Morals and Ethics
Longtime readers might notice that while I always discuss the issue of long-term happiness, as well as positive personal aspects such as honesty, perseverance, and resistance from Societal Programming, I never discuss the issue of morality and ethics.
This is not an oversight. There is a very specific reason why I’ve always avoided those topics. Today I’ll explain why.
As usual, we need to get our definitions straight before we can have a discussion about this. Morals are your internal sense of what is right and wrong. It comes from you and your own internal beliefs, and that’s about it.
On the other hand, ethics come from Societal Programming (whether factually accurate or not), and are a set of rules that come from your culture and era. Ethics change from time to time. For example, in today’s Western culture, it is considered unethical to punch your wife. Several decades ago, it was not only ethical, but recommended. It still is in certain cultures today.
Your own internal morality can be influenced by Societal Programming as well; thus the phrase, “That’s not the way I was raised,” a phrase I mock mercilessly in my #5 podcast.
Given all this, we have three serious problems with both ethics and morality:
1. Your morality comes from you, and as a human being, you are flawed, and thus can be wrong. Therefore, your morals can be wrong in the sense that they may not reflect objective reality.
For example, if you were raised in a very sheltered, Christian environment where marriage was pushed hard, and because of this upbringing you were ignorant of the fact that the real divorce rate today is north of 70%, as well as ignorant to the damage divorce does to men and children (and women sometimes too, to be fair) in the modern era, you would probably consider not getting married as immoral. Yet, your morality would be wrong, based on both ignorance and outdated data, regardless of how strongly you felt about it.
If I came along and shoved a bunch of facts, science, and statistics in your face, and helped you to see objective reality for what it really is, then maybe you’d wake up to the fact that your morality was wrong all along, and modify it. Or maybe you’d call me an asshole and dig in even deeper, but that still doesn’t make your morality objectively accurate.
2. Your morality is customized to you, and thus, might make you happy. But what makes you happy may not make someone else happy. Your identical morality may even make someone else very unhappy and really screw up their life. Therefore, projecting your own morality onto someone else can sometimes be harmful.
I just love it when people with very low sex drives lecture other people with healthy sex drives about how immoral sex is (or premarital sex, or whatever). Sure, not having sex very often is probably great for you, but it will probably make your neighbor very unhappy.
I love it when older women who are not attracted to younger men at all lecture men about how “wrong” they are if they’re attracted to younger women. Yeah, that might be “wrong” for you, sweetheart, but it’s not “wrong” for other people who have different brains, biologies, personalities, preferences, and/or desires.
And so on. Despite what the right-wingers think, morality is often not something validly transferable from one person to the next.
3. Your ethics come from Societal Programming, which, as I’ve demonstrated hundreds of times over many years, can not only be wrong, but is usually wrong regarding just about everything. Societal Programming is the result of the elites maintaining their power over you, not a system by which you will achieve and maintain happiness.
History is full of examples of this. For thousands of years, slavery was considered perfectly ethical by all, even, in many cases, by the slaves themselves(!). In Ancient Greece, it was perfectly ethical for wealthy old men to have nonconsentual sex with nine year-old boys. The Societal Programming of those times was objectively barbaric; therefore the ethics were inaccurate.
Societal Programming today isn’t quite as horrible, but it’s still very bad. Millions of people still think honest nonmonogamy is unethical, and that monogamy and/or traditional monogamous marriage is the most ethical way to be with someone. This is false Societal Programming of course, a holdover from an era where condoms, birth control, paternity testing, STD testing, online dating, and retirement investing didn’t exist, and where the divorce rate was 8% instead of 70%. The conditions have radically changed, but the stupidly outdated ethics have not. Once again, the ethics are wrong because the Societal Programming is wrong.
That doesn’t mean all Societal Programming is wrong. There are unusual cases where Societal Programming is correct. Ethics, via Societal Programming, tells us to not steal from others or commit murder. Those things are objectively accurate, in that we can’t have a functioning society where people are going around slaughtering each other whenever they feel like it.
The problem is for every one correct aspect of Societal Programming (“Don’t murder people”) there are hundreds, if not thousands of aspects that are false (“Republicans are for small government” “Democrats don’t start wars” “Weight loss is mostly about exercise” “Your marriage will last forever if she hasn’t fucked too many guys” “The crash of 2008 was caused by too much capitalism”).
