Introduction to Indices

Introduction to my attempt to develop a spiritual diagnostic tool using Evagrian principles.

Because we can analyze and study temptation, we can know a great deal about the parties involved and the techniques employed. Building comprehensive definitions of the patterns of impure thought is helpful, but more can be done. This is because the patterns are not neatly isolated from each other. Temptation is most often manifested as a combination of patterns. We don't need to blur the distinctions between patterns to see how they work together.

Virtually every ancient authority recognized this phenomenon and classified the patterns in various ways by common features. For instance, John Cassian observed that some of the patterns were provoked from within (Gl Ac Sa Pr) while others were externally provoked (Lu Gr An Va). There are several additional pattern combinations.

This is significant because the various patterns take on different forms depending on how they are working together. For example, lust is often accompanied by either gluttony or greed. A lust/greed combination might be addressed differently than a lust/gluttony combination.

I propose ten significant pattern aggregates, or indices. Each one of these indices are formed by dividing the eight patterns into two distinct subgroups (which I call Gray and White). Each index addresses a specific question about the tempting thoughts:
  • Faculty: How do the patterns of impure thought operate?
  • Gateway: Which patterns of impure thought deserve special attention?
  • Provocation: What activates, arouses or provokes the patterns of impure thought?
  • Manifestation: What manner of conduct springs from the patterns of impure thought?
  • Caution: How do the patterns of impure thought impact one's judgment?
  • Moderation: How are the patterns of impure thought subdued or defeated?
  • Activity: Where do the patterns of impure thought ultimately lead?
  • Identification: How are the patterns of impure thought identified?
  • Impediment: How do the patterns of impure thought impede the pursuit of God?
  • Relationship: How do the patterns of impure thought impact my relationships with others?
Here is a brief summary of these indices:

Faculty Index
Gateway Index
"Searching for something" and willing to experiment to find itNo longer searching, but settled into a comfortable routine
Provocation Index
Places too much value on one's own desiresPlaces too little value on what God desires
Manifestation Index
Impulsive and unconcerned with what others thinkDeliberate and overly concerned with what others think
Caution Index
Willing to delay gratification to get maximum resultsSeeks instant gratification, but unhappy with its results
Moderation Index
Insensitive and callous to certain sins ("I don't care if it's wrong.")Wants to avoid certain sins, but struggles to do so ("I'd stop if I could.")
Activity Index
Increasing level of activity in quest for satisfactionDecreasing level of activity as dissatisfaction intensifies
Identification Index
Recognizes own repeated failures and needs to hear good counselDenies own repeated failures and needs to heed good counsel
Impediment Index
Deliberately chooses to neglect the spiritual disciplinesTries to practice the spiritual disciplines, but struggles to do so
Relationship Index
Resists the practice of reasonable restraint and acts unpredictablyResists being instructed or corrected

Pattern Key

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