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October 28, 2019 / Congau

The Moral Rebel

It’s easy to follow rules. Then you don’t have to go through the agony of doubt and there’s no need to figure out for yourself the difference between right and wrong. If the law says it’s right, it’s right, and you can safely suspend your own thoughts and become a model citizen and a moral example.

If you think life is more complex than that, you are unlucky. You can never be sure about anything and there’s no rest. You may be wrong.

The rule abiding robot man gets it all. He is esteemed by society, proud of himself and he doesn’t need to work hard. He may be lazy but has the reputation of diligence.

No society truly wants people to think for themselves, for that would mean questioning that very society and lead to disobedience. But to get an illusion of freedom we are given safe pockets where the laws don’t apply and “free thinking” has no consequence. (In a secular society there are no laws of religion, for example, so of course you can think what you want about religion.)

Praise and blame are bestowed where the rules are valid, and reward and punishment are distributed according to the law. If you ask if the laws are right, if you think for yourself, that is, you only make it difficult for yourself.

An ethically minded person is one who searches for the difference between right and wrong and acts accordingly. A legally minded person doesn’t search and acts from precepts that are made by others. He doesn’t ask what is right but still get praised for doing it.

The rebel does the hard work. He has to figure out what to do contrary to the path that is laid out for him and he gets no reward on the way. But that’s exactly why his action may have moral worth.

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