April 27, 2012

"Did perpetual happiness in the Garden of Eden maybe get so boring that eating the apple was justified?"

That's the fifth most "liked" quote on the topic of "sin" at goodreads. It's from Chuck Palahniuk, Diary (which is a novel, not a diary). The forth most liked also involves poor old Adam. It's by Mark Twain:
Adam was but human—this explains it all. He did not want the apple for the apple's sake, he wanted it only because it was forbidden. The mistake was in not forbidding the serpent; then he would have eaten the serpent.
But I've heard snake is tough, tougher than dog (and less crunchy than grasshopper).

Sorry for the gratuitous Obama-eats-dog/snake punchline. It was not my motivation to look up quotes. I was actually searching for a quote about boredom, something like the only sin is being boring. Interestingly, the most-liked goodreads quotes on the topic of "boredom" are boring. Seriously, how many ways are there to say If you're bored, it's because you are boring? And now I've lost track of what somebody said that made me what that sin-of-boringness quote, which might not even exist.
“Life is for living and working at. If you find anything or anybody a bore, the fault is in yourself.”
― Elizabeth I
Am I boring you? You must be boring.

IN THE COMMENTS: Sweetbriar and Jody both point me to the answer: Christopher Hitchens, in his memoir, "Hitch-22." Page 13. His mother used to say:  "The one unforgivable sin is to be boring."

And I think what got me looking in the first place was a comment by Patrick over in the "Predictable Althouse Is Predictable" post:
Honestly, when I first came to this blog, back in the day, I assumed that you, a law professor especially at Madison, would be a typical lefty law professor. In fact, I likely put off reading the blog for awhile because I assumed it would be the same old boring lefty stuff. This is a very interesting blog, and your political opinions or votes are part of that, but really, there's a lot more to it. Vote for Ron Paul for all I care, or Dennis Kucinich. Just don't be boring about it!

81 comments:

chickenlittle said...

Mummified wives were bored by their husbands.

I overheard that in another thread.

Lem said...

Being Boring

The song is concerned with the idea of growing up and how people's perceptions and values change as they grow older. The title apparently materialised after someone in Japan accused the duo of being boring. The title is also derived from a Zelda Fitzgerald quotation, "she refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn't boring".

Ann Althouse said...

@Lem Yeah, that's the top-rated quote at my link, and one of the examples of the many ways of saying the same thing that I refer to.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Was it Oscar Wilde who said that mankind was divided into two classes: the bores and the bored? And G. K. Chesterton who said that Wilde, by putting himself in the latter class, often figured in the former?

Paddy O said...

Oddly enough I used a quote this morning, for my dissertation:

“Consumerism answers the question, what is a good life? Or, what is the good life? Its answer: living somewhere nice, living to a ripe old age, having certain life experiences before we die. And it offers to save us from the worst fate of all human fates: boredom.”

The garden narrative really is about a quest for identity--the fruit represents getting substantive meaning on our own (the knowledge of good and evil) without dependency on God for identity.

I think there are two major fears that guide us in our pursuit of identity. There's the legal/religious orientation in which we to assuage our existential guilt in the vague expectation of future judgement.

Then there's the aesthetic fear, that we won't make the most of our time here, that we'll be bored.

Both, I argue, lead to forms of oppression because both tend to treat other people as objects to be used in the pursuit of our own goals.

MayBee said...

When I think about the ultimate feeling of being bored, I think about Sunday afternoons in the late winter Midwest when I was an early teen.

Homework done, weather too ugly to go out in but not snowy enough to ski in, I couldn't drive, and all that was on tv was an awful NBA game.

Urg. I don't believe in being bored, but the memory of the feeling of those Sundays can still convince me boredom exists.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Enh. not Wilde; Lord Byron.

Paddy O said...

Maybee:

“In the end, it was the Sunday afternoons he couldn't cope with, and that terrible listlessness which starts to set in at about 2:55, when you know that you've had all the baths you can usefully have that day, that however hard you stare at any given paragraph in the papers you will never actually read it, or use the revolutionary new pruning technique it describes, and that as you stare at the clock the hands will move relentlessly on to four o'clock, and you will enter the long dark teatime of the soul.”
― Douglas Adams

Sweetbriar said...

