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cyberboy79 (cyberboy79) wrote,
@ 2007-07-10 10:44:00
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    Pride
    You're less sinful than the average person. Still, everyone has their weaknesses, and the sin you're most guilty of is

    Pride


    In this context, Pride is defined by an exaggeration of your worth and power in an attempt to feel superior to others. Pride can lead you down the wrong path when you feel like you have to be the best at everything. This kind of compulsion to achieve can get in the way of your ability to connect respectfully and equally with others.


    Historically, Pride has been seen as the worst of all the deadly sins, as it is believed to lead to all other sins and to recklessly cruel behavior. In a religious context, Pride was originally cast as the human attempt at godliness. People were supposed to be humbled by their mortality: But being prideful was seen as the ultimate denial that humanity was at the mercy of God.


    Modern-day psychology, though, also recognizes the benefit of possessing a certain degree of Pride. In this light, Pride in this regard, is akin to self-respect. Taking Pride in a job well-done and a life well-lived is generally considered to be healthy. This view of Pride evolved, in part, due to the cultural shift in the Western world from being purely God-centered to being more focused on individual achievement and actualization.


    Contemporary theologians continue to debate these multifaceted opinions about Pride, its merits and pitfalls. And even today, many people feel personally conflicted about how much Pride is a good thing. This conflict is largely because modern popular thought still tends to see arrogance and boastfulness as negative components of pride. And because of this many people teeter between wanting to bolster their self-esteem through Pride while still remaining modest.


    Despite all of these philosophical ambiguities, though, your particularly high score on Pride indicates that you may be falling into the trap of believing (whether you recognize it or not) you're invincible and unequaled in talent. If you aren't careful, your drive to excel at all costs may ultimately be your downfall, possibly leading to mental anguish and isolation. Beware of prioritizing your achievements and talents above all else. And especially be wary of using them as a way to feel separate from, and superior to, others.


    Excessive pride can actually be a detriment both to your self-esteem and to your relationships. If your pride drives you to treat loved ones or subordinates poorly, this can chip away at your connections — connections you ultimately need and want, and undermine your humanity. And if your expectations of yourself are so unrealistically high that you're never pleased with yourself or others (you're only human, after all), you will likely find yourself chronically dissatisfied with life. The Pride section of "The Seven Deadly Sins and You" reveals which Antidote you can use to help yourself achieve a healthier, more satisfying balance to this aspect of your life.









      The 7 Deadly Sins and You

      While your deadliest sin is certainly the one to address first, you're not completely off the hook for the remaining six sins. In this section, you'll find out how you scored on each sin, discover how these sins have been viewed throughout the centuries, and find out which virtues you can cultivate to temper your historically "sinful" ways.




      Pride


      Pride is the exaggeration of your worth and power in an attempt to feel superior to others. It causes you to feel like you have to be the best at everything, which can get in the way of your ability to connect respectfully and equally with others.


      The sin of Pride has been condemned in various cultures throughout history. For example:

      • In Native American spirituality, it is believed that perfection, or the attempt to achieve it, angers the gods. Thus, when beading or weaving, some tribes make sure to introduce a tiny error into their crafts as a sign that they understand they are mere humans.

      • In ancient Greek mythology, Daedalus fashions a pair of wings with wax in order to allow himself and his son Icarus to escape imprisonment. But when Icarus tries to fly too high, forgetting that he is a mere mortal, the sun melts the wax and he plummets into the sea.

      • In the Biblical story of Adam and Eve, the pair eats from the Tree of Knowledge in an attempt to be more like God. Their punishment for their prideful act is a life of toil.








      You scored 7 on the deadly sin of Pride. This means you're

      more tempted by this sin than the majority of other test takers. Your relatively high score indicates that you feel a strong pull toward this deadly sin, and that it can sometimes get the best of you. Your higher score on Pride indicates that you may be falling into the trap of believing you're invincible and unequaled in talent, and this can lead to trouble. In order to keep your temptation in check, you may want to balance Pride with its antidote: Humility.








      Humility as the Antidote to Pride


      Because it's often difficult to spot your own arrogance, even if others are trying to point it out, it can be especially helpful to be proactive in addressing your Pride. Sometimes the universe takes care of this for you, by subjecting you to a humbling experience — such as loss, illness, or pain — in order to remind you of your mortality.


