Just a quick blog for today.
There are two types of morals. There are those you do because others do so. And then there are those you do because you have your own standards.
Being self-effacing is an example of something that is humble and good only when others do so too. When someone responds to your self-effacement by also putting you down, or by pushing himself up, then being self-effacing is no longer good to do.
Many games are like this: monogamous relationships, cheating on spouses, being polite, the value of fiat currency, etc. People are monogamous because others are too. Cheating on your partner is wrong unless both agree to do so. Etc.
Speaking the truth and risking discord, awkwardness, and violence is an example of something that you do for your own good reasons, even when others may not follow along. You do it because it is good for your conscience and your soul.
Hopefully, the two moral systems overlap almost completely. Hopefully, you are in a situation where doing the right thing personally is also socially acceptable.
But if there’s a conflict? If there’s a sharp difference? Stick to your conscience. Going along with the crowd, even when you sense the crowd may be wrong, will break your conscience. For when the crowd goes to a place that’s obviously wrong, then you won’t be at peace, for you’ll know that you helped them get there. At least, that’s what I’ve learned.
The second it turns into a competitive game of pain, the second you start playing it, that’s when you lose your own morals, and that’s when you start your path to the place where it’s obviously wrong.
For example, let’s say that a classmate makes fun of you in a way which crosses the (blurry) line. In the moment, you laugh it off. But you feel hurt, and from then on you’re looking for your chance at revenge. You find a good one, a week later, and lunge at it. You successfully hurt your classmate back. But then two weeks later, he finds an even deeper one, and lunges at you. And you find an even better chance to get back at him a month from now. This is a competitive game of pain.
After a while, both players will be sick of playing this game. Calling it quits will be a relief to both. And being the one who outlasts the other will be a phallic victory – it will not feel like you’ve won. Rather, it’ll feel like you’ve lost, because playing the competitive game of pain is the loss.
Here’s the solution. One, you’ve got to know what your limits and standards are. One way to figure this out is to play a competitive pain game, like the one I mentioned above, and then look back at what you did to see where you accepted the hand of the devil; where the dance first started. This will be painful because you’re going to have to admit that you played a part in your own suffering. But it’ll make you wiser and sharper too.
Once you’ve found your limits, you should then call foul the minute something feels off or wrong. Not arrogantly, not conceitedly, but bring up the concern or even the feeling that something’s not right! If the other person denies it, then you can start watching him extra closely (to see when he slips up again), and he’ll then be extra careful to not slip up. The next time it happens again, organize evidence and make a case and present it to him more strongly.
But if the other person continues to do it, that’s when you try and get away from the person. This is where the end of moral system #1 is. You stop playing games with the person, you avoid the person, and you go in the opposite direction. The alternative is to bite back, to insult back, to enter that dance of the toilet swirl. But if he brings you to misery, then he’s won. Joining the degenerative game is a win for him. So don’t do it!
If he doesn’t lose interest in you, and instead continues to harass you after you’ve 1) told him to stop actions x, y, and z for your reasons of a, b, and c, plus 2) you’ve ignored him and he keeps harassing you, plus 3) you’ve tried to run away from him or at least call it quits, then you should do your best to demolish him. That’s it. But if it’s a mob of people, then this may not be possible. But I’ll address this outcome when it happens to me.
The main point that I’m trying to make is that you should not tolerate behaviour/words that cross your dignity. And you most certainly should not get into a competitive game of suffering with another person. If you are tempted to do so, then at that point, you’re going to have to talk with the other person, which is most likely going to be more difficult. But you should have that talk! For at that point, it’s your best chance at leaving or fixing the relationship.