The intentional deprivation of one's most physical and carnal needs is a concept that has existed since the beginning of time, more commonly known as "mortification". The Bible makes one of the earliest references to "mortification of the flesh", as seen in Colossians 3:5, which reads, "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry." As time progressed, this concept has branched out into a more extreme form - corporal mortification. These are cases of voluntary acts of agonizing self-inflicted deprivation and physical torture, acts that have aroused much contempt from the public.
Thanks to Dan Brown's best-selling novel turned blockbuster mega-hit, The Da Vinci Code, in which audiences were introduced to Silas, the villainous, self-whipping monk, corporal mortification is now a term most often associated with Opus Dei. A creepy, deranged, and blood-thirsty albino monk, Silas is most remembered for viciously whipping himself with a nail-embedded cilice.
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