Arguing with your conscience is like having a debate where no one wins.
I hate arguing with myself.
First, I like to think that the vast majority of time my opinion on a topic is based sufficiently on fact and is, therefore, correct and defensible. Granted, that’s a rather egotistical viewpoint. But then, if one is not confident in their own opinions how can they defend them?
Second, matters of conscience force me to take more than a superficial look at myself and I’m not always pleased with what I see. When I argue with my conscience I see my true motivation, which is sometimes nothing more than winning the argument.
One doesn’t win when arguing with their conscience. One might reluctantly choose one side or the other as a course of action, but in the depths of your mind, you still question. Was the road taken really the best direction? Too often, the consequences aren’t evident until much later.
Points Of Contention
Kat is very good about being the voice of my conscience. She sees right through the horseshit. Typically, we agree on most matters. When we do disagree, though, she’s quite accurate in voicing my inner misgivings.
For example, we both agree that the two major presidential candidates are undesirable. We would rather neither of them wins. However, we disagree as to whether a vote for a third party candidate helps the cause of democracy or puts us in a precarious position that might lead to fascism. Theoretically, it is possible for a third party candidate to win if everyone dissatisfied with mainstream candidates were to cast their vote in that direction. However, history does not support that theory as a realistic alternative. We are at an impasse.
We find ourselves in similar quandaries over matters of how to effectively discipline children, how many pets we can rescue, and the exact limit of acceptable chaos. With each issue, the problem lies not in the fact that we disagree, but more that neither argument is factually wrong. These debates strain our conscience when a decision must be made, often quickly, yet fall short of convincing either of us that we’ve made the best decision.
This is one of those times I don’t have a solution to the problem. I can’t even, in good conscience, recommend someone else’s opinion. For all the reading I’ve done, I still end up more conflicted than I do convinced. Resolving these matters of conscience remains elusive.
There will be more challenges today. Should I take the lead on certain matters, which is what appears to be expected, or should I guide someone else through the steps? Do we tackle a large project today or let it wait until we have fewer distractions? What are we going to have for dinner?
The questions can seem so simple when asking them, but the mere presence of multiple options means sorting through the choices and arguing their merits. My mind already hurts in anticipation of the struggle.
And still, today is just like every other day.