The Path Of Least Resistance
We can rationalize our immoral behavior, or to use a religious term, sin, in any way we want to. Philosophy and religion give us the freedom to pick whatever path suits us. 99/100 people will pick whatever path gives them the most freedom for their immoral behavior. There’s a philosophy, or a religion, for whatever kind of life we want to live. We must be very aware that we aren’t choosing the path of least resistance, the path that gives leeway to our vices. A philosopher can also create, or borrow from an already established philosophy, a way of living that suits them. They don’t actually see it as an objective and rational way, but in a way that will help them live with their sins. And the temptation of religion is bigger than the temptation of philosophy . In philosophy we have to find some way to rationalize our vices and sins, we do mental gymnastics to make ourselves feel moral to ourselves. With religion all of our immoral behavior can be forgiven and there is no need to reflect or rationalize it. We will relate more to Machiavelli, or Nietzsche, if we are subconsciously looking for someone to justify our immoral behavior, so we can keep seeking the pleasures we enjoy; or, we can choose religion to have all of our sins forgiven and then feel like we are moral beings. Very few will pick the way of Marcus Aurelius, because that is the path of most resistance. The hard stance against pleasure. The constant rejection of temptation. It is not an easy life, and there can be sleight of hand here if we are not very very careful. This is where philosophy and religion get dangerous. We have so many options and too often the people, or beliefs, that we choose to believe in, are only because they already fit in the moral box we made for ourselves. Our morals are often just a reflection of the culture and time we live in and only when we recognize and then reject the programming of our culture do we create a little bit of freedom for ourselves to make our own moral decisions.
But then the responsibility to pick the morals that we think are ‘right’, can turn into the morals that we subconsciously 'want' to live by. Sometimes we will choose the opposite morals of our culture simply in response to the culture we were molded by. As philosophers, and as human beings, we must remain constantly aware of our responsibility of our choices of what and why we believe in something. And the same must be said for what and why we choose not to believe in.