Chapter 6


Let us now, then, look at the moral implications of the relation of the choice to the factual information it bases itself on. First a definition:

Conscience is the factual information a person has at the time he makes a choice about the moral rightness or wrongness of the act he is about to choose.

The Scholastics also talked about what they called "subsequent conscience" meaning a person's knowledge after the fact about whether his choice at the time was moral or immoral. It is this latter sense of "conscience" that a person finds "bothering him," or "examines" later to find out whether and to what extent he sinned. But that, strictly speaking, isn't conscience, but merely a memory of what the conscious was in regard to any past act, and because it's the same as any recollection of a past act of consciousness, in itself has no moral status at all; it can't make a moral choice immoral or vice versa. Only what the Scholastics call "prior conscience," which is what I defined above, is morally relevant; and so it is what conscience really is.

So conscience is not, as I said, a feeling, as Freud and so many moderns have held; nor is it a little cricket inside your head or a voice that tells you things; nor is it a faculty you have; nor is it necessarily, as Aristotle would have it, the result of a reasoning process starting from a general moral premise and applying it to a special case. Aristotle, as the inventor of the syllogism, can perhaps be forgiven for thinking this; but when a person is tempted to lift something from the store's counter and sneak out with it, he doesn't, I think, really say to himself, "Thou shalt not steal; this is stealing; therefore, thou shalt not do it."

There's nothing mysterious about conscience, really. All it is is the facts you know at the moment, however you happen to have arrived at them; but it is the facts you know bearing on the moral rightness or wrongness of this particular act, and so isn't just facts in general, even facts in general about moral rightness or wrongness. A course in ethics can be a source for forming your conscience, but your general ethical knowledge is not your conscience, because it doesn't as such deal with the act you are now about to choose. Further, conscience, as a kind of consciousness (the consciousness of whether this act is morally right or wrong), is not in some book somewhere; it is the facts you concretely know at the moment. And, of course, conscience is not facts about this act (such as that it's taking place in Ohio) that have no relevance to its moral status; all it is is a name for the information you have that enters into the morality of the choice you are about to make, since choices are based on the facts you are aware of at the time you make them. Conscience is your evidence about the moral status of this act.

Note, by the way, that conscience is not your opinion of the moral status of the act in question; in fact, as we will see shortly, if you have facts indicating that the act might be morally wrong, it is immoral to choose the act, even if your opinion is that the weight of the evidence is on the side of saying that the act is legitimate. Hence, a person can have an opinion that abortions are probably morally legitimate, and still not be able to choose an abortion, because she knows some evidence indicating that she might in fact be killing her child.

But before exploring this, let me point out that, since conscience is the facts you are aware of about the act you are to perform, and since it will only be these facts that enter your choice, it follows that

Conclusion 17: A person's own conscience is always the "Supreme Court" in moral matters; the morality or immorality of a choice always and only depends on the conscience of the person who makes it.

This has been held for centuries, and is not something new; but it is why it must be stressed that conscience is evidence and facts, not opinion or feeling. The point is that you can't be punished for doing something you had no idea was wrong, or you would be being punished for something you couldn't have helped; and this would be gratuitous cruelty (not to mention the fact that the "punishment" is the deliberate setting up of a self-contradictory goal within the choice itself, which is impossible if the contradiction is not known).

But many have interpreted this conclusion as if morality were up for grabs, because it makes conscience "subjective." Conscience is objective knowledge, the kind of objective knowledge of facts that we discussed in Chapter 7 of Section 5 of the first part 1.5.7. In that sense, there is nothing subjective about it at all; you can't make a fact not be a fact by wanting it not to be what it is. If you know the fetus is in fact a human being, then you know that the abortion is homicide, however much you might want it not to be or "feel" it isn't; and it is this knowledge that is your conscience, not your feelings on the matter.

Note that conscience is not evaluative deliberation, nor the results of evaluative deliberation, when you consider which course of action would be best for you at the moment. When you are deliberating about the best course of action, you are in the realm of values and goals, which, as I said, are subjective. It may very well be (and often is, as I have said) that a wrong act is the most efficient way for you to achieve some particular goal that you have set; in that sense, the wrong act is what is "best" for that goal. But that kind of evaluative deliberation concerned with what would be best for you to do is not conscience, because conscience deals simply with rightness and wrongness (which are objective facts about the act's consistency with yourself or not), and not with goodness and badness (which are subjectively set goals), as I said in Chapter 1 of Section 7 of the fourth part 4.7.1. It is this mistake that has caused most of the confusion we have nowadays about morality and the supposed "subjectivity" of conscience.

