The first thing to say is that if you have never been tempted you are not human. The second thing is that in the previous post, Faust who deems himself smart and learned never the less invites Mephistopheles over his threshold. Doh! Faust thought he was outwitting but ended up outwitted. Our cleverness can be our undoing, we think we can outsmart.
To set this up I am going to use a hypothetical example, which is a social norm of sorts. As such it may be that you think that I am making a fuss about nothing. Nevertheless, bear with me. It is “socially acceptable” to a degree to snoop on others on the internet, to covertly read their blog or trawl through their social media. There is a kind of fascination and because we think nobody is watching we might indulge a little too much, that may lead to voyeurism and obsession. Temptation is there by the megabyte.
If we come across the media of someone known to us, we might take a cursory glance out of curiosity and leave it there. At this level there is no harm. If we imagine that they may say something about us in that media, we get nosier. If we have a grudge or a crush on someone, we might start to delve ever deeper. We kind of know we did not ought to be doing this, however there is a temptation. We can start to make weird justifications. “If he/she did not want me to be looking at this then they would not have put it up.” “He or she is actually inviting me.” At which point we could alert the person of our presence by leaving an electronic calling card, such as a thumbs-up or we can continue our surveillance. By now our behaviours have become more than a little furtive. So, we start to justify things even more. “I’ll only take one more look.” But that one becomes many. We may even develop a habit. “I’ll see what weird shit Fred has been up to today.” If we think we might somehow get an advantage over Fred through our continued surveillance we are now starting to justify that surveillance on strategic grounds. “Better keep an eye on Fred in case there is something I can use later, Fred may be out to get me.” Once things have gotten to this stage we will never reveal to Fred that we have him under our microscope.
Before long the temptation to carry on something which is “up to no good” has taken hold and we have thoroughly justified it and continue to do so.
Whenever temptation presents there is nearly always some justification as to why it is OK to yield to temptation, either live or post hoc., the two go together. Human beings are adept at dreaming up a whole host of justifications to allow themselves to do dodgy shit.
Having cued this up:
What do you reckon, do temptation and justifications often skip along hand in hand?