      Still, traditional religious thought has always advocated fostering a certain degree of humility. While humility has been underrated by modern thought, equated with low self-esteem or feelings of inferiority, being humble does not necessarily have to take on these negative connotations. Here are some ways you can foster healthy humility:


      • Try not to do things solely to be recognized for your achievement. Instead, do what reaps the best outcome for yourself and others, and what brings you actual pleasure and fulfillment.

      • Don't let praise or criticism rule your actions. Instead, make choices based on what's kind to yourself and others.

      • Resist feeling superior or inferior based on physical appearance or ability, wealth, or intelligence, because this requires you to put undue importance on attributes that are fragile at best and deceptive at worst.

      • Don't deny your faults or rationalize your mistakes. Recognizing your moments of selfishness, deceptiveness, or cruelty is the only way you can change your future behavior.










      Greed

      Greed is the drive to accumulate wealth and to live a life of excess. It causes you to prioritize worldly possessions above all else and allow the pursuit of money to overshadow your personal relationships.


      The sin of Greed has been denounced throughout history. For example:

      • In the Greek myth of King Midas, the king asks the god Dionysus to make everything Midas touched turn to gold. When this "gift" was bestowed upon the king, he ended up turning his wife and children into beautiful, but unsatisfying, statues of solid gold. He had all the wealth he could ever want, but nothing more. He soon asked to be released from this curse.

      • In the New Testament, Jesus says "a rich man will find it hard to enter the kingdom of Heaven" (Matthew 19:24), because, "No servant can be the slave of two masters; for either he will hate the first and love the second, or he will be devoted to the first and think nothing of the second. You cannot serve God and Money" (Luke 16:13).

      • Aristotle philosophized on the virtue of having the right attitude toward money, which he called "liberality." He espoused the value of using money wisely, and unbegrudgingly giving it to the right people in the right amounts (he believed that the right amount relates to the proportion of the giver's resources). He believed in striking a balance with money, never squandering it self-indulgently, nor hoarding it, nor gaining it through unjust means.









      You scored 5 on the deadly sin of Greed, which indicates that


      less enticed by this sin than most test takers. Your lower score is a sign that Greed rarely overpowers your more altruistic impulses. Because you don't value wealth and luxury above all else, it's unlikely that the pursuit of money is diminishing your satisfaction in your current life, as it does for so many. In order to continue avoiding excess Greed, you may want to keep in mind its antidote: Generosity.






      Generosity as the Antidote to Greed


      Excessive Greed can negatively impact you, but it also hurts others. If you hoard more than your fair share of the world's finite resources, you are necessarily causing someone else to experience poverty or lack. The Tickle Research Group found that people who score highly on Greed tend to admit to having low levels of generosity, which has been traditionally thought of as the antidote to Greed. Thus, cultivating a generous attitude and sharing your good fortunes with those less fortunate can both help others and remind you that you are interconnected to the well-being of your fellow humans.



      Here are some ways you can develop a healthy level of Generosity:

      • Give a percentage of your income to charitable organizations and causes that help those in need. Biblical tradition recommends 10 percent.

      • When determining how much of your life you'll dedicate to work and the pursuit of additional wealth, remember to balance these elements of life with time for loved ones and spiritual reflection or self-actualization.

      • Approach your finances with integrity, investing in a socially responsible manner and earning your income in moral ways that enhance the lives of others











      Lust

      Lust is the unrestrained, insatiable expression of sexual desire, fantasy, and conquest. In the extreme, it can cause you to think about or pursue sex so much that your work life, you relationships, and your self-actualization suffer.


      Lust is a sin that has been advised against throughout time. For example:

      • On the topic of sensual and sexual pleasure, Aristotle saw unchecked lust as reprehensible. He believed that the person overrun with lust is easily distressed by the absence of sex and will choose sexual pleasure above all else. He likened this behavior to that of a spoiled child's, and prescribes the lustful person to temper their lust with reason.