This is important enough to state it as a formal conclusion:

Conclusion 18: Conscience has nothing to do with values.

But, of course, conscience is "subjective" in the sense that it deals with the (objective) information you happen to possess at the moment--or rather the information concretely available to you, because you might deliberately put information out of your mind because you don't want it to affect a choice you are making. Unfortunately if you deliberately suppress what might be relevant information, you guarantee that your choice will be immoral, whatever the facts actually are, as we will see. So conscience is still the objective facts; but it takes into account that you might not know all of them.

Now then, to account for why deliberately refusing to know some fact you could find out makes the choice immoral, let me begin by saying that conscience can be in one of two states: clear or unclear.

A clear conscience has no information that the act in question might be morally wrong.

An unclear conscience has some evidence that the act in question might in fact be wrong, even if that evidence is weak.

Conclusion 19: It is always moral to choose to do what your conscience is clear about, irrespective of the actual moral rightness or wrongness of the act.

Why? Because you have precisely no reason to believe that there is anything wrong with the act. Again, you might feel terribly guilty about doing it, as the modest woman feels on her wedding-night; but you know that this feeling is due to something like the way you were brought up, and there is no fact you know of indicating that there is or even might be anything wrong with what you are doing.

Note that the only certainty you have to have in order to have a clear conscience is moral certainty. To review the levels of certainty (the opposite of doubt) that I spoke of in Chapter 5 of Section 1 of the first part of this book 1.1.5, you first need not be concerned with avoiding "subjective doubt," which is a worry that you might be mistaken, a worry with no facts to back it up. That would be due to something like a guilt feeling, and is irrelevant. You are objectively certain, even when you are subjectively doubtful in this sense.

In fact, a psychological disorder that the medievals called "scrupulosity" comes from a confusion of subjective certainty (emotional conviction that you are correct) and objective certainty. The scrupulous person is worried that he might be sinning even when he has no reason to be concerned; and it can incapacitate a person. I remember once when I was in the seminary, I served Mass for a scrupulous priest, who had to keep checking that his hands were in the right position, that he was actually thinking of every word he said, and that he did all that the "rubrics" directed (the directions for the priest printed in the Missal in red type, which bind under sin). It took him an hour and a half, as I recall, to say a twenty-minute Mass, and all the while he was in agony doing something which was supposed to be the most joyous and glorious thing anyone ever had the privilege of doing. And since one of the rubrics was to say the Mass straight through without pausing or repeating, in his concern not to violate any of them, he was violating them.

This kind of attitude supposes that God is a spider waiting until you touch the web, whereupon he will pounce; when in fact, you only suffer eternal frustration if you deliberately bring it on yourself. This again is important enough to highlight it by a conclusion:

Conclusion 20: You cannot be immoral by accident; you must deliberately be willing to be immoral.

This is obviously true, because the moral rule says that you must not be willing to do what is wrong. If you do something wrong by mistake, you aren't willing to do it, simply because you didn't know that you were doing something wrong. To be immoral, your will must be oriented toward the wrong act.

But to continue with the levels of certainty, clearly you don't have to be absolutely certain that the act is not wrong, in the sense that you can prove that it is impossible for it to be so; almost any act can be morally wrong in some circumstances. Further, you don't even need to be physically certain, or able to give positive evidence to prove that the act is in fact morally legitimate. So, for example, you probably can't prove that there's nothing wrong with reading what you are now reading, and that I'm not a moral subversive who is trying by plausible arguments to lead you into a trap. I hope you have found no evidence indicating this (which is just what I would say if I were one, isn't it? See how insidious subjective doubt can be?); but I'm inclined to think that you don't have a great deal of clear evidence to the contrary.

No, the only certainty you have to have in order to make a moral choice is moral certainty, which, as I pointed out in Chapter 5 of Section 1 of the first part 1.1.5, is negative: you just have no actual facts indicating the contrary. For instance, if this book were (God forbid!) condemned as subversive by the Catholic Church, you would now have indirect evidence indicating that it was morally dangerous for you to read it, even if you might not know why the Church condemned it (i.e. what facts about it formed the basis for their condemnation). In that case, you would have a reason to believe it was subversive, and your conscience would not be clear in reading it.

