When it comes to ethical and moral decisions we often refer to the internal conundrum as a debate between the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other. One voice in our head is urging us to moral goodness and the other to selfish, sinful ends.
I’ve thought about this trope a lot lately and I’m beginning to wonder if instead of a devil on one shoulder I’ve got a frat dude, and in place of the angel an 80 year old curmudgeon.Or vis versa. Neither is a paragon of virtue, both have an aversion to morality unless it comes under their favorite philosophy.
For the dude it’s all about doing something. Anything. He doesn’t concern himself with whether an action is good or bad, but whether it’s something we can do right now. He’s all about living in the moment and experiencing the now. He’s also a fan of saying whatever comes to mind and gets a real kick out of seeing other peoples reactions. It’s his voice I hear when I impulse shop or come up with a witty rejoiner. He’s the one who’s up for karaoke and singing Free Bird. He thinks he’s fun, but he can get us in to lots of trouble.
My cranky, tired, fed-up granny, on the other hand, is interested in being left alone. She’s not particularly moral either, she just wants to put her head down, do what she came here to do and not be bothered nor bother anyone. She’s the cynical voice in my head when I look in the mirror and don’t like what I see, and the one who thinks drama is better left for TV and out of personal relationships. She thinks she’s reasonable, but she’s also pretty cynical.
I’m in a constant state waffling between “hold my beer” and “that beer has how many calories and costs money? What are you DOING?” I think most of us wage these kind of practical wars on a daily basis and have to come to terms with a constant tug of war between conflicting sides of our personalities. And it’s good, that conflict. Because neither side is always right.
Sometimes my world weary grandma is a big snob who thinks other people do church “wrong” and my frat dude is just totally happy that people enjoy going to worship at all.
On the other hand, sometimes frat bro thinks moral relativism is fine while my internal, precise curmudgeon screams how he’s SUCH an idiot.
Maybe you wrestle with your internal conflicting personalities as well. Maybe you’re annoyed like I am that I don’t just have an internal always reasonable voice, how is it possible both sides are equally compelling and illogical? But those internal voices are mine after all, and it turns out I’m as rational and illogical as they are.
Perhaps just as illogical and rational as you are too.