Recommit to Virtue: Part 6 of 10 – Cleanliness or Lust

Science without humanity is the fifth of Gandhi’s blunders.  We must ask ourselves if all science, and the attending technological advancements, is positive?  Technology without clean, pure purpose leads to inhumanity.  Is the promised utopia helpful, or is production for the masses superior?  Hitler’s scientist performed with great efficiency, but was what they did truly beneficial?  American scientists indirectly killed thousands in Asia in the name of freedom.  Stem-cell research is driving “infant harvesting.”  In these and countless other examples, we wonder, who is considering the influence on humanity?  Who is monitoring the impact on our bodies, our environments, and our minds?  It is not the technology that is negative, but rather it is the lustful use of it that determines its morality.  As life gets faster, bigger, and increasingly more threatening, we must slow down and think about the personal and environmental impact of our scientific and technological breakthroughs.  We must demand order and purpose to ensure that science does not overshadow humanity.

Cleanliness is about planning and order.  A decision is made to sacrifice time and effort to live an organized, orderly life. Without such a decision we allow impulses, desires, and yearnings to control us.  Cleanliness is based upon orderliness leading to planned health and happiness, whereas lust is unmanaged, self-absorbed chaos.  Planning leads to productivity resulting in rewards from others.  Plans begin with setting goals, managing time, and being persistent.  Without such plans we operate in a self-absorbed vacuum driven solely by personal gratification where there is no need for acceptance, accomplishment, achievement, or productivity.  Cleanliness is related to personal health and hygiene, individual living environment, and private moral refinement.  Without order in any of these areas, there is physical and emotional pandemonium.  Without order, disease and desire are left to spread like an epidemic. Self-indulgent devotion to personal gratification, lust, and yearning places everything and everyone else as secondary.  Lustful earthly passions, unrestrained impulses dominate our thoughts to the point of obsession, opening the door to addiction.

The familiar Christian proverb, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness,” has never been more applicable in today’s fast-paced, multifaceted, uncertain world.  It is interesting to note that other world faiths and prominent figures also promote the necessity of cleanliness for overall well-being.  Sri Sathya Sai Baba, a spiritual leader from India, noted that “a person might be an expert in any field of knowledge or a master of many material skills and accomplishments, but without inner cleanliness his brain is a desert waste.”  Krishna, the deity worshipped across many traditions in Hinduism, insists on outer cleanliness and inner cleansing.  Gandhi believed that “conversion without cleanliness of heart can only be a matter of sorrow, not joy, to a godly person.”  From the Koran, the central religious text of Islam, it states, “God loveth the clean.”  The 19th century German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche noted that “what separates two people most profoundly is a different sense and degree of cleanliness.”

Originally posted on October 7, 2011 on