People keep describing my unbroken sidcha practices and avoiding polluting as disciplined. Regarding avoiding packaged food and not flying, they describe it as extreme. Actually, some describe it all as extreme.
Let me ask you this: which is easier, to take heroin sometimes and try to avoid getting addicted or never to take heroin at all?
It seems to me easier never to take it. Then the risk of getting addicted and throwing your life away seems minimal. So I don’t take heroin. The solution seems obvious and simple. It takes no willpower or discipline. By contrast, using it sometimes seems it would require more.
Nobody calls my zero heroin use as extreme. Nor does anyone call me disciplined for avoiding it.
Why don’t people who call eating some sugar-laden products balanced use some heroin? Why do they call avoiding both extreme only for the products they use but not for the ones they avoid? Sugar and heroin are both the result of refining out the nutrients from a plant to only the addictive, pleasure-causing powder.
I asked the questions rhetorically, of course. The people who call avoiding sugar or flying extreme share the values driving the behavior but can’t bring themselves to live by them. They might say how they balance the pleasure they get from dessert or breaking the IPCC recommendations for individual greenhouse emissions—that is, hurting people who don’t pollute like them, and all future generations.
But that argument would apply to using heroin too, which they don’t. Would they call using some heroin more balanced? No. They only apply the non-logic to things they do.
Like all humans, they didn’t conclude their values based on logic from absolute principles. They felt a gut feeling about someone doing what they wish they could but don’t. Maybe they felt threatened, insecure, inadequate, diminished, or something similar. Whatever they felt, they didn’t like the feeling, didn’t want to feel it any more, ascribed it to the person they associated with it as abnormal, restored their comfort, and protected their identities. I’m saying nothing special about me. I do nothing that plenty of people don’t do more of. I don’t consider my role models extreme any more than I consider people who don’t use heroin extreme.
People call behavior they would like to practice but don’t and likely feel guilt about extreme because the more they can make it sound unattainable, the more they can let themselves off the hook.
It helps complacent people sleep at night.
Sadly, they miss the deep satisfaction and emotional reward of living by their values, even against resistance.