flawed approach to solving the problem, not a more perfect one, and we are always supposed to be working toward creating a more perfect union. Not one of us can fully experience and/or learn from something by rejecting its existence. For a species that is naturally compelled to stimulate and satisfy itself, this stance of denying our innate desire to indulge in vice will only lead to conflict. Controlling the exposure to that which exists is a more balanced way of dealing with the reality of anything. Seeing lions and tigers roamed about is a pleasurable experience. Yet, they are also deemed harmful to most people. We do not outlaw them and try to eliminate them from the face of our Earth. Instead, we control our exposure to them such that some sort of balance between their existence, our enjoyment of their existence, and the possible harm they pose to our existence is achieved (at least this is the aim). With regard to the indulgence in vice, individuals need to exert control over themselves by using the positive energy from within to command their bodies to react correctly and rightly. As well, societies must make allowances for such indulgences.
As our social systems evolve, we must collectively accept the perpetual existence of vice. Activities that fall into this category have been around since the beginning of human history. As well, they can be expected to remain a part of human future. We as human beings will never be without flaw. We all must reconcile ourselves to the reality that certain transgressions have become a part of our lives because of this fact. These are things like gambling, prostitution (and pornography), non-destructive perversion (i.e. consensual deviate sex, and the like), and self-medicating with what are now considered illicit drugs. By accepting these things as a part of the human living condition, our collective in no way condones neither them nor harmful acts in general. Simply, we would be incorporating our non-destructive weaknesses into a restructured, controllable behavioral pattern. In doing this, we would be providing an outlet for these desires as the social collective continues to work to get beyond succumbing to the temptations that lead to abusive behaviors. We will be moving toward creating a more perfect union.
We must apply the teachings and lessons of our collective past to the realities of our current times and make the necessary adjustments/allowances so that what has been learned is accurately applied to the system or pattern of circumstances within which we live. Those adjustments/allowances will be few if each and every one of us allows the goodness within our heart to come forth. The nature of a human being exhibiting such goodness of heart is that his or her actions are positive and good. In this state, a person's few transgressions are generally related to their personal indulgence rather than being committed against others. Considering vice from a religious standpoint, the significant and relevant question to be answered is whether or not vice and/or self-indulgence is sinful. An objective examination of the Ten Commandments yields a truth that sheds tremendous light upon the answer that is hidden in plain view. Examine these Ten Commandments:
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
AND GOD SAID ALL THESE WORDS, SAYING, I AM THE LORD THY GOD,
(1) THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME.
(2) THOU SHALT NOT MAKE UNTO THEE ANY GRAVEN IMAGE, OR ANY LIKENESS OF ANY THING THAT IS IN HEAVEN ABOVE, OR THAT IS IN THE EARTH BENEATH, OR THAT IS IN THE WATER UNDER THE EARTH. THOU SHALT NOT BOW DOWN THYSELF TO THEM, NOR SERVE THEM.
(3) THOU SHALT NOT TAKE THE NAME OF THE LORD THY GOD IN VAIN; FOR THE LORD WILL NOT HOLD HIM GUILTLESS THAT TAKETH HIS NAME IN VAIN.
(4) REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY, TO KEEP IT HOLY.
(5) HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER.
(6) THOU SHALT NOT (MURDER).
(7) THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY.
(8) THOU SHALT NOT STEAL.
(9) THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS AGAINST THY NEIGHBOR.
(10) THOU SHALT NOT COVET THY NEIGHBOR'S HOUSE; THOU SHALT NOT COVET THY NEIGHBOR'S WIFE, NOR HIS MANSERVANT, NOR HIS MAIDSERVANT, NOR ANY THING THAT IS THY NEIGHBOR'S.