I think it may have been Christopher Hitchens mother who told him the only sin was being boring.

traditionalguy said...

I enjoyed that run down on sin.

Boring must be a disease of the mind controlled whose minds wont let friends get through to them.

There is an answer to the famous question, "What does God reqire of you, O man?" Which is "to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

That can never be boring because than you are walking with the Holy Spirit who is a renowned artist that loves doing creative new things and loves converting the hearts of bad people into good people to bring glory to the Son of God.

Does Tim Tebow play boring football? Does Ann Althouse write boring blog posts? Do men in shorts get respect...well don't answer that one.

edutcher said...

Actually, Adam only ate the apple because Eve asked him to.

Ever since, guys have been getting into trouble listening to women.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Enh. not Wilde; Lord Byron

As a wit, Oscar is overrated.

I like a little Saki, myself.

Christy said...

Didn't Bertrand Russell suggest that boredom (or rather avoidance of same) was the driving force for much of man's accomplishments?

Actually I just googled for the quote, but found stuff suggesting almost the opposite. I'm sure I read it once. As I age I'm finding more and more stuff I know for a fact just ain't so.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

MayBee,

Ugly-weather days when you can't go out are what books are for. When I was an "early teen," my only anxiety about days like that was that I might not have any books I hadn't read yet, and I'd have to dip into my parents' collection.

(Mostly cookbooks, but there was one thick volume titled The Arms of Krupp that I could now kick myself for not having read. I assumed, from the flamboyant typeface and so on, that the "arms" meant were heraldic arms. Er, no.)

wv: iansw edturedg

"I am not SW"? True enough.

Lem said...

I'm a little bored doing the things Ive done hundreds of times.. I just wont admit it.

D'oh!

Even when the incredible happens - Humber's Perfect Game - there was an anti-climactic feeling that came across the high definition screen that was palpable.

EDH said...

I saw this link on Drudge today.

Vice President Joe Biden jokingly berated campaign donors at a fundraiser this morning in Washington D.C.

“I guess what I’m trying to say without boring you too long at breakfast – and you all look dull as hell, I might add. The dullest audience I have ever spoken to. Just sitting there, staring at me. Pretend you like me!” he said according to the pool report.


How does Biden go from being a boring speaker to the audience being dull?

Isn't a speaker dull and the audience bored?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

edutcher,

I like a lot of Saki, myself. I can quote quite half of it from memory.

"Cobras gloat naturally, just as wolves are constantly ravening from mere force of habit, even after they've hopelessly overeaten themselves."

(My Saki is two floors down; I trusted memory, and think I have that right.)

And "The Toys of Peace" (the story, not the collection) is something that everyone ought to -- not be made to read, obviously, but ought to know exists.

Michael K said...

"Homework done, weather too ugly to go out in but not snowy enough to ski in, I couldn't drive, and all that was on tv was an awful NBA game.

Urg. I don't believe in being bored, but the memory of the feeling of those Sundays can still convince me boredom exists."

Those were the days I spent playing with toy soldiers, or later, reading books. When I was an intern, we got one week of vacation, scheduled 6 months in advance, It rained that whole week (unusual in Los Angeles). I read the entire Horatio Hornblower series of novels that week. One of the best vacations I ever had.

chickenlittle said...

When faced with understanding an old word in a new way it helps to look from where it came. Boredom apparently derives metaphorically from "to bore" meaning to move forward slowly.

The French have their sophisticated sounding word ennui for boredom, but the Germans, in their admirably blunt way of putting things offer langweilig: long while-ic.

Quaestor said...

“Life is for living and working at. If you find anything or anybody a bore, the fault is in yourself.”

This must be apocryphal, it not downright spurious. What purports to be quote from Elizabeth I seems particularly un-Elizabethan to my ear. Besides, whatever displeasures and vexations visited themselves upon the 16th century English, ennui seems unlikely to be among them.

