I recently came across a client whose wife left him for another after more than 15 years of marriage, a friend who loves his mistress more than his wife and cannot live without either, and a man who justifies embezzlement because everybody is doing it. It kept me thinking and I penned my thoughts below as a form of ventilation. Strap up and here goes…
“I have recently hatched a plan to silence my conscience by killing it off. And in its place, reigning over my life, I want greed, lust and pride to rule absolutely. But I must be careful. My conscience has been with me for the longest time. He has grown with me. He has been a part of me that I can't deny. He knows my thoughts too well. He can anticipate my every move.
So, I must carry out this usurpation with absolute stealth and sublime strategy. First thing first, I need to empower my greed, lust and pride. They must grow in strength as my conscience withers away in weakness. This is basic 101. And it is all about whom I feed. That is clearly within my reach. I hold the choices in my hand. I will naturally feed my greed, lust and pride and starve my conscience. It will be a subtle process no doubt. Not an over night thing.
I shall start with allowing myself a little indulgence, that is, some personal freedom and justify it with what is often used in its defence: "Entitlement". Or, I deserve it. Or, I am just worth it. Full stop.
I will therefore cut myself more slack with greed. Of course I will not be so blatant like Mr. Gecko who proclaimed with such panache that "Greed is good!" It is not. Let's be discreet with being indiscreet. Greed is bad.
But ambition is good. Ambition means pursuing personal happiness to the fullest. No hold bar. It's about having goals and achieving it with focus and determination. Now, how can "happiness", "goals", "focus" and "determination" be bad? Isn't it all about personal flourishing? A form of self-improvement?
So unlike Mr. Gecko, I will drop hints at my conscience to allow me more leeway to pursue my goals. I will then pursue it at all costs. I will want more of what I already have. I will allow greed to be my co-pilot before allowing it to take over the wheel. We will be driving down the highway of hoarding and accumulation so fast that my conscience will not be able to see who is in the driving seat.
And during those unguarded moments, I may even disable the brakes and allow greed to drive my appetites at full speed. And by that time, if my conscience happens to stand in my way, I will run him down and finish him off for good.
Next comes lust. This is a tricky one. The signs of a beating heart, burning desire and addictive mind will be dead giveaways. So I have to play it down by keeping it cool. I must work with this threesome “excuses”, “opportunity” and “time” to make this work most brilliantly. I must tell myself that monogamy is monotony. I must find scapegoat. I shall blame marriage of a lifetime as unrealistic, even impossible.
In today's world, no relationship lasts longer than 18 months - so why should marriage? I shall tell myself that the marriage vows are so dated, rusted, antiquated. It is for dreamers with no legs to stand on in reality.
I will also turn my attention to my faithful spouse. I shall blame her for being too busy with the kids, too rigid in bed, and less attractive in age. Then, I will progress with opportunity and time. I will make the opportunity to show tender loving care to the target of my lust. I will share my inner feelings more with her. I will be with her longer, giving excuses that my wife doesn't understand me as much and as deeply as her.
I will make time for her, comfort and console her. I will make her think that I am for real, the victimized husband, the sincere pursuer, and the one who had made a mistake at the altar, which only she can correct. I will make her feel that she is my soul mate.
And when all that is done, I would have stolen her heart. But all this will be done under the covers of anonymity. My wife and my conscience will not know. Neither will they suspect. Because I will be good to all of them, wife and mistress alike. My duplicity will double up as my integrity.
Then, when my conscience is fast asleep, suspecting nothing, I will creep up to him with lust as my partner and plunge a knife straight into his heart. That's the end of my conscience.
Now for my final partner in crime: my pride. That's my crowning glory. When I manage to feed my greed and lust, my pride will grow in leaps and bounds. When I have money, power, fame and women, I will be invincible. That would ironically be a great morale boost to my pride.
But, even without those things, I can still puff my pride up. I can still make it grow at my will. I imagine flying high on a hot air balloon and every time I take credit for things not done by me or do charitable works for self-promotion or show off my wealth, intellect and status or discriminate against those less successful or become impatient with others or stand behind the pulpit to deliver self-serving nostrum so as to gain popularity, pecuniary rewards and blind adoration, I imagine myself elevated to greater heights as all things below me grow strangely dim, small and insignificant.
When that moment of self-exaltation comes, I shall invite my conscience to admire the view from up here. And when he least expects it, I will bring him nearer to the edge, give him a light push, and watch him fall from that height. Nothing will survive a fall from that height. Nothing stands a chance; not even my conscience. And the last face I will see falling away from me is the face of my conscience in utter shock and disbelief.
That's my conspiracy to murder my conscience once and for all and to live my life henceforth completely unfettered, uncluttered, and unhinged. That's my definition of true freedom. And when I have set myself free, I will be free indeed.
The only problem I guess is that I will soon confront a new form of indentured slavery. It is a slavery to the new freedom I have fought so hard to acquire. That freedom is the freedom to a form of mutually assured destruction. Alas, my conspiracy to murder my conscience, once successful, is in the end a conspiracy to destroy myself, most completely. For Socrates once said: "the most aggravated form of tyranny arises out of the most extreme form of liberty." Cheerz."