Rationalization is temptation’s spin-doctor
When we strive to lead a principle-centered life, we reject the temptations that violate our principles.
However, temptation doesn’t so easily take no for an answer. To circumvent our refusal, it uses the deceptive and subversive strategy of rationalization. By deploying innocuous-seeming reasoning that is actually fallacious and deleterious, rationalization gets past our intellectual defense.
The Bhagavad-gita (02.63) indicates that in our war against temptation intelligence is a critical defense checkpoint: When the intelligence falls, we fall. Rationalization brings about this fall not by overpowering the intelligence but by perverting it.
Normally, when temptation invades our consciousness, we know with our intelligence that it is wrong, even if it feels good. But when temptation sends rationalization as its advance party, the resulting spin makes temptation seem not wrong – or at least not all that wrong. To erode our residual reservations, rationalization gives a negative spin to our principles, making them seem impractical, and making a principle-centered life seem fanatical. Acting as temptation’s spin-doctor, rationalization makes temptation seem acceptable, even respectable – as trendy, modern, progressive.
Under the insidious spin of rationalization, our intelligence becomes a defector. Instead of protecting us, it opens the door to temptation and even leads the charge of temptation into our consciousness. The Bhagavad-gita (03.40) points to such subversion of our intellectual defense when it declares that lust resides not just in the senses and the mind but also the intelligence.
To protect ourselves from rationalization, we need to strengthen and sharpen our intelligence by studying the timeless truths taught in scripture. Additionally, scriptural study purifies our intelligence by connecting it with the pure intelligence of Krishna. Being thus empowered, our robust intelligence can unmask rationalization. By thus firmly rejecting worldly temptations, we can live with spiritual integrity and steadily progress towards the supreme fulfillment of eternal ecstatic love for Krishna.
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