Each Commandment refers to an act of transgression either against God or against another human being. None of the Ten Commandments relate to an individual committing a sin against themselves. In light of this, it is a stretch of the truth to declare that it is sinful for an individual to seek to stimulate his or her God-given senses. As well, the same applies to the indulgence in an experience that produces satisfaction while not causing harm to another life. Harm from self-indulgence is usually the result of the abuse of a given element of existence. It is at this point, where most any action enters the realm of being transgressive. This is because the basis of all sin is excess. A gun is neither harmful nor sinful because it exists. Harm and sin are manifested when a gun is used in an excessive or extreme manner. Because of a human beings degree of awareness, we are required to manifest the control and the discipline necessary to confine our use of things to the limits of responsible action. This is rather than indulging in the undisciplined, irresponsible behavior that is characteristic of excess. This must be done by each individual as a matter of self-control. We cannot fully legislate all human action. Self-discipline cannot be established through the creation of laws. Not one of us can relinquish the responsibility of controlling our individual actions to an entity outside of our own bodies. In essence, this would be the destruction of free-will.
One of the tasks of adulthood is to conquer the flesh and control the stimulation of our body’s senses. It truly becomes mind over matter. This mind over matter or control of the body is manifested by an individual in the form of patience and perseverance, sacrifice and discipline. This is not to say that individuals will not still succumb to the temptations of stimulation and sensation. We all will at some point in time, regardless of what we try to lead others to believe. However, when one does give in to temptation in any form, he or she needs to have an understanding of to what their actions will lead. Individuals must focus on rising above their personal weaknesses that have resulted in their transgressions, rather than uncontrollably pursuing personal satisfaction. If we as a society accept our weaknesses as a true part of who we are and provide controlled outlets for the indulgences of individuals, we will have all our behavioral bases covered. The main characteristics that each person needs to manifest are patience and perseverance, as well as sacrifice and discipline.
Each of us must recognize the necessity of balance and repentance, as opposed to excessive indulgence and disregard. Sometimes there will be negative energy present that keeps one from doing something positive. It very well may be negative energy in the form of negative thought. In dealing with this, come to realize the basis for the need to release oneself of the burden of negative energy. Negative thoughts lead to acting in the wrong way, and this will lead to a negative circumstance in our reality created by the individual with those thoughts. In an extreme instance, this is the basis of sin.
If an individual gives in to that thought, that person must recognize that this is weakness. Each of us has weakness. Each of us must work to strengthen ourselves against weakness. If a person allows their mind to keep recognizing what that negative thought caused them to do, it keeps that person from getting back on the positive path. If the burden of negative thought and sin are not consciously released, it remains within the mind, consciously and subconsciously. There, the negative mental energy conflicts with the inherent positive energy, causing internal turmoil. Once a person consciously recognizes their transgression, and excises it with repentance and penance, that person can resume their positive pursuit. Repenting in earnest allows each of us the opportunity to move on without restriction and with a clear conscious. Paying penance replaces the positive energy lost because of such an act. As long as individuals resume their positive course of action, the proper direction of their life can be regained. The greater one’s degree of positive thought, the greater one’s ability to produce positive action. The more an individual expends positive energy, the more positive energy that individual will draw to himself or herself.
If our species is to evolve as a group of civilized societies, we must all reconcile ourselves to the truth that certain transgressions have become a part of human nature. Again, these are things like gambling, prostitution (and pornography), non-destructive perversion (i.e. consensual deviate sex, and the like), and self-medicating with what are now considered illicit drugs. Each of us must have control of our mind to overcome some of the many temptations to give into the stimulation of the senses of our body and discipline ourselves so that we consistently choose the path for our actions that is right(eous). What we must also reconcile ourselves to is that as individuals, each indulgence of our wants and/or desires is an important part of our lives. As each individual indulges themselves in the pleasures that being alive offers us, each must remember the parameters within which our movements must remain. Each of us must act in positive ways and move in positive directions. Each of us must balance our movements and avoid excess. Our individual movements must not harm or endanger any living being around us. As well, each of our movements must contribute to our overall growth. Through the pursuit of our wants/desires is how each of us is to arrive at the destination of our existence. As a species, we can no longer hide the truth about ourselves from each other. Utopia is a state of existence where truth, happiness, and liberty reign. It is not a state of existence where denial, sorrow, and persecution flourish. We must all work together to create a more perfect union for ourselves and our offspring.