Morality is the Pleasure Principle


I once was indulging myself and at the same time criticizing myself for being so indulgent. Simultaneously I was struggling with choosing which side to follow – my indulging primitive side, or my criticizing moral side. After a while of being in that mentally polarized state, I had what could be called a transcendent experience.

During this, I rose above that polarized state and experienced that my primitive indulgent side and my higher moral side are ONE AND THE SAME. I became aware of the fact that these two seemingly opposing sides arise from the same basic life force, just in different modalities.

One way of understanding this, is by seeing that both of these sides are, so to speak, pro–life. My primitive instinct takes care of me by helping me to live well and survive in a direct, physical sense, which is pro (my) life. My morals take care of me by showing me causes and effects and what’s the noble thing to do, which is also pro–life. Morality is the ‘aware’ side of the basic life force. So these two sides are both just helping life.

The problem arises when the ego, unaware of this, starts putting these two sides up against each other, as a result of its dualistic perception of reality. Then the instinct becomes the bad side and morals become the good side or vice versa. The truth is that they are two different faces of the exact same driving force.

So whether you are driven by your instinct or by your morals, it doesn’t matter that much. You might however be unaware of their basic unity and therefore do something one–sided and unwise. But you don’t have to take sides between them. In this sense you can never go ‘wrong.’ When there is this realization, there is no inner conflict. And that naturally results in peace of mind. But realistically, these moments of realization don’t last very long, of course...