I’ve wondered recently whether my biggest vice is the fact I don’t really have one (whether that vice be behaviour or a gripping tool).
There’s a quote attributed to the late George Best:
I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered
Best was married twice, to two former models. He also suffered from alcoholism and his death at the age of 59 was as a result of complications from the immunosuppressive drugs he needed to take after a liver transplant in 2002.
I don’t drink, my car is quick but not silly and, well, women… Yeah, not really. I like coffee to the extent it has, once or twice, affected my sleep. I like pizza and doughnuts and chocolate so much that portion control is an issue. They are weaknesses, most definitely, but not really anything that’s going to get me in trouble.
It’s interesting, then, that the opposite of a vice is a virtue. I’m equally unwilling if not unable to name any of those.
Just as one has heard that there is a fine line between genius and insanity, so too is there a very close link between a vice and a virtue. For example, being self-confident and fearless can be a great thing. But they are also traits that can cause someone to become reckless and impulsive and selfish. Even a trait seen as more acutely virtuous, such as modesty, can be a vice when it turns in to dangerous self-depracation.
It’s an interesting thought that the difference between a vice and virtue is defined by society – what makes a good leader or what makes a bad parent. Yet, especially with virtues, we very rarely stray from those preconceived ideas of how we should be behaving. We don’t really challenge if they are giving us the desired outcome because we concentrate so hard on what society is telling us we should do, rather than what we want to do or what we have to do.
With more than one vice, that could be a good thing though! Maybe I should start drinking and that might help me with women. Definitely not with the driving though.