If we take what is, I hope, a less far-fetched issue, let us say a woman doesn't see any reason why she should consider her fetus a human being, and thinks that those who hold that abortion is murder do so because of holdovers from superstitions from outmoded religious beliefs (and if she hasn't listened to them for that reason), she would have a clear conscience in considering whether or not to have an abortion. It would be moral for her to choose to have one, in spite of the fact that she is--without realizing it--actually killing her child.

But as soon as she realizes that there are intelligent people who don't seem to be fanatics on the other side, she then has evidence that they might have facts to back up their position, and at that point her conscience is unclear.

Then what is the rule about acting when your conscience is unclear?

Conclusion 21: A choice to do something your conscience is unclear about is always immoral, irrespective of what the facts actually are.

Why is this? Because an unclear conscience means that there is evidence that the act might in fact be morally wrong, even if the evidence on the side that it is legitimate seems far stronger. If you have any real evidence that the act is wrong and you decide to do it under these conditions, then you have to accept the possibility that you are doing wrong, and this is the same thing as saying you are willing to do it even if it is in fact wrong, which, of course means the same thing as being willing to do what is wrong.

Remember, to be willing to do wrong (which is what the general moral rule is) doesn't mean "to want" to do wrong, but to accept the wrongness in what you are doing, even if your goal is something very good.

But if your conscience is unclear, you can't choose the act without accepting its wrongness, because you are willing to do it even if the evidence indicating its wrongness turns out to be correct, and it is in fact wrong. Thus, the woman who chooses to have an abortion with an unclear conscience has to be saying to herself, "Well, it seems more likely that I'm not killing my child by this; but there's reason to believe I might be. Well, if I am, so be it." There is no way, with this objective doubt, that she could escape being willing to kill her child if it turned out that this is what her abortion really entails.

Note that this also works if in fact the act is not morally wrong. Suppose a citizen of the United States doesn't want to go to the polls and vote, but wonders whether he morally has to. In point of fact, we have a right to vote, but it is not morally wrong not to exercise this right. But suppose he reasons, "But if nobody voted, then the country would collapse, and so if I didn't vote, I would be contributing to the collapse of the country, and that would be the equivalent of treason." He thinks there is something wrong with this argument, but also thinks that it might really be valid. In this case, if he refuses to vote, he has made an immoral choice, in spite of the fact that his reasoning is invalid and he has not done anything morally wrong in not voting. (You can see the invalidity in the argument if you say that the country would also collapse if no one ran for office; but that clearly doesn't imply that every citizen has to run for office or he's a traitor. The point is that he suspects a fallacy, but doesn't see it; so as far as he knows, the argument might be sound.)

So you would only have a clear conscience in "I didn't know the gun was loaded" if you had no reason to believe that it might be loaded. For instance, if it were a theatrical gun to be fired in a play, and you had checked it an hour ago and left it in the prop box, you would have no reason to suspect that the Phantom of the Playhouse had substituted a real bullet for the blank, and so you could fire the gun with a clear conscience. But if you don't know anything about it one way or another and you refuse to check, then, knowing that guns sometimes can be loaded, your notion that probably it isn't doesn't make your conscience clear.

Obviously, then, you have to clear your conscience before you can choose a doubtful act. How do you do this?

First, of course, it is always moral to choose some other act (including inaction) that your conscience is clear about.

That is, if you don't want to be bothered straightening out the situation and clearing up the doubt about this act, simply don't do it (provided "not doing it" doesn't also involve something that might in fact be wrong), and you have no problem of conscience. So, for example, the person who doesn't know whether the gun is loaded doesn't have to check it if he chooses not to pull the trigger; or the woman who wants to have an abortion but has reason to believe she might be killing her child can choose not to have it and have the baby (which might be inconvenient, but is not morally wrong). That should be obvious.

But if you want to do the act, or the alternative of choosing not to do it also involves something which is or might be wrong, what do you do?

Secondly, if you want to do the act, you must, if possible, find out what the facts are in the case in question.

The person who wants to fire the gun needs to look in it before he pulls the trigger, assuring himself that there is no live ammunition in it. The woman who wants to have the abortion has got to find out somehow that she's not in fact killing her child before she can choose the abortion.