Therefore, if I used the public soapbox of my blogs to preach what is moral or ethical, the comments would be jam-packed with people complaining that my morality is purely subjective (which it mostly is), that my morality may not work for others (which is true), and that my morality is just flat out “wrong” since it doesn’t align with right-wing or left-wing Societal Programming (which doesn’t mean it’s wrong… actually it’s more likely to be right if that’s the case, but that’s a discussion for another time).
Therefore, instead of talking about what is moral or ethical, I instead talk about what will most likely make you happy in the long-term. Morality and ethics are almost always subjective, but what will make you happy is much more objective (though still not 100%, since everyone is different).
I’ll use the issue of lying as a simple example. I don’t lie. Ever. To qualify that…
- That doesn’t mean I use sarcasm; I’m a very sarcastic guy, but sarcasm isn’t lying.
- That doesn’t mean I never make mistakes; I’m human and make mistakes all the time, but that’s not lying.
- That doesn’t mean I have to constantly disclose everything I’m doing; I’m free to not disclose anything I don’t want to. Not disclosing something isn’t lying (and if you think it is, you really need to read this).
- That doesn’t mean I have to answer questions; oh I’m very good at refusing to answer questions. But refusing to answer a question isn’t lying.
Instead, I never say anything that I know is untrue (unless I’m clearly being sarcastic). I just don’t do it, regardless if it’s here talking to thousands of readers, or on a first date with a woman, or doing business with a client, or talking to someone one-on-one in my family or social circle. Not lying is actually part of my personal Code, a concept I talk about in my book, which is my own guiding set of morals that works for me.
(Edit: I should have clarified this since I’ve already received comments about it. Yes, it’s impossible for a human being to literally never lie. I’m sure if you followed me around with a clipboard 24/7 for a few years you’d catch me in a very small number of white lies, particularly when I’m caught off guard and let words fall out of my mouth, like confirming to a kid Santa Clause is real, “No officer, I didn’t see that speed limit sign,” telling a female family member that the dress she’s wearing doesn’t make her look fat, and so on. You get my point though.)
Indeed, I have lost out on a few big business deals where I could have made a lot of money if I had just lied a little. I’ve lost out on having sex or relationships with certain attractive women if I had just been an Alpha Male 1.0 and lied about not having sex with other women. In my past, I could have avoided certain arguments with people I loved if I had just lied instead. And so on.
Then why do I have this rule? I’d love to tell you that I have a rule against lying because I’m a moral, ethical man. But nope, that’s not why I have that rule at all. I don’t care at all about morals and ethics in and of themselves, since as I just demonstrated, they can be inaccurate and subjective. I have my own personal Code, and I adhere to it, but that’s completely subjective too. I would never shove my Code onto someone else. It may not work for others.
Instead, I don’t lie because lying creates future unhappiness. Since my overall goal in life is long-term consistent happiness, I can’t do anything that I know will create future unhappiness for me. Therefore, I can’t lie. It’s that simple. Lying in business means that eventually you’ll lose money, customers, and reputation (which is also worth money). I like money, so I can’t lie. Lying in relationships with women creates future drama. True, lying to a woman will save you a lot of drama in the moment when you lie, but eventually, the lie will catch up to you, and then you’ll get drama. Since drama creates unhappiness and my goal is happiness, I can’t lie, even if I want to.
And yes, there have been isolated scenarios in my life where I really, really wanted to lie. But I don’t do future unhappiness, so I had to tell the truth.
This is why I recommend to other men to never lie to women. Lying to women is not only beta, but will simply create unhappiness in the future. That’s unacceptable to the Alpha Male 2.0.
Thus, all my advice to men, regardless if it’s woman advice, business or financial advice, lifestyle design advice, or any other advice revolves around what will make you happy in the long-term, not what is moral or ethical. This is even when my advice happens to coincide with today’s morals and ethics, like when I tell monogamous men to not cheat.
If your response to that is that focusing on happiness will cause you to engage in actions that are not moral, then you need to read Chapter 2 in my book, where I describe how the goal of long-term happiness automatically forces you to be a generally good person. It’s built into the system.
So if you’ve ever wondered why I don’t shape my advice or arguments around morals or ethics, now you know. I want to see you happy, particularly in the long-term, rather than have never-ending arguments about inaccurate, subjective, and ever-changing morals or ethics.