There is an old joke that something is “only illegal if you get caught.”
The logical extension is “Is it wrong if no one catches me?” or “If no one sees me?”
For all except the sociopaths or supreme narcissists, if something is “wrong” — especially by your own standards — then it’s wrong, no matter what.
I’ll take it a step further.
If you do something you know better than to do and it flies in the face of your value structure within which you live, then it’s worse to live on without “being caught.”
You must live in your head.
In your memories.
With your thoughts ricocheting around your skull in the jet of night.
So, sure. You could get away with stealing.
Or shooting up.
Stashing the alcohol in your air vents.
Sleeping with your spouse’s friend…
But you carry that as another heavy link in a ice-cold chain around your neck for the rest of your days.
This is why us following the Eudaimonic path up the Inifinite Mountain is so vital.
We see a version of our self shrouded in the blinding sunlight at the summit…
A version that if we could even comprehend the greatness, we wouldn’t believe.
We see that version, and we seek every single day to live in a manner consistent with who they are.
Failing to live consistent with that person is just adding links to that chain around your neck. Weighing your conscious down. Pulling you to your knees, the way the world, those who doubt you, and the way your past self want you.
Who are you trying to become?
What foolish choices are you “trying to get away with” every day?
Follow for daily philosophical meditations.
These are distillations from my coming book “YouDaimonia: the Ancient Philosophy of Human Flourishing.”
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