Ron said...

"Go bang your head against the wall"

Betty Draper nails it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLGKisgE5_M

MayBee said...

Yeah, I loved to read too.

But there wasn't always a good book at hand. And if you couldn't drive, and the library was miles away, and there's no internet and no Nook, then a book isn't/wasn't the answer either.

Surely you all remember those days, right? When access to new information was not unlimited?
You must, and surely it makes you appreciate the internet you are on at this very moment.

Bender said...

If we sincerely reflect about ourselves and our history, we have to say that with this narrative [of the fall of man] is described, not only the history of the beginning, but the history of all times, and that we all carry within us a drop of the poison of that way of thinking, illustrated by the images in the Book of Genesis. We call this drop of poison "original sin." . . .

[In today's world], we have a lurking suspicion that a person who does not sin must really be basically boring and that something is missing from his life: the dramatic dimension of being autonomous; that the freedom to say no, to descend into the shadows of sin and to want to do things on one's own is part of being truly human; that only then can we make the most of all the vastness and depth of our being men and women, of being truly ourselves; that we should put this freedom to the test, even in opposition to God, in order to become, in reality, fully ourselves.

In a word, we think that evil is basically good, we think that we need it, at least a little, in order to experience the fullness of being. . . . We think that a little bargaining with evil, keeping for oneself a little freedom against God, is basically a good thing, perhaps even necessary.

If we look, however, at the world that surrounds us we can see that this is not so; in other words, that evil is always poisonous, that it does not uplift human beings but degrades and humiliates them. It does not make them any the greater, purer or wealthier, but harms and belittles them. This is something we should indeed learn . . . [that] the person who abandons himself totally in God's hands does not become God's puppet, a boring "yes man"; he does not lose his freedom. Only the person who entrusts himself totally to God finds true freedom, the great, creative immensity of the freedom of good.

The person who turns to God does not become smaller but greater, for through God and with God he becomes great, he becomes divine, he becomes truly himself. The person who puts himself in God's hands does not distance himself from others, withdrawing into his private salvation; on the contrary, it is only then that his heart truly awakens and he becomes a sensitive, hence, benevolent and open person.

--Pope Benedict, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception 2005

edutcher said...

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

edutcher,

I like a lot of Saki, myself. I can quote quite half of it from memory.


On the subject of boredom, I had an hour and a half commute on public transportation at one time and to keep from going insane, I read many of the authors I had not been assigned in school, including Wilde's complete works.

I remembered something of Saki from high school and bought his complete works was amply rewarded.

The one line I remember was a killer, "Mrs So-and-so? You mean the woman with the nasturtium colored hair and the barmaid manner?". That was one of the most entertaining two weeks I have ever spent.

Bender said...

In the Garden, the man and the woman had the fullness of eternal life, to which it is natural to wonder if such would not be boring.

10. the question arises: do we really want this — to live eternally? Perhaps many people reject the faith today simply because they do not find the prospect of eternal life attractive. What they desire is not eternal life at all, but this present life, for which faith in eternal life seems something of an impediment.

To continue living forever — endlessly — appears more like a curse than a gift. Death, admittedly, one would wish to postpone for as long as possible. But to live always, without end—this, all things considered, can only be monotonous and ultimately unbearable. . . .

11. it is true that to eliminate death or to postpone it more or less indefinitely would place the earth and humanity in an impossible situation, and even for the individual would bring no benefit. Obviously there is a contradiction in our attitude, which points to an inner contradiction in our very existence. On the one hand, we do not want to die; above all, those who love us do not want us to die. Yet on the other hand, neither do we want to continue living indefinitely, nor was the earth created with that in view. So what do we really want? Our paradoxical attitude gives rise to a deeper question: what in fact is “life”? And what does “eternity” really mean?