      • In the Hebrew Bible tells the story of King David's children, Tamar and her half-brother Amnon. In the story, Amnon is obsessed with his desire for Tamar. He pretends to be ill, and asks that she be the one to bring him his meals. When she comes to his room, he makes sexual advances toward his sister. When rebuked on the basis of immorality, he overpowers her and rapes her, and then, afterward, throws her out on the streets. Two years later, their brother Absalom arranges to have Amnon murdered in retribution for his violent, lustful act.

      • One Jewish legend tells the story of a saintly rabbi, Matya ben Heresh, who is tempted by Satan by a beautiful woman who appears everywhere he turns. The rabbi, in a desperate attempt to avoid giving into his lust and displeasuring God, puts out both of his eyes with fiery nails. Satan withdrew, overwhelmed by the rabbi's piety, and God healed the rabbi's wounds.









      You scored 5 on the deadly sin of Lust, which indicates that


      this sin tempts you less than it does the average test taker. Your low score demonstrates that you likely have the ability to use reason and good judgment in your sex life. You've probably achieved a reasonable balance between sexual expression and connecting nonsexually with others. If ever you feel the temptation of unwise Lust, though, you may want to consider applying the antidote to Lust: Temperance.






      Temperance is the Antidote to Lust


      Temperance, self-control, discretion, and caution are all useful methods of keeping lust in check and making sure your expression of sexual desire is healthy and ethical. The Tickle Research Group found that people who score highly on Lust tend to admit to having low levels of sexual caution. Historically, chastity is viewed as the antidote to Lust. While modern approaches to physical pleasure are generally more liberal, applying self-control around sex is one way to keep your lust in check.


      Following are three things you can do to achieve sexual temperance:

      • Avoid situations that will tempt you. If you're in a monogamous relationship and you develop feelings for someone else, do whatever you can to avoid that person and tend to your relationship. If you wish to abstain from having impulsive sex with strangers and you know this is going to be difficult, put things in the way of this behavior. Set rules for yourself, try not to drink excessively when going out to meet new people, and bring a reliable friend who will reinforce your wishes in moments of weakness.


      • Seek positive and legitimate ways to satisfy your desires, within the context of your own moral guidelines. Most modern psychologists are advocates of masturbation (unless it's an addictive behavior), fantasizing, and having sex with a consenting partner. While traditionally these are seen as lustful sins, the contemporary view is that these acts are not unethical, and they can help prevent sexual violence such as rape, adultery, and incest.

      • Use your reasoning ability to consider if your sexual actions are ethical. Morally, it is inappropriate to cheat on your committed partner, lie to get someone to sleep with you, force yourself on anyone, or engage in any non-consensual sex act that physically or emotionally harms yourself or others.










      Envy

      Envy is the obsession with the good fortune of others in comparison to your own life. It is commonly experienced as a feeling of anguish when others have a higher social status, greater wealth, more power or success, or superior talent or physical beauty — and this emotion starts to dominate your existence.



      Envy is a sin that has been warned against throughout human history. For example:

      • In Jewish and Christian theology, it is told that Satan himself was first one of God's angels, but he envies God's power and thus leads a rebellion to overthrow him. When Satan is unsuccessful, he is cast from heaven into hell. Satan's distorted sense of self-worth leads him to foolish action, which causes him to be cast into perpetual anguish and sorrow.

      • In the Old Testament, the ultimate dangers of envy are portrayed in the story of Cain and Abel, Adam and Eve's sons. Cain brings God an offering of some of the fruit he has harvested, but Abel gives God the choicest cuts of meat from the animals he's raised. God is more pleased by the offerings of Abel than of Cain, because Abel gave God the best of what he had, but Cain did not. Cain envies Abel his good fortune and his approval from God, and thus Cain kills his brother in the field. It was within Cain's power to improve his own status, but he chooses instead to envy Abel and murder him to prevent him from enjoying what he has.

      • In William Shakespeare's play Othello, the character of Iago envies Othello's power and success, and covets his beautiful and adoring wife, Desdemona. He's particularly indignant of Othello's success because Othello is a black Moor, who Iago deems unworthy of a white, Christian wife. Iago schemes to convince Othello that Desdemona is unfaithful to him, setting off a tragic chain of events that leads to Othello murdering his loving and innocent wife, and then instantly regretting his actions. While Iago's actions don't get him any more of the success and love that he so envied, Iago is still pleased that Othello will no longer have what he can't.








