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The old, historical literature/scriptures describe seven deadly sins, or vices – lust, gluttony, greed, wrath, sloth, envy, and pride. All human beings suffer from any number of these sins, unless they sublime and reach a stage where they can consciously shed off or avoid these vices.

Lust was probably not the first to unravel itself. Adam and Eve tasted it after eating the fruit of the proverbial tree, whether it was apple or wheat. Even before that, Satan suffered from pride and envy. Both parties were penalized.

The point to ponder here is that COVID pandemic brought to fore these vices with force and aggression. For example, working couples were living a busy life before pandemic. They got to spend some time together only on the weekends. Come pandemic, and they had all the time at their hands. In addition, they were stuck together in limited space for prolonged period. Fantasies might have run wild, but soon financial and other worries would have taken over.

About gluttony. The waistline of many people expanded during pandemic. According to one American study, people’s weight steadily increased by about 0.7 kg per month. In Pakistan, we do not have stats as usual, but the observation showed two new patterns. Home delivery of all kinds of food increased exponentially during COVID lockdown. Secondly, the consumption of food went round the clock because the schedule of time associated with regular working was lost. The food delivery boys ran 24 hours. Both trends continue. Weight increase would be more significant here and in other countries like us.

About greed. Greed for money was also heightened during pandemic. People made excessive money at the expense of those in need. Masks and sanitizers were sold at exorbitant profit. In fact, the quality kept going down and the prices kept going up. Pulse oximeter cost went as high as 12,000 rupees, up from usual price of 2,000. Injection of tocilizumab was sold for as high as 400,000 rupees against the regular price of 16,000. No one considered that we were all in the middle of a pandemic and suffering. For us in Pakistan, it is extremely shameful because we claim to be Muslims and Islam forbids such activities.

About wrath. There were widespread reports of domestic abuse and violence, against women of course. Uncertainty about future, financial worries and other issues caused frustration which was let out in the form of violent aggression, both verbal and physical.

About sloth/laziness/listlessness. Work was stopped forcefully. While the developed countries rapidly shifted to remote working, we were not geared for it and remained workless for long period. The worst hit were students who did not go to their schools/ colleges, did not take online classes, and were promoted to next grade without exam. Their entire pattern of study has changed. Similarly, work habits of certain other groups have also changed. People in developed countries have refused to come back to offices and it is being repeatedly proposed that the future of work will always be hybrid.

About Envy and Pride. Various forms of Pride-Envy were seen during pandemic. Wealthier people suffered the envy of less resourceful ones. Those who made lot of money because pandemic opened new opportunities for businesses, felt proud about their skill and sharpness. They suffered the envy of those who lost their business and earning due to pandemic. Both vices became more pronounced and more visible due to pandemic and continue.

The seven deadly, yet essential sins will always be part of our lives. All of us exhibit these vices at various times and in several ways. Our challenge will be, however, to exert a degree of control over theses so-called vices. If not, as the pandemic has shown dramatically, the results can be disastrous.


Disclaimer. Most pictures in these blogs are taken from Google Images which does not show anyone’s copyright claim. However, if any such claim is presented, we shall remove the image with suitable regrets.

Acknowledgement. This blog is adapted from a wonderful article by Manfred F. R. Kets De Vries, Distinguished Professor of Leadership Development and Organizational Change. Link to the article appears below.

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