Malvy - the 8th Deadly Sin

When it came time for me to go into the fourth grade my parents faced a dilemma. Since I was kicked out of the school in the district in which I lived, I was unable to attend any other public school even though it might have been only a few blocks away. The choice was: send me to a private school out of town or to Mount Carmel, a Polish Catholic school only 4 blocks away.

First let me explain how a nice atheist Jew like myself was able to go to Catholic school: World War Two was still in progress when I was born in Uzbekistan in 1945 and my father, in order to prevent my early demise, had me baptized just in case the Nazis made it to Tashkent, at that time filled with tens of thousands of Jews and, as my father used to say, one of the most beautiful cities in Middle Asia.

So, since I was baptized, there was no problem going to Mount Carmel. It didn't bother my father, a former Hasidic Jew, since he knew I was completely incorrigible and inconvertible: there wasn't the slightest likelihood that anyone could convert me to any religion. And so I went into the fourth grade into Sister Melody's class. I remember the first week when Sister told me that I had to register for Catechism classes on Sunday as well as show up for mass. I brought up the point that I was Jewish and so perhaps was exempt from those two activities. Eh, she didn't buy it.

the joker
The Joker
Flickr User: Dark Circus.

The Deadly Sins

And so in Catechism class I learned that there were two kinds of sin, venial and mortal. The venial sins aren't important for this discussion. What I want to talk about is the Eighth Deadly Sin, Malvy. Everyone has heard of the first seven: Luxuria (extravagance, later lust), Gula (gluttony), Avaritia (avarice/greed), Acedia (sloth), Ira (wrath), Invidia (envy), and Superbia (pride/hubris). But for the past few thousand years no one had enough material goods to exercise the sin of Malvy.

We all know that the sin of Envy is when a person desires something that someone else has which they perceive themselves as lacking. So it was understandable that in the past it was easy to envy the wealth, status or happiness of someone else when you yourself were living miserably in a hovel hungry and poor.

The sin of Malvy is when a person has something of value to another person but himself doesn't need it, desire it, and would not miss it if it were gone, yet receives great pleasure in denying it to others out of spite.

Let me explain:

Jane is divorcing Harry. During the happy years of their marriage Harry built up a beautiful collection of model cars that he spent many hours assembling, painting and caring over. After many years their relationship not only soured but became rancorous. Now during the divorce proceedings, Jane insists that she get half of the model collection despite the fact that she doesn't want, desire, need or have use for it. She is gluttonous for something she doesn't desire because of her wrath toward her husband. She is envious that he may be happy without her and which hurts her pride, and so simply from spite demands that which has no value to her - only to others. This is the sin of Malvy. That it is composed of many of the other sins at one time attests to its power and malevolence.

The closest other word to the concept of Malvy is the German word schadenfreude, "malicious joy in the misfortunate of others." Malvy is schadenfreude if you are the one who caused the misfortune.

Malvy is also responsible for much of road rage we see today. Joe is driving in the left lane. A car behind him honks letting him know he is in the passing lane. Joe does not need to be in that lane, is not in a hurry but not only stays there, he may even slow down a bit or hit his break lights out of malvy. And if he should notice someone trying to pass him in the right, Joe will speed up, not because he needs to be anywhere in a hurry but simply to own that lane of traffic and deny it to someone else even at the peril of self-destruction. Of course, wrath and pride are strong components of road rage malvy.

And in its most vile form Malvy rears its ugly head when leftists wish for the failure of our fight on the war on terror simply to spite our current President, even at the peril of destroying our country.

I am sure that now that I have described this most evil of sins, you, my dear reader, will be able to give a name to behavior that formerly was simply incomprehensible.

[To find more words I made up click here]

### End of my article ###

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