      You scored 5 on the deadly sin of Envy, which indicates that

      you feel more tempted by this sin than the average test taker. Your higher score means that you may be focusing too much on what others have, and at the same time too much on what you don't have. If you find that your envy is taking the pleasure out of life and getting in the way of connecting in a friendly and open way toward those in your life, you may want to consider fostering the antidote to Gluttony: Gratitude.







      Gratitude as an Antidote to Envy


      Being grateful for what we have in life and appreciating the kindnesses of others are crucial combatants of rampant Envy. The Tickle Research Group found that people who score highly on Envy tend to admit to having low levels of Gratitude. Following are three ways to help develop a healthy, gracious attitude toward life:

      • Count your blessings. Focus on all of the things you do have going for you in life. Make a list of everything you have that you enjoy — particular relationships, talents, wealth, health, etc. When doing this, it can be helpful to focus first on the basics that many people around the world don't have: I have access to clean drinking water, I have enough food to eat, I have a shelter over my head, I have people in my life who care deeply about me, etc.

      • Delight in the success of others, rather than envying them. Congratulate them, and don't compare their lives to your own. When you feel happy for the success of others, you generate positive energy around yourself and build stronger connections with those around you. Both of these things are more likely to get you to where you want to be that negative feelings and resentments.

      • Consider those who are even less fortunate than you instead of those who are more fortunate. Be careful not to delight in the misfortune of others when doing this, but instead have compassion for them, and perhaps try to help them, while at the same time allowing them to remind you of how very fortunate you are.











      Wrath

      Wrath is the inability to control your temper and the destructive expression of your anger toward others. At its worst, a tendency toward excessive Wrath can lead you to get angry quickly and easily, causing difficulty in refraining verbal attacking or physical abusing the object of your rage.


      The sin of Wrath has been warned against throughout time. For example:

      • In Homer's epic poem The Iliad, Achilles' rage is a central theme. He is by far the greatest warrior in the Trojan War, able to fight back full armies single-handedly. Yet when he feels his honor has been insulted, he refuses to fight, leading to the deaths of many of his fellow soldiers. His rage leads to profound grief, and eventually to recognition of the carnage that resulted from his Pride and resulting Wrath.

      • In the Hebrew Bible, Moses led the Israeli slaves to freedom. When they complained of hunger and thirst and exhaustion from wandering in the wilderness for so long, he lost his temper with them. Because of his Wrathful response, God denied access to the Promised Land.

      • Jesus preached that you should "Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44). Even while Jesus himself was being executed, he prayed for the forgiveness of those responsible for his death.









      You scored 3 on the deadly sin of Wrath, which indicates that


      this sin is less of a problem for you than it is for the average test taker. Your low score demonstrates that Wrath is generally not negatively impacting your emotional state or your relationship with others. If at times, though, you find that your anger is creeping up in intensity, you may want to consider applying the antidote to Wrath: Forgiveness.






      Forgiveness as an Antidote to Wrath


      When you are in the grips of anger, it can be difficult to have perspective on a situation, and this allows the people involved to control your emotional state and responses. While forgiveness can seem to some like a relinquishing of control, in actuality it can allow you to release resentments and free yourself from chronic negative feelings, which can in turn refresh your outlook on life and allow you to focus your energies on something other than anger and resentment. The Tickle Research Group found that people who score highly on Wrath tend to admit to having low levels of Forgiveness. Following are three things you can do to achieve greater forgiveness:


      • Consider people's intentions. If someone accidentally hurts your feelings, damages your property, or gets in between you and something you want in life, take some time to consider their motivations. If you trust that they can be self-aware and truthful, ask them directly what their intentions are. Sometimes a miscommunication (or a lack of communication altogether) can lead to anger that needlessly builds and festers over time

      • Be quick to forgive small transgressions. If someone cuts you off in traffic, snaps at you at the end of a long hard day, or does something else that leads to minimal damage, try not to hold on to your anger. It only hurts you, and if it becomes a matter of habit to get angry easily, you will find yourself spending all of your energy feeling wrathful instead of joyous and content.