There are moments when it suddenly seems clear to us: yes, this is what true “life” is — this is what it should be like. . . . St. Augustine, in the extended letter on prayer which he addressed to Proba, a wealthy Roman widow and mother of three consuls, once wrote this: ultimately we want only one thing — ”the blessed life”, the life which is simply life, simply “happiness”. In the final analysis, there is nothing else that we ask for in prayer. Our journey has no other goal — it is about this alone. But then Augustine also says: looking more closely, we have no idea what we ultimately desire, what we would really like. . . .

12. In some way we want life itself, true life, untouched even by death; yet at the same time we do not know the thing towards which we feel driven. We cannot stop reaching out for it, and yet we know that all we can experience or accomplish is not what we yearn for. . . . The term “eternal life” is intended to give a name to this known “unknown”. Inevitably it is an inadequate term that creates confusion.

“Eternal”, in fact, suggests to us the idea of something interminable, and this frightens us; “life” makes us think of the life that we know and love and do not want to lose, even though very often it brings more toil than satisfaction, so that while on the one hand we desire it, on the other hand we do not want it.

To imagine ourselves outside the temporality that imprisons us and in some way to sense that eternity is not an unending succession of days in the calendar, but something more like the supreme moment of satisfaction, in which totality embraces us and we embrace totality — this we can only attempt. It would be like plunging into the ocean of infinite love, a moment in which time — the before and after — no longer exists. We can only attempt to grasp the idea that such a moment is life in the full sense, a plunging ever anew into the vastness of being, in which we are simply overwhelmed with joy.

--Pope Benedict, Spe Salvi (Saved in Hope)

Bender said...

Actually, Adam only ate the apple because Eve asked him to

Ah, yes. One of the very first fruits of sin -- denial of personal responsibility for wrongdoing and trying to shift the blame onto others, thereby destroying harmony and causing discord between human beings. From that, it is only a small step to brother killing brother.

But even before that, the man tries to blame God because He is the one who put the woman in the Garden.

Quaestor said...

EDH wrote:
How does Biden go from being a boring speaker to the audience being dull?Isn't a speaker dull and the audience bored?

In Slow Joe's defense he can be an engaging speaker. He's got the gestures nailed and his bag of moronic facial expressions is well nigh bottomless. Style is not his problem, it's in the content department that the typical Joe Biden speech is a few sandwiches short of a picnic. What is new is not true, and what is true is neither true or his own intellectual property. (Jeez, the words intellectual and Biden in the same sentence, that's rich.)

Joe's problem is the lies he's been commissioned to propagate. They're old. Old lies are boring -- the economy is turning around, we've created or saved a billion jobs, ObamaCare will reduce health costs, the rich aren't paying their fair share, the check is in the mail --What Joe needs is some exciting new lies.

yashu said...

Then there are those who purposely cultivate boredom as a mode of existence. Like Dunbar in Catch-22, or the IRS worker in David Foster Wallace's unfinished novel (the topic of more than one Althouse post). I guess in the end boredom got the better of DFW, instead of vice-versa.

Cf. Heidegger's disquisition on the essence and temporal character of boredom in The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude, especially pp. 74-175. Heidegger analyzes 3 forms of boredom: the first form, "becoming bored by something"; the second form, "being bored with something and the passing of time belonging to it"; and the third form-- "profound boredom"-- "it is boring for one". Check out the table of contents for an overview, or even read some excerpts. And maybe you'll experience some profound boredom yourself. (I happen to love this stuff.)

I was going to cite Kierkegaard too-- but upon googling discover that in April of 2006 (here) Althouse quoted the very passage I was looking for. In fact, "boredom"-- and seeking out quotes on the theme of boredom-- so let's say, "meta-boredom"-- is one of the perennial recurring Althouse themes.

Jody said...

Are you referring to the quote from Hitchens's mother who reportedly told him: "The one unforgivable sin is to be boring" from Hitch-22?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

edutcher,

On the subject of boredom, I had an hour and a half commute on public transportation at one time and to keep from going insane, I read many of the authors I had not been assigned in school, including Wilde's complete works.

Huh. You and me both. I mean, not the Wilde, but the 1.5 hr. public transit adventure.