But how does she do this? If she had enough skill in ethics and philosophy, she could examine the arguments and see if the evidence that the fetus is a human being was specious or not. This would also involve looking at refutations of one side's position by the other and assessing how much was rhetoric and how much was clear sifting of the evidence.

This is obviously a tricky procedure and in general is not to be undertaken by an amateur, for the same reason that you don't diagnose yourself if you think you might have cancer or whether that pain in your chest was a heart attack or not. You're no expert, and there are all kinds of things that could be misleading that you wouldn't be aware of. But if you won't trust yourself when your bodily life or health is in danger, why would you trust yourself if eternal frustration is hanging over you? Anyone who would just "examine the facts for himself" would also eat wild mushrooms he collected because "he read a book about them once."

Now of course that doesn't mean that you have to go running to an expert with every little moral problem you have, on the grounds that there might be some huge subtlety here that you're not aware of, any more than you have to go running to your doctor with every sniffle on the grounds that it might be some new kind of nasal cancer you've never heard of. There are moral problems that any sensible person can resolve for himself, and if you have no reason to believe that there's anything subtle about the one facing you, then you don't need to be bothering a moralist about it. That is, if your conscience is clear about its not needing consultation, you don't need to consult. The rule of thumb is that you should use no less care in moral problems than you would in medical problems. Obviously, some people, because of the way they are made, are going to consult experts more often than others, just as some think they should see a doctor when others would dismiss the symptoms.

But in general, if you don't have a clear conscience, and it isn't obvious (like looking into the gun) how to find out whether the act in fact is morally right or wrong, then you consult an expert.

But who is an expert? Again, the information available to you is your guide. If a person is known to be an expert in moral matters (he's a clergyman, for instance, or a teacher of philosophy), and if there is no evidence that he doesn't know his subject or that he's biased, then your conscience is clear if you consult him. You don't necessarily have to "shop around" to find the person best qualified, as long as you have reason to believe that this person is qualified. Again, the analogy with the medical expert is in order. You don't immediately take the pain in your chest to the heart specialist; it is perfectly all right to go to your family physician, who has enough expertise that he can tell if there is something tricky enough so that he has to send you to the specialist. So in the moral realm, you can presume that if your local ethician is honest, then he'll recognize whether the case is complicated enough that he should refer you to someone more qualified in that area of ethics and will send you to the other expert. So as far as you're concerned, you can follow his advice.

There are a couple of cautions about "shopping around," however; one which would make you tend to do some shopping, and the other which acts as a restraint on it. There are all kinds of moral quacks, particularly in our own day, who set themselves up as "experts" because they read a book on the subject once, and who make confident pronouncements that Solomon would tremble to utter.

If you've read this far in this book (I hope you're not just dipping into it as if it were just a philosophical candy counter), then you've presumably got some idea that morality is based on facts, and is more than deadly serious; and so you should be extremely dubious of those "moralists" who advocate moral relativism or "feel-good" morality under the mask of "compassion." If they're right, why consult them--because if they're right, the morality depends on how you feel about things, not on some "expertise" they might have.

Hence, certainly in the present day, you would have to do some shopping, because you would have to have some reason to believe that the expert you consult actually has some grasp on the facts, and isn't just one of those people who tell people what they want to hear. For instance, I would think that any Catholic who would consult Rev. Charles Curran on moral matters, now that he's been forbidden to teach morality in the Catholic University of America, would not really be interested in finding out what the facts were, any more than a person would be interested in finding out the state of his health by consulting someone who's been thrown out of the American Medical Association--unless you had very good reasons for saying why he was objectively right in whatever dispute led to his ouster.

The second caution is that it would be immoral to shop around even among recognized experts until you found someone who told you what you wanted to hear. In this case, it would be the motive for consulting one after another that would make doing it immoral. If you think of it a bit, you can see why. If, for instance, you want to have an abortion and the expert you consult says, "Sorry, but you can't," and then you go to another and he says the same thing, and you go to another and another until finally someone says, "Well, I guess it's all right in your case," why are you rejecting the first people's advice? Because you want to perform the act, whether it is moral or not, and you just want to use the fact that people disagree as an excuse for doing it, knowing that if you look hard enough, you'll probably find someone who will allow it.