      • Try to address long-standing anger. Write a letter to the person your angry at, explaining everything that happened (from the limitations of your perspective). Explain why you felt the way you did, and how it's impacted your life since. Then try to muster genuine compassion for what that other person may have been going through at the time, and write out of a place of loving, divine forgiveness. Whether you decide to send the letter or simply release your feelings, your forgiveness can allow you to let go and move forward










      Gluttony

      Gluttony is the inability to control how much food and drink you indulge in on a regular basis. It is commonly associated with eating until you're stuffed, uncomfortable, nauseated, or unhealthily unfit or obese.



      Gluttony is a sin that has been condemned throughout the ages. For example:

      • Plato espoused the idea that the desire from physical pleasure is animalistic behavior, beneath humans, who were created in God's image. He encouraged his readers to let go of bodily pleasures and pursuits and instead focus on feeding the soul.

      • In his epic poem, The Faerie Queene, Edmund Spenser depicted each of the seven deadly sins. He personified Gluttony as "loathsome" and as a "deformed creature." He criticizes Gluttony for eating more than his fair share of food, when poor people go without. In Spencer's uncompromising critique, Gluttony vomits for the sheer excess, but eats and drinks still, looking "more like a monster than a man."

      • In the Purgatory section of Dante's The Divine Comedy, gluttons are surrounded by fresh water and bounteous fruit trees, which they must look at but cannot consume. This deprivation is meant to cause sinners to redirect their love away from sensual pursuits and back to spiritual ones.








      You scored 3 on the deadly sin of Gluttony, which means that


      you feel less of an allure toward this sin than the average test taker does. Your lower score is a sign that overindulging is likely a rare or nonexistent occurrence for you, rather than an unhealthy habit. Still, some people find certain times of the year — such as the winter holidays or special occasions — a particularly difficult time to avoid gluttonous behavior. If you ever feel tempted to overeat or drink excessively, you may want to consider applying the antidote to Gluttony: Restraint.







      Restraint as an Antidote to Gluttony


      Restraint, moderation, self-control. These are the qualities that best help to curb chronic overeating or other unhealthy relationships to food and drink. The Tickle Research Group found that people who score highly on Gluttony tend to admit to having low levels of self-control. Following are three ways to help develop a healthy balance between good health and healthy pleasure from food and drink:

      • Try to avoid needless temptation. Turn the channel or mute the TV or radio during commercials to avoid excess images of food. Try not to read food magazines or cookbooks solely for diversion or entertainment. Don't go to the grocery store when you're hungry and likely to buy more than you need.

      • Only eat when you're actually hungry, and when you start to feel the slightest bit full, stop. Overeating leads to health problems, digestive problems, and general sluggishness. You can always eat more if you get hungry later.

      • When consuming alcohol, try to avoid drinking so much that you're "wasted," which can lead to weight gain, liver failure, alcoholism, and a barrage of other health problems. Try never to drink to the point that you're physically ill. Limiting the number of drinks you have and how often you drink can give you the space to enjoy drinking without it becoming gluttonous.











      Sloth

      Sloth is the resounding lack of motivation that leads to procrastination, irresponsibility, and disengagement from life. It manifests as a lack of goals or direction in life, and the inability to pursue the things you want, as well as things that can enhance the greater good of the world.


      Sloth is a sin that has been warned against throughout time. For example:

      • In Dante's epic poem The Divine Comedy, the 13th century poet described sloth as the "failure to love God with all one's heart, all one's mind, and all one's soul." He described this love of the flesh over the spirit as being lazy, cowardly, complacent, irresponsible, and unimaginative.

      • In the Talmud, the holy book of ancient laws and traditions that are the foundation for Orthodox Judaism, one's good intentions and efforts are supremely valued. While the slothful person can sometimes feel like there's so much wrong with the world that their efforts can't hope to make a difference, Jewish teachings put forth the belief that helping one person is the same as helping the entire world. In this light, neglecting the needs of someone or actively hurting them can be seen as neglecting or hurting the entire world.