I remembered something of Saki from high school and bought his complete works was amply rewarded.

The one line I remember was a killer, "Mrs So-and-so? You mean the woman with the nasturtium colored hair and the barmaid manner?". That was one of the most entertaining two weeks I have ever spent.


That must be from one of the plays or the novels, because I don't remember it. Everything in the short stories I do.

"Tobermory," for one, is a classic; there are so many great lines in there, and one can so easily imagine a cat saying them. [quoting from memory again:] "It was precisely your lack of brainpower that earned you your invitation, because Lady [I-forget-what] thought you were the only person idiotic enough to buy her old car. You know, the one they call "The Envy of Sisyphus" because it goes quite nicely uphill if you push it."

CWJ said...

I'm so glad I chose to read the comments for this post. So many good comments from so many different angles. Maybee on Sunday afternoons, Michael k on appreciating Hornblower, and all the others.

But for me, boredom is what begets first world problems. (I know. It sucks. But how else to explain the passion with which we embrace so many comparatively trivial causes).

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Quaestor,

(Jeez, the words intellectual and Biden in the same sentence, that's rich.)

In your own defense, you didn't actually put them in the same sentence.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Here's a boredom quote that goes along with your sex and death post too.

Quaestor said...

Michelle,

You're going to get a job offer as editor of my upcoming novel.

Actually it's heartening to know someone is reading my comments closely enough to notice my errors.

tim maguire said...

You led me to look up one of my favorite quotes about boredom:

We frequently forgive those who bore us, but cannot forgive those whom we bore. –Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

MayBee,

But there wasn't always a good book at hand. And if you couldn't drive, and the library was miles away, and there's no internet and no Nook, then a book isn't/wasn't the answer either.

What sort of screwed-up household is this, where there was nothing to read?

If you haven't got a good book, read a bad book. If you haven't got a bad book, read the ingredients on the back of the cereal box. If you haven't got a cereal box, go out into the wild world and forage, because you have no food at home. You might actually find reading matter while you're at it.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Quaestor,

You're going to get a job offer as editor of my upcoming novel.

I'd take that job, in all seriousness.

rhhardin said...

The apple was the possibility of something new, time as opposed to eternity.

tim maguire said...

In gnostic tradition, the snake is a hero, the Abrahamic Prometheus. The apple brought enlightenment and civilization. It is what made us human.

Michael K said...

I guess I can understand a house with no books. I made my own toy soldiers after my uncle gave me a set of molds and a supply of lead. Lead melts nicely over a charcoal fire. In fact, I made a lot of them out of aluminum after someone gave me a bag of aluminum pellets. Lucky I didn't burn the house down melting aluminum. I was playing with the toy soldiers with a friend when my mother stopped us to tell me it was time to go pick up the corsage for my first date.

Somehow, I always could find something to do. I can't remember being bored. I'm only 74 so maybe that day is coming.

Henry said...

The commentary about boredom, burned into my mind because of context, is John Berryman's Dream Song 14. It's short enough. Allow me to repeat it in full:

Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.
After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,
we ourselves flash and yearn,
and moreover my mother told me as a boy

(repeatingly) "Ever to confess you're bored
means you have no
Inner Resources." I conclude now I have no
inner resources, because I am heavy bored.
Peoples bore me,
literature bores me, especially great literature,
Henry bores me, with his plights & gripes
as bad as Achilles,

who loves people and valiant art, which bores me.
And the tranquil hills, & gin, look like a drag
and somehow a dog
has taken itself & its tail considerably away
into the mountains or sea or sky, leaving
behind: me, wag.

Henry said...

On the subject of boredom, I had an hour and a half commute on public transportation at one time and to keep from going insane, I read many of the authors I had not been assigned in school, including Wilde's complete works.

I've been reading Robert Aitken's commentary on Basho's Haikus. It's perfect for the train. I read a little and look out the window a lot.

TheFunkyDonutMan said...

Any comment more than 2 paragraphs long bores me.

wyo sis said...

