As I was diving back into St. Maximos’ Centuries on Love, I discovered that between the second and third posts on the third century, I had somehow jumped from his texts on love to a different collection of his theological texts. So I’m going to wind the clock back and pick up where I actually left off in the third century.
7. Overeating and gluttony cause licentiousness. Avarice and self-esteem cause one to hate one’s neighbor. Self-love, the mother of vices, is the cause of all these things.
8. Self-love is an impassioned, mindless love for one’s body. Its opposite is love and self-control. A man dominated by self-love is dominated by all the passions.
I thought it was important to keep these two texts together. Self-love in these texts describes an impassioned love of self. Remember, in this context, the passions are those things that rule us and which we suffer. I think a key description is as the opposite of self-control. Self-love in this sense, then, is the precondition that opens the door for all the passions.