The animal kingdom is a den of vice : Actor, screenwriter and director Richard E Grant brings a calibre of prestige to this exploration of the seven deadly sins as seen through the perspective of the animal kingdom. For humans envy, lust, wrath, sloth, greed, pride and gluttony are sins associated with shameful behaviour. But in the animal kingdom they are simply survival mechanisms. Richard navigates the dark recesses of the human psyche, as he explores how our human foibles have developed from the evolutionary origins of the seven deadly sins. Cutting between human behaviour and animals in the wild he discovers that the similarities between man and beast are unnerving. With the help of internationally recognised experts we discover the reasons why each animal sins and learn why such behaviour is also part of our DNA.
Wrath is one hell of a sin. Excessive and extreme anger, rage, leading ultimately to revenge. When we lose control wrathful aggression is unequal to its cause.
Lust – the intense, out-of-control craving … for sex! It sets our brains buzzing and our bodies on fire. Animals feel lust too – otherwise species would die out. Nature has programmed us for reproduction, sometimes in extreme ways.
Sloth is laziness. Damned by the church, it stops us praying and working, and can lead to depression. But how can animals be lazy when nature is so fiercely competitive? Could doing nothing be adaptive?
Medieval church leaders called Gluttony eating too much, too quickly, or too wildly. In the natural world, over eons of evolution, the desire for food has been a necessary primal instinct.
This is the only sin that is never any fun. So why do we envy? Can its roots be found in evolution? And is there ever anything good about this sin? The answers might be found in the animal kingdom. Envy and jealousy are evolutionary responses that help us identify and correct unequal situations.
Pope Gregory I, who tallied the modern Seven Deadly Sins, described pride as “the beginning of all sin.” It was pride that led to Angel Lucifer’s fall from grace, the creation of the devil, and hell itself But is pride something rooted in our evolutionary past?
Medieval Christians thought it was a sin to take too much of anything – If you take too much, your neighbour is left with too little. Yet, the survival instinct to gather necessities goes back millions of years. Could humans, just like other animals, have adapted to survive…by being greedy?