Why did you consult an expert in the first place, if you were going to sit in judgment on his advice? You in your ignorance would then be saying "You're mistaken," which implies that you know more about it than he does--which contradicts why you went to him for advice.

Conclusion 22: In seeking moral advice, the advice of the expert must be followed, unless there is reason to believe that he misunderstood the situation or was biased.

It is possible, in other words, to reject someone's advice; but you have to have a reason for doing so; and the reason can't be that you disagree with his conclusion. But it's possible that he didn't listen to the whole situation as you were presenting it and interrupted you with a hasty pronouncement; or it's possible that you got the idea from the way he spoke to you that he had some bias on the issue that very well might be clouding his judgment (if, for example, you were consulting him about some homosexual problem and he reacted with disgust at you as soon as he realized you were homosexual). In these cases, you have evidence that his conclusion was ill-formed, and could (and should) consult someone else. Your knowledge that what the expert tells you is true is not based on your being able to follow his reasoning, but on your knowledge of these two facts: (a) that he knows his subject, and (b) that he's not lying to you.

So even if he doesn't give you his reasons for his conclusion, you still have to follow his advice, absent evidence of ignorance or bias or lying. And the reason for that is that it is sometimes apt not to be wise for moral experts to give their reasoning, because it might sound implausible to a non-expert despite its validity, and this only creates the possibility of the client's beginning to second-guess the expert. For the same reason, physicians often make confident pronouncements without giving their reasons for them, which are, they know, rather "iffy"; but which could cause unreasonable doubts in the patients if known.

But when a person is going on the testimony of experts, and he knows that expert views are divided on the issue in question, there is an ethical principle that comes into play: what used to be called the doctrine of "Probabilism."

Conclusion 23: If it is known that generally recognized experts are divided, some thinking that the act is wrong and some thinking that it is right, then a person may morally take the more lenient view.

Why is this? Let me say first of all, that there are some presuppositions here: First, you have to be basing your following one side purely on testimony. That is, if you happen to know for some reason that the argument on one side is specious (for instance, experts on the abortion question who hold that it is legitimate and say that the fetus is like an acorn--and you have seen from Chapter 8 of Section 1 of the third part 3.1.8 that this is a fallacy), then you can't take their view just because there happen to be a number of experts who don't see the fallacy in it. Secondly, you couldn't use the rule above if you were aware that one "school" of experts, say, belonged to some religious sect that you happen to think is false, in which case, the fact that large numbers of people in that sect consider them experts could be as much due to collective bias as to grasp of the facts. So the second presupposition is that you have reason to believe that no one group lacks any particular access to the facts that the other group possesses.

With those two caveats, what is the situation? It is obvious that the evidence about the moral rightness or wrongness is so unclear that even experts can't figure it out. But it is incumbent upon any lawgiver (God, in this case) to make it possible for his subjects to know what he wants done; but if even experts can't fathom what he wants in this case, then either (a) God has failed to "promulgate" his wishes clearly enough that it is humanly possible to know them, or (b) there was no obligation there in the first place.

Clearly, if God (or if you prefer "nature") is the author of the command, then he's clever enough to let us know what he wants. And so the second alternative is the only reasonable one. The stricter side has clearly picked up on something that it considers "evidence," but it can't really be evidence or there wouldn't be this dispute among people who really want to know what the facts are. Hence, reason says that the more lenient side is the correct one.

And based on this reasoning process, if you take the more lenient side, your conscience is clear. It is positively unreasonable to say that there is an obligation that significant numbers of sincere, competent, and unbiased experts deny; and therefore, the "reasoning" on the part of the stricter side must be fallacious--even if you don't happen to know where the fallacy is.

Following this, of course, can lead you to be mistaken. There were plenty of moral experts two hundred years ago who held that slavery was perfectly all right, even though there were others who held that it was wrong. And the ones on the side of allowing it had experts like Aristotle (who held that some people were born slaves by nature) and the Bible on their side. So at that time, a non-expert could have used the doctrine of Probabilism and with a clear conscience owned slaves--unless he listened to the arguments of the abolitionists and was convinced by them.

But if he did own slaves, he would have been mistaken. But whether you are objectively mistaken or not is not morally relevant; it is whether you are willing to do what is wrong; and in the case above, the slave-owner would have no reason to believe that owning slaves was wrong. Similarly many a person who has an abortion today is actually following this view and has a clear conscience, but is doing what is in fact wrong, and is mistaken. I hope that by the time you read this, the issue will have been cleared up and the killing stopped, and you will look back on our age with as much wonder at our blindness as we look back on the antebellum South.