      • Viktor Frankl, Holocaust survivor and the influential psychologist, identified the search for meaning as the primary motivation of human life. He claimed that we must see our lives as having meaning and direction in order to find happiness. He believed that being in mutually loving relationships, alleviating the suffering of others, and finding meaning in our actions and in life's tragedies are primary ways to achieve a fulfilling life.









      You scored 3 on the deadly sin of Sloth, which is a sign that


      you possess more life inertia than the average test taker. Your low score on Sloth suggests you've managed to find some meaning and keep active in your life. There might still be short periods in your life, though, when it feels harder to focus or get started. If ever this is the case, try taking steps toward Sloth's antidote: Enthusiasm.






      Enthusiasm as the Antidote to Sloth


      Neglecting to make good use of your body, your mind, and your spirit is the highway to Sloth. The Tickle Research Group found that people who score highly on Sloth tend to admit to having low levels of enthusiasm; enthusiasm is perhaps the most rewarding route to diligence, which is historically viewed as the antidote to Sloth. Thus, fostering enthusiasm and a positive attitude can help get you off the couch and back into the thrust of life.



      Here are some ways you can develop a healthy level of enthusiasm:

      • Fake it 'till you make it. Some studies have shown that simulating a behavior can help engrain that behavior into a person's personality and tendencies. In this light, laziness begets laziness, but behaving as if you are excited by life can help you actually feel excited by life. For the next week, try taking thoughtful but immediate action on anything that comes up, instead of sitting on things and letting them resolve themselves — for better of for worse.

      • Volunteer your time to help those less fortunate than you. Doing good for others and coming into contact with people who are overcoming great obstacles can help give you perspective and inspire you to do the same in your own life.

      • Be proactive. Make a list of five things you'd like to do in your lifetime, pick the one that seems the most exciting to you, and take one step a week toward that goal. Pick something that seems fun, even if it's something you never think you could really do. Think big, but start small. If you've always wanted to climb Mt. Everest, start by walking every day — to work, to the store, around the block.


















        Legendary Punishment for the 7 Deadly Sins

        Religious thought has it that in ancient times, each of the seven deadly sins was thought to have a specific, corresponding punishment in Hell. They are as follows:



        The prideful person was broken on the wheel.


        The greedy person was soaked in boiling oil.


        The slothful person was thrown into a pit of snakes.


        The lustful person was smothered in fire and brimstone.



        The wrathful person was dismembered alive.


        The gluttonous person was force-fed rats, toads, and snakes.


        The envious person was put in freezing water.


        The antidotes above provide you with a good alternative to these punishments. So use this modern take on an age-old approach not to think of yourself as particularly sinful, but to really reflect on how you can better your life and become happier.









          History Behind the Test

          In the 6th century, Pope Gregory the Great was the first to describe the seven deadly sins. He ranked them as follows (from the most serious to the least): pride, envy, wrath, sloth, greed, gluttony, and, finally, lust. While later theologians balked at the idea of ranking sins in this way, Pope Gregory determined the position of each sin based on how much of an obstacle it poses to love.


          Tickle conducted its own study of the seven deadly sins and their antidotes by administering a survey taken by over 1500 people. Through a statistical data analysis, Tickle created 7 dimensions that captured the essence of each sin and compared these dimensions with an individual's self-reported levels of each sin and its corresponding virtue. The results of this study, paired with religious historical approaches and contemporary psychological viewpoints on the subject, are the basis for this report.









            For Further Reading

            Fairlie, Henry. The Seven Deadly Sins Today. (University of Notre Dame Press), 1979.


            Lehner, Ernst, and Lehner, Johanna. Picture Book of Devils, Demons, and Witchcraft. (Dover Publications), 1972.



            Oosterhuis, Huub. The Workbook on the Seven Deadly Sins. (Upper Room Books), 1995.


            Panati, Charles. The Sacred Origins of Profound Things. (Penguin), 1986.


            Schimmel, Solomon. The Seven Deadly Sins: Jewish, Christian, and Classical Reflections on Human Psychology. (Oxford University Press), 1997.


            Stalker, James. The Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Cardinal Virtues. Navpress Publishing Group), 1998.



            Wilson, Angus. The Seven Deadly Sins: Common Reader Edition. (Trafalgar Square Publishing), 2002.



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