We all aspire to happiness, yet we take different paths to achieve it and sometimes we come to a dead end without being able to even touch that treasure we cherish. If we assume that happiness is a consequence of a life spent cultivating virtue, it would be equally necessary to reflect on vice in order to avoid it. Of course, not everyone agrees with this definition of happiness, but it is necessary to establish a postulate in order to be able to reflect on this idea of happiness.
Vice consists in harming oneself or others
The word vice comes from the Latin “vitium” meaning “defect”, “imperfection”, “tare”. Vice consists in deviating from our perfection, i.e. in inserting division and disorder into our thoughts, words or actions. Vice leads us away from our human ideal, from our natural nobility, from our potential for moral beauty. Vice is an invitation to corrupt our divine essence to distract us from our greatness. Whether we do wrong in silence or in the open, vice permeates our being and makes us less “bright”. It contaminates our aura and creates a discord that can be akin to malaise.
The different forms of vice
The search for pleasure without conscience
Rabelais said: “Science without conscience is the ruin of man”. He could have changed the word “science” to “pleasure”. One thing is certain: pleasure today has a mercantile dimension that makes us forget the moral dimension that it should also defend. If, of course, Christian societies have long associated pleasure with a form of guilt without necessarily always showing nuance, the secularisation of modern societies makes pleasure less and less subject to criticism. The prevailing hedonism has difficulty in always discerning virtuous pleasure from that which is closer to vice.
To put it simply, pleasure in which only the animal dimension is expressed should be outlawed. Rather than elevating us, it debases us. To combat this pitfall, we must somehow be able to show restraint and measure in the acts that seem to serve our physiological dimension, which is so necessary, first and foremost food.
How can we reintroduce beauty into our relationship with pleasure?
For there to be nobility in pleasure, there must be a form of deprivation, sacrifice, measure, in short, it is to act with restraint and a cool head. In practical terms, this means putting your heart into what you do and never losing sight of the fact that we are divine beings and that our actions should reflect this awareness. If you act in such a way that your actions are consecrated and solemn and you do not let your egoism get the better of you, then you are approaching an attitude free of vice.
Greed desecrates human relationships because everything is seen in terms of profit. When people seek gain at all costs, moral considerations are often put aside. There is nothing wrong with wanting to earn a living, but the problem arises when ethics take a back seat.
The desire to get rich at any cost leads us to see the world in a transactional way, from the perspective of loss and profit. In doing so, we forget our honourable dimension. We neglect our divine part because we give more importance to the material.
“Losing our soul
The soul is our most subtle dimension. A soul, in order to blossom, needs to be incarnated in a body that sanctifies its actions or at least gives importance to the sacred. By neglecting the sacred, the noble or the divine, the soul feels uncomfortable and leaves the body of the one who possessed it, so to speak. “Losing one’s soul” is probably a literal expression: when you act too immorally, your soul can no longer bear it and it “leaves you”. This is why it is not uncommon to see that those who give too much importance to money or even live only for money will tend to behave like automatons. Their behaviour is predictable, they are driven exclusively by the search for an advantage or profit. It is therefore not strange to think that we are dealing with robots.
Pursue your own happiness in a divine way and others will be grateful
People often harm others because they are not happy. Harming others is a way for them to get some form of satisfaction, to get energy, the same energy they are unable to get elsewhere in a healthy way. This is a pernicious way of doing things and there is a more sustainable way, which is to connect to the “source”, to the universe.
Unknowingly, those who perpetuate evil are ignorant of the good and have never been able to make a lasting connection to the heavenly energy. This inability is frequently associated with a form of laziness: acedia, or spiritual laziness. To be able to act in a benevolent way with the world around us, one must seek one’s own happiness in a healthy way. Once done, you will act like the flame of a candle, you could illuminate with your light and warm with the emanations of your glow.
Try to spread light and warmth rather than being aware of its toxicity
When you are unable to reconnect to your source, to find serenity, you may consider that you are a little toxic to others, either by the sadness, apathy or aggressiveness that you may give off. No one is perfect, we are all toxic in one way or another to someone “higher” than us. Don’t whine, rather than thinking you are toxic and feeling guilty, try to spread the love you have by sincerely trying to do good for others. By doing so you will start a virtuous circle that will be beneficial to your change.