Injured by a Moral Relative


by Not Sure

17 December 2023


            Alan Watt often talked about the importance of self-knowledge, told us to think for ourselves, cautioned us that the mind has no firewall.  In this talk from June 3, 2010, entitled “That's Your Opinion.  Is That a Fact? Social Influencing Decides How You Act,” Alan got into cognitive dissonance, the uncomfortable sensation or stress we feel when we hold two conflicting opinions or beliefs at the same time.

            The Wikipedia entry on cognitive dissonance is worth a glance.  The page goes on and on with a definition of this theory, studies conducted to support it, books written about it, and experts in the field of study.  The simplest definition I can supply is that humans feel discomfort or even distress when their actions do not align with their beliefs.  In come the studies and the experts.  What do humans do when this happens?  They rationalize and justify their beliefs, or they rationalize and justify their actions.  To stay in the feeling of discomfort and mental anguish that this lack of alignment causes is not something humans are willing to do. 

            Some cognitive dissonance studies placed beliefs against the backdrop of Ethics, Accountability, Principles, Integrity, Values, but in my limited research I didn’t find much juxtaposition with Morality or Conscience.  The Subject is studied.  He or she has Beliefs that are Personal to them.  Universal Morality, Absolute Right and Wrong, is an old-fashioned, even dangerous concept.

            On page 35 of Cutting Through vol. I, Alan Watt wrote, “By becoming intercessors between the Creator and humanity, ancient Deviants who have always worshipped, for themselves, the Lucifer/Satan/Ahriman figure, they claim in their publications that it was necessary to give the masses ‘The Old Man on a Cloud’ deity to give ‘order’ to the world.  Self-guilt was the policeman, the SCIENCE of CON (priest) or Conscience.”

            Yet in the Redux that went up on December 3, 2023, which was from Alan’s talk on July 7, 2019, he spoke favorably of one’s conscience.  This is less an inconsistency than it is nuance.  There are universals, ultimate rights and wrongs, that we do not need to have a rulebook in order to understand and follow.  We do not need a priest, who may be a Deviant, to intercede with our Creator on our behalf.  We do not need a politician, who may be a Deviant, to codify and enforce that which we know is Right.  We do not need an NGO or group of mothers to lobby politicians so that books we deem harmful to children are not available to them. 

            We are studied and manipulated until we are altered to align with the group more closely; we become the mass man. 


            Six people are in a lobby, waiting.  Five of them are under the age of thirty.  One of them is fifty.  A television is hung on the wall, an ad features a transgender model.  The fifty-year-old groans.  The five younger people exchange disgusted looks.  “Oh well, he’s old and stupid.”

            Six people are in a lobby, waiting.  All of them are between the ages of forty-five and fifty-five.  The transgender model is featured and one of the waiters-in-the-lobby remarks, “How nice to see that.  My nephew is transitioning now, and I am happy to see less hate in the world.”  Nobody else says anything.  It’s possible that the other five people are disgusted by the relentless promotion of transgenders, horrified to think that maybe one of their nieces or nephews or children might consider doing that.  Nobody says anything, because not conforming to the group is more uncomfortable than living with the cognitive dissonance of believing transgenderism is wrong, but not acting on their belief by speaking out.


            For years, veterans’ groups have addressed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a debilitating condition which is rooted in fear.  Combat military personnel often live in fight or flight mode for long stretches of time.  They are exposed to violence, participate in violence, and flashback to the trauma of those events.  Many soldiers have begun talking about a different kind of trauma, a deep psychic wound which has come to be called a Moral Injury.  They have violated their moral code, they feel guilty.  A soldier realizes that he has killed innocent civilians, perhaps he has knowingly participated in something that doesn’t reconcile with his notion of Bravery, and Chivalry.  He went to war because he believed that his country and his people were under threat.  His sense of Duty compelled him to fight.  The situation on the ground is alien to the soup in his mind which is teeming with Honor, Valor, Loyalty.  Instead, he is kept afloat with coarse demonization of the Enemy, crude jokes, and sexual language, swearing, drinking, and drugs.  An ersatz Brotherhood is created, and much finesse is put into that creation.  Songs are sung, boots are shined, movies of Daring and Courage are shown.  Women shame you with white feathers or reward you, Love You Long Time.


            Guilt is good.  The moral compass works.  The next time you find yourself in a lobby, waiting, show someone your Moral Injury.  See if they show you theirs.  Don’t flinch.  Don’t go back to the television ad with the transgender model, smirking, mocking you, daring you to disapprove.

            A Moral Injury drowned in booze is a hangover.  A Moral Injury dismissed (“Everybody was doing it”) is a Lie, because deep down inside, you know that some people, somewhere, down through time, have Courageously said NO.  Moral Injuries shared, discussed, repented, cried over: That Could Be the Start of a Revolution.


© Not Sure


That's Your Opinion.  Is That a Fact?
Social Influencing Decides How You Act:

"Seldom Do We Consider Our Conditioning,
Diminishing Freedoms in System Imprisoning,
Accepting New Normals, Old Normals Cowed
By Cognitive Dissonance, Follow the Crowd,
Even the Stubborn Who Think they won't Budge,
By Social Influencing Succumb to The Nudge,
The Significant Other, Programming Updated,
Will Work on the Lesser till Both Loved & Hated,
Planned Social Conditioning is All Technique,
Create Dissonance, Give Solution they'll Seek,
Avoiding Discomfort and to Be Accepted,
They'll Adapt to Opinions the Master Expected
To Avoid the Pain and Outcast Sensation,
Prepared as Serf for World Federation"
© Alan Watt June 3, 2010