The greatest sin is to be boring? What if instead of that idea or the idea that boredom led to taking that bite of apple we think that boring came with the idea of sin. Maybe the bite was taken with the promise of more knowledge and instead it brought the deadliest sin. The ability to be bored.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Busted. Adam blamed Eve. She blamed the snake. The snake didn't have a leg to stand on.

Dante said...

I'm curious about the answer to this question (from the religious):

Since Adam and Eve didn't know the difference between good and evil, how did they know it was wrong to eat from the apple?

I guess the answer is, they did not. Nor was it important. The important thing was, that since they did not obey, not knowing it was wrong to not obey, they were punished.

wyo sis said...

They were told to not eat the fruit. They were told to reproduce which they couldn't do in their innocence. One rule had to be disobeyed in obeying the other. The one who didn't know the whole story was Satan, who never would have offered the apple if he'd known what would happen as a result.

Chip Ahoy said...

This is how close I came to boredom once.

Late summer. Mid morning. Nobody around. I'm walking along the edge where the clearing on the mountain stopped and the rugged woods picked up and there is a spot of fresh erosion that looks like it could be surfed so I surfed it. Plunk. The surfing didn't go well and I sat there and admired the exposed roots of the overhanging whatever it was growing up there. It looked like hair. I ripped it out and shook out the dirt. The roots looked like a wig, sort of like a mullet with something sparse and green growing on top and the long trail of exposed roots. I shook it out as well as I could but it was still loaded with dirt.

I put the root clog on my head like a wig and sat there thinking, "man, this is ideal up here on this isolated mountain and nobody bothering me one single bit. I'm up to my own devices and I end up with a dirty root ball on my head and dirt going down the back of my shirt. This is beautiful and I will look back at this one and recall, man that was great back there, but for now I'm bored as piss and I really really really want school to start." Which would be the fourth grade.

Carnifex said...

The apple of self-knowledge was fed to Adam by Eve. Are we, as men only to become human through the machination of knowing women. If there were no women, would there be a civilization, or would we as a species be relegated to being one of the beasts of the field.

Would you chose to be eternally in Gods grace and unknowing, or suffer the uncertainty and doubt about what our place in the universe, and ultimately, Gods plans.

Or worse in my eyes, to deny Gods existence at all. That we are just a few chemicals thrown together by happenstance to wander in our desert of spiritual emptiness. What becomes of the beasts if the beasts of the fields with no shepherd? They fall prey to the wolves of nature.

And as the lords of our Earth, are our wolves merely our nature?

I think God is a trickster, a joker of infinite jests. Not all of them funny except to himself. As proof I say "Look around you". He wanted us to be sentient, to have knowledge of self. But we have to chose it. That is his trick. We choose the apple every day that we don't give in to our nature, the wolf. To deny ourselves the immediate but fleeting pleasure of the animal, to look out for our weak, our sick, our unfortunate.

How does caring for the people a continent away help us? Genetically, it would be better to propagate only our own line. A lion, when he takes over a pride, kills all the cubs from the previous lion. But why do we go to the effort to help people in Haiti, or Somalia, or Iran. Why don't we become the lion?

Our knowledge has made us our brothers keeper. We are the shepherds guarding against ourselves. One day, the owner of the flock is going to turn up and he is going to ask "How did you guard my flock while I was away?" I hope we can answer, "Very well".

And women? Women are the apple in our eye.

Bender said...

Since Adam and Eve didn't know the difference between good and evil, how did they know it was wrong to eat from the apple?
I guess the answer is, they did not.


Let's reason this out. What did the man and the woman know?

They knew that they were mere creatures and they knew that they were not gods. They knew that only God is God.

Thus, they knew that to want to be gods themselves was contrary to the truth of what they really were -- creatures and not gods. They knew that, in wanting to be gods themselves, they were putting themselves before He who is God, that is, they were putting themselves before He who is Truth and Love itself. They knew that in wanting to be gods in this way, they were distancing themselves from God.

