Therefore, I have found this hilarious passage in my speech handbook to soundly belabor with harsh criticism until it whimpers with shame and slinks away under the table.
If you were the only person on an island, your ethics would be of no concern because your actions would affect only you. - Speech handbook, p.8
My ethics would be of no concern? That's a joke! Never underestimate the harm that one's own actions can do to oneself. There's something called guilt. There's something called shame. There's something called self-hatred. When one does something wrong and one knows it, a horrible burning sensation just rips through oneself and it hurts. Especially if the wrong done is serious.
However, evil has a habit of desensitizing its victims... And sooner or later, if the wrong actions pile up, they no longer hurt. The conscience is numbed. And that is when the actions have well and truly hurt the doer. He has become impervious to the whisperings of his conscious, through numerous repeated petty evils, and he is doomed more surely than if he had committed some great crime.
Read The Screwtape Letters. And then read The Snakebite Letters, which is pretty much the Catholic version of the former, written by Peter Kreeft. Everyone should read The Screwtape Letters. Or, if you're one of those weenies who want the audio versions, there is an audio version, so you have no excuse. I think it was put out by Focus on the Family. At any rate, Andy Serkis (the guy who played Gollum, for your information) does the voice of Screwtape. EPIC WIN.
To summarize, my first bone to pick with the above passage was this: actions that 'only' concern oneself are never of no concern. Instead, they are of vital concern. We are obliged to take more care of our own bodies and souls than those of other people.
My second bone to pick with the passage is the insinuation that if one were all alone on an island, one's actions would affect only oneself. LIE. BIG FAT LIE! By no means do I believe in some sort of collective unconsciousness, like Jung, but I certainly subscribe more to the view of The Brothers Karamazov, in that, "We are each responsible for all." There is a ripple effect. Every action we perform touches all our brothers and sisters, for good or for ill. It only took one man and one woman to subject us all to original sin. It needn't be direct harm or bad example.
"It'll only affect me," is no excuse for anything wrong! Wrong is wrong, no matter its object. This modern relativism is inherently illogical and is the enemy of truth. But the modern zeitgeist is very much indifferent to its internal self-contradiction and illogicity... It does not care. It cares very much on the outside, about a plethora of trivial, temporal things, but it does not care about things that shall outlast this world...
In Pace Christi,