From Dr. Larry

Dr. Larry Gelman is fiercely devoted to each client, with a deep and profound respect for their own self-agency and self-determination.

Your Choice

It is easy to succeed at failing.

Almost anyone can achieve this simple goal.

Simply start by knowing right from wrong.

Then choose wrong.

By choosing wrong you can’t go right.

(Except that three left turns make a right).

Because when you choose not right...

You have made your choice.

All that remains is for you to act upon it.

It is easy to succeed at succeeding.

Almost anyone can achieve this simple goal.

Simply start by knowing right from wrong.

Then choose right.

By choosing right you can’t go wrong.

(Except that three right turns make a left).

Because when you choose not wrong...

You have made your choice.

All that remains is for you to act upon it.

Knowing right from wrong is almost the same as knowing that wrong is not right.

Some moral dilemmas in life are very simply black or white.

We may not always be clear about what is right but we are usually clear about what is not right.

Then, again, some moral dilemmas are complexly contextualized in murky fields of grey.

We may not always be clear about what is not wrong but we are usually clear about what is not not wrong.

Consider a well-known moral dilemma: in your opinion is it ever wrong to steal?

If you agree, would you steal an expensive medication you cannot afford to save the life of your dying child?

Alternatively, is it ever wrong to lie?

If you agree, would you lie to save the life of Anne Frank and her family from the Nazi’s?

One might argue that it all depends because everything is relative to time, place and person.

Also, that some wrongs might be justifiable under certain conditions like the use of torture by the USA after 9/11.

In this case, the argument is that the means justify the end if further acts of terror are prevented.

Unless, of course, we accept the premise that “two wrongs don’t make a right.”

In which case, wrong is wrong and not wrong is not wrong.

But in human terms, what loving parent would not steal an expensive medicine to save their dying child’s life?

Or lie to prevent innocent men, women and children from being murdered by an invading army during war?

Socrates was condemned to die by the authorities for sedition but his friends bribed the guards so he could escape.

The great philosopher declined the offer since the State he so dearly loved had deemed him its mortal enemy.

So now we must come full-circle in reformulating the simplistic constructs of right from wrong.

As you can see it is not always so simple after-all!

When you do the right thing, all you will ever know for sure is that, at best, you did the right thing.

However, when you do what is right, all you will ever know for sure is that, at worst, you did what was right.

There is a qualitative difference between doing the right thing versus doing what is right.

From this perspective, it is important to know right from wrong.

It is also important knowing right from wrong is almost the same as knowing that wrong is not right.

But knowing right from wrong and knowing that wrong is not right...

Still leaves us with choosing to act by either doing the right thing or doing what is right.

Fortunately, for you, it is your choice to think, judge and act in service of doing the right thing or doing what is right!

Author Note: Dr. Larry B. Gelman is a Clinical Psychologist and a Personal Mentor


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