And it is this knowing and intentional distancing from God, this putting themselves before Truth and Love, this wanting to be gods so as to decide for themselves what is true and what is false, what is good and what is evil, that consitutes the "sin."

But eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge did not make them, and does not make us, like gods, it does not make us smarter, it only plunges us into ignorance and error. And one error inevitably leads to another error, step by step, until you are so far afield from truth, and so steeped in hubris, that your judgment is impaired and you cannot distinguish between truth and error, right and wrong, but instead arrogantly believe that you are the creator of truth.

Bender said...

They were told to reproduce which they couldn't do in their innocence.

Huh? Why couldn't they reproduce in their innocence??

Are you referring to sex? Are you implying that sex is inherently bad and wrong?

If so, that would be in error.

Who made sex? God made sex. Who told the man and the woman to be fruitful and multiply? God told them that. God is by His very nature all-good, He cannot make evil and nothing He asks for is evil. God made sex, and as the saying goes, "God don't make junk."

Hence, sex is good and reproducing is good. Indeed, they are necessary for the perpetuation of the speciies. But a thing that is good becomes less than good when it becomes contrary to or inconsistent with love and/or truth, including the truth of what the thing was made for. That is what evil is -- a privation or distortion of the good.

Such that, sex is a good to the extent that it is consistent with love and truth, that also being what sex was made for. Conversely, sex is a moral wrong when it is contrary to love or contrary to truth, as for example, when one no longer sees the other as a person, but instead objectifies the other and sees them as a means for selfish pleasure.

Accordingly, it was after the man and the woman ate the fruit that they no longer looked at each other's nakedness with innocence, but instead began to look with a measure of lustful desire, to see the other as a sex object. And that brought shame to them both, such that they scurried to cover their nakedness.

Sex, per se, still remained (and remains) a moral good inasmuch as it is acted in a manner consistent with the reason it was made by God -- love, that is, a total gift of self, as well as recognizing both the unitive and procreative aspects of human sexuality. But man, by his own free choice of the will, made it possible for sex to be sinful. Man made sex dirty, not God.

Palladian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ralph L said...

I discovered my Saki book recently after missing it about 20 years. "She was a good cook, as cooks go, and as cooks go, she went" is the only quote I can muster. I'm surprised the story about mandatory female suffrage isn't brought up more often. Now if I can find my complete Father Brown and Peter Wimsey stories.

One part of the story usually overlooked is that the first thing Eve does after doing wrong is to get her friend to do likewise. How often do we do that to our so-called friends?

Bender said...

One part of the story usually overlooked is that the first thing Eve does after doing wrong is to get her friend to do likewise. How often do we do that to our so-called friends?

Similarly, another thing often overlooked is that, before that, the man failed to look out for and protect the woman from harm.

By this, I do not mean a sexist comment that women are weak and need the protection of men. Rather, what I mean is that we human beings were all made to watch each other's back, to help one another, and part of what love is involves protecting the ones we love from danger.

But the man, "Adam," made no attempt to warn or stop his beloved. And how often do we also do that to our so-called friends? How often do we just stand by and do nothing as our friends and loved ones get burned and hurt?

Penny said...

Chip just tweeked some wonderful memories.

He's right! Nothing quite like the excitement of the first day of school.

Well, except for the anticipation of the last day of school. But, geez, that seems like a premature topic for a sexagenarian Girl Scout.

MayBee said...

What sort of screwed-up household is this, where there was nothing to read?

If you haven't got a good book, read a bad book. If you haven't got a bad book, read the ingredients on the back of the cereal box. If you haven't got a cereal box, go out into the wild world and forage, because you have no food at home. You might actually find reading matter while you're at it.


OMG.
How presumptuous you are!
Here I am, talking about feeling bored on a random grey Sunday in middle school, and you decide my house had no books and I don't know how to find reading material.

Perhaps a greater sin than being boring is being smug.

Penny said...

Anyway, now that Chip has me thinking...

My first first day of school memory is second grade.

Well not REALLY second grade, because it's really like a first grade, top notch, memory, but, you know, like as a second grader?

Penny said...

