The Seven Deadly Sins FIRE Edition: Gula/Gluttony
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Although popularized by the epic poem, The Divine Comedy (Divina Commedia) by Dante, the classification of the Seven Deadly Sins had an even earlier origin.
The version I am using as the basis of this series of posts will date back to the 6th Century AD using the nomenclature of the Catholic Pope, Gregory the Great.
These sins are ordered from the least deadly to the most egregious (and this series of posts will follow the same ordering).
The second Deadly Sin was coined Gula (later donning the name of Gluttony)
The sin of Gluttony is most closely associated with food.
However any act where there is behaviors of excess fall in the purview of Gluttony.
“And recently, we installed another word in its place which, to their minds, has a wholly positive connotation. We say ‘Gluttony’. They say ‘Consumerism’.” ―
Gluttony is essentially the arch nemesis of moderation.
Even Frugalism/Minimalism, which can be noble endeavors, can fall into the realm of Gluttony if taken to the extreme.
We have all heard of the phrase, “Glutton for punishment,” and that certainly could apply to those individuals who become so self-deprecating that they are doing more harm than good trying to reach financial independence.
This form of Gluttony is a lot less common than the one that plagues most individuals: over-consumption.
Acts of compulsion such as gambling or shopping also fall into the grips of Gluttony and both have often dire financial consequences.
“To be blessed and yet permit gluttony to blind me to the blessings is to banish myself to a life of unrelenting poverty even though I might be utterly engulfed in the embrace of a million marvelous blessings.” – Craig D. Lounsbrough
Marketing experts are astute on preying on these human emotions trying to get you to buy more of their product.
I am not immune to these traps and have often fallen to these methods of promoting gluttony.
My local grocery store often has a promotion where you have to buy 10 boxes of cereal to get $1 off each one.
Buy anywhere up to nine boxes and you are stuck with the regular price for each.
I fall for it hook, line, and sinker.
Do I need 10 boxes of cereal at one time?
But to take advantage of this promotion I am compelled to feed this sin of Gluttony and buy in excess of my basic needs.
Another common tactic by a seller is to offer free shipping if you buy more product that you originally intended to to reach a determined amount.
Many a product has laid to waste in my cabinets and pantry due to my brush with this form of Gluttony, with the financial implications far outweighing the savings in shipping.
As previously mentioned, most individuals associate Gluttony with food.
Food is definitely a weakness of mine and I have been known to indulge far more than I should when the opportunity arises.
As a radiologist, thankfully, I do not have many opportunities to attend drug rep dinners like my colleagues in other specialties.
But when I do get invited to a sponsored event, my dark vice of Gluttony appears front and center.
“Nothing helps gluttony along so well as eating food you don’t have to pay for yourself.”- Margaret Atwood
It is definitely an interesting behavior pattern I have noticed, but when I know that the food and drink I am about to partake in will be on someone else’s dime, I tend to go all out.
I order far more appetizers, drinks, and dessert than if it was just a normal night out (even though I could easily have afforded to).
I then truly epitomize the glutton whose belly becomes uncomfortably distended due to overindulgence.
The fact that the meal before me is free seems to trigger something in my brain to take advantage of the situation.
The same phenomena happens in a buffet line that I have paid for.
“Sometimes I had difficulty remembering that ‘All You Can Eat’ is not a personal challenge.” – Marika Christian
In my mind I am doing mental calculations, deducing that in order for me to come out ahead I need to eat a certain (quite large) amount (and also concentrate on the more expensive selections).
As I already try to minimize the amount of vegetables entering my body on any given day (so that I can make more room for God's creatures), my eating philosophy and that of the buffet game plan mesh quite well.-Xrayvsn Click To Tweet
I mentally feel better knowing that I came out financially ahead even though I actually end up feeling physically worse being overstuffed.
That is the sin of gluttony in a nutshell.
As I have hopefully pointed out, the sin of Gluttony is prevalent in this consumerist society, carrying with it financial implications that make the path to financial independence all the more treacherous.
Fortunately for every cardinal sin there is a corresponding heavenly virtue.
For the sin of gluttony, the heavenly virtue counterpart is Self-Restraint.
It is important to recognize our own weakness and what specific triggers there are that subject us to the sin of Gluttony and consciously make every effort to use self-restraint to minimize or perhaps even eliminate the detrimental effects.
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