The other day I asked myself, should you serve your morality, or should your morality serve you? My first thought was the former, but now I’m convinced of the latter.
Your moral system should be strict enough to keep you from doing things that are going to harm you in the long run, even if it’s harmless, fun, or even beneficial in the short run. But it shouldn’t be so strict that you completely lose the ability to enjoy life. Ever notice how children who come from strict households turn into the biggest rebels? It’s because the happiness was sucked out of their lives for years and, resentful of this fact, they overindulge to make up for it.
On the other hand, a moral code that lets you do anything you want isn’t really a moral code. It’s more something like hedonism or “do what thou wilt.” In the end it leads to nihilism and self-destruction.
For many people, such as men who fall under the stereotypical Nice Guy description, one of the things their moral standard forbids is aggression. Perhaps they saw aggression used negatively and swore off any use of it whatsoever. The problem is aggression has positive uses. It causes you to fervently stick out your neck for something you believe in. It compels you to go the extra mile to achieve a goal. There are cases when aggression in every form is totally permissible – even required. There are times when being a dick or a brute is the only good solution.
I often fall into the Nice Guy character and it makes me wonder, is it possible to try being too good of a person? I think so, because it requires you try to be utterly inoffensive and without even a chance to impose yourself on others. The ultimate wall flower. But wall flowers are boring people. Not because they are inoffensive or never impose themselves, but because they neuter themselves of the positive energy and personality traits that the ability to be offensive or imposing gives them. The “bad” traits of offensiveness and the lot, they’re really manifestations of something more basic that has the capacity for good, and indeed is needed to survive in a social world.