Oh come on MayBee, not sure who said that to you, and too lazy to scroll to find out, but you need to buck up girl!

When someone rains on your parade you merely put up your umbrella, and carry on!

Ralph L said...

Nothing quite like the excitement of the first day of school
Surprised I didn't vomit.

Penny said...

Course, maybe you don't have long hair as I do, so?

Get wet!

Do a couple a twirls, and come join me and Chip down memory lane.

Penny said...

And please don't vomit Ralph. Your cat looks hungry, honey.

Besides, I was hoping MayBee would put down her umbrella and have some fun with me and Chip.

Penny said...

Did I mention that I am a sympathetic vomiter, Ralph?

Disgusting, I know. But in first grade, I remember the EXACT seat this poor kid was in, and my relative position to him... when he unloaded.

Ewwwwwww

wyo sis said...

Bender
They couldn't reproduce in their innocence because they didn't know how. I'm not placing a value on sex. God created it and it's a pretty strong drive, so it must be important. Whether it's good or evil depends on how it's used, and God didn't make that information available to Adam and Eve until they ate the fruit.

Penny said...

Course then they called in the maintenance guy to clean it all up, and... WHOA!

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse than that vomit smell, you wished that the kid had a hungry cat.

Quite like your cat, Ralph.

Penny said...

And on that note, I should just take to my bed.

But, I'm not gonna!

Call it spite, stupidity or whatever the heck you feel like calling it, Dante-from-one-thread-up-or-down.

I am certain, TOO. It is my nature.

Penny said...

Some call us the "Predictables".

And I bet your sweet bippy, and raise you... two.

Bender said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bender said...

Sorry, sis, but where do you get that they did not naturally know that Part A went into Part B?

Or that God told them to be fruitful and multiply, but then did not give them the instruction manual until later?

Indeed, the spousal meaning of the human body is quite plain, God reveals the "how" in the nature of the male body and the female body, such that the male is made for physical joinder with the female, i.e. communion, two become one. And, before that, the fact that the man and the woman are made of the "same flesh" is a revelation from God that they are made for joinder

Penny said...

Must admit that gives me pause...

Because of my big mouth, I now need to get half of that TWO from Althouse, the "Predictadorable", who NEVER gives it up!

Penny said...

And the moral of this story?

Never get into a bed, nor a bet with a hot guy named, Dante.

Penny said...

Dante's a "Predictable", too, ya know.

Penny said...

Unless his first name is "Al".

I mean, come on! Does anyone REALLY know Al Dante?

Penny said...

I REFUSE to Google that!

On the grounds that I may be intimidated!

Penny said...

YES!

There's a law against intimidating women!

And as far as I know?

It specifically says I can sue the pants off Mr. Al Dante right after his defense attorney proves me to be a "natural".

Penny said...

Looking forward to that, Mr. Defense Attorney. ;)

Penny said...

No honorable, red blooded male under forty here.

Course if you DO find one?

Some say, zoo?

And that feels about right.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Ahh, there's that boring meme again...and the desire to explain it.

I'm really not interested.

Penny said...

Urban?

Easier to "round up" when you bring 'em to court.

I give two thumbs up on that one.

Course I'll be the bringee, and not the bringer, of all the ills of America this time around.

Just want you to keep that in mind.

I have to assume you have a friend who can make some money parsing these words, getting them into the lexicon... de lingo loco?

Hell! You're gonna have your hands full enough!

Parts there, then not? Parts here, yet sounding there? Screaming "me me" parts, all over the place.

Hell, if I were you? I'd become a politician. Gotta get out from under the law.

I know you need the money, my newest best friend, but isn't it easier, to have some piece of mind and a few hundred thousand votes?

Penny said...

This is America.

Where we eat our own.

MayBee said...

Paddy O-
Thanks! I love it!

Rusty said...

Not to offend,
but I contend
original sin
was not her lust
but her deceit.

MayBee said...

And I'm sorry, I shouldn't have called Michelle Dulak Thomson smug. But by golly, what a leap that was.