But to continue, thirdly, it is not always possible to straighten out the moral matter for yourself, and sometimes for one reason or another you can't consult an expert before you must make your choice, and no matter what you do, it seems to you you might be doing what is wrong. What do you do at this point?

Conclusion 24: If there is no alternative that your conscience is clear about, and if you can't find out what the facts are about the moral status of the act in question, then you must choose away from the alternative that seems worse.

This is called the "indirect method" of clearing your conscience. The idea here is that you don't know whether the act in question is moral or not, and there's no way you can find out about the act. But in this situation, what you know you are doing is trying to avoid what is wrong by choosing what seems either least likely to be wrong or likely to be least seriously wrong or both.

Now you can't be in favor of what you are explicitly trying to avoid; so in this case, where you can't know about the act, what you know is the orientation of your will. You are precisely choosing away from this course of action because it is probably bad; the alternative might also be bad, but there's nothing you can do about that; every alternative, including doing nothing at all, might be bad, as far as you know. In this case, you are morally certain that what you are trying to do is avoid wrongness; and you can't be in favor of what you are against.

That is, you are sure that you're not using the fact that the alternative you avoid is worse to excuse your doing something that might be wrong. In that sense, you're not choosing "the lesser of the two evils;" you're choosing to avoid the greater one.

For instance, you know that it's wrong to mutilate yourself; but if you don't cut off your hand, you'll die from the gangrene in it. Have you chosen to mutilate yourself? Clearly not; but your alternatives are (a) do nothing--don't cut off the hand--and die, or (b) cut it off, and live without a hand. You don't want in any meaningful sense to be handless; you just want not to die.

Hence, in a moral dilemma, when you can't find out what is in fact the right thing to do, you can in practice always make a moral choice with a clear conscience, because you can always choose away from what seems worse.

I want to stress that you can only take this choosing away from what seems worse if all other courses of action have failed. That is, you can take this course if and only if there is no course of action or inaction that your conscience is clear about already and you can't straighten the factual situation out for yourself and you can't get an answer from an expert and the rule above about legitimate disputes doesn't show you that there's really no moral issue here at all. Only then can you make a choice involving what might be wrong on the grounds that you are really choosing away from wrongness. If any of the other roads are open, then you would be able to do what you know in fact is not wrong at all, and therefore in not choosing this course, you are willing to do wrong.

Well, but there's one possibility left: Suppose both alternatives seem equally bad. Suppose the surgeon tells you you have an 80% chance of dying if you don't have the brain operation, but only a 20% chance of surviving the operation itself. What do you do now?

Clearly, in this case, you either choose not to have the operation to avoid being killed by the knife, or you choose to have the operation to avoid being killed by the tumor. You can go either way here, because avoiding one is going to bring you just as much likelihood of wrong as avoiding the other; and so it is a question of your motive only. You can't want to die, using the operation as, for instance, the most painless way to end it all; you must choose away from death, even though the choice away from it in fact involves just as much risk of it.

In practice, of course, these "equal-seeming" alternatives are like the proverbial equally attractive bales of hay that made the donkey starve; they never exist. Faced with the surgeon's alternatives, one of them would be bound to seem worse to you (as more expensive, more painful, more prolonged, or whatever); in which case, if you were trying to avoid what was worse, you would choose away from that side.(1)

Note, by the way, that this rule is the exact opposite in practice of the rule above that if experts disagree, you can take the more lenient course. But the reasoning in the two is different. With the case of the dubious obligation, you have found evidence that there is no real moral problem here, but only a pseudo-problem, and so you know what the facts are about the act you want to perform. In the case of not being able to find the facts about the act, you have to choose the "stricter" course (the one less likely to be wrong) to assure yourself that your will is oriented in the right direction, precisely because you don't know what course in fact is legitimate.

In any case, it is always possible to have a clear conscience. Either there will be some alternative your conscience is clear about, or you can straighten out the factual issue for yourself, or you can consult some expert and follow his advice, or you can take the more lenient view of a dispute among experts, or if all of these fail you can choose away from what seems worse.



1. Remember here, I'm talking about what is (probably) morally worse, not what is more expensive, or more painful, or whatever.