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There’s a saying in the red pill world for what happens when someone lets their mind rationalize taking actions they know they shouldn’t — listening to the hamster. If you get caught or your actions lead to consequences, the hamster is there to help you explain it away or to blame it on anyone but yourself.

The hamster is that little voice that says, “Go ahead, you deserve it,” or “Normally you shouldn’t do that, but because of X, Y, Z it’s OK.” Think of it as similar to the old imagery of having an angel sitting on one shoulder advising you to do what’s right, and a devil sitting on the other shoulder urging you to give in to temptation. The hamster would be the one dressed in red.

Some might say to “hamster” is a female thing, but I have seen men do it too. I’d say everyone “hamsters” now and again, and some make it practically a way of life. Being aware of the hamster is a good first step in making sure it doesn’t just hop on that wheel and spin, spin, spin you right into making bad choices and life altering decisions.

For example, many people who have affairs let their hamsters talk them into it. They feel an attraction to someone other than their spouse, and instead of realizing that every now and then it’s going to happen, but remembering they committed to their spouse, so they choose not to act on the attraction, they let the hamster get going and the literally talk themselves into why “it’s OK, under the circumstances” for them to cheat. The hamster leads them right into a divorce.

Another example might be the single person who talks themselves into having a one night stand with the sexy stranger they met at the nightclub. “Nobody will ever know,” the hamster might say. Or “Everyone else is doing it, why should they have all the fun?” Or even, “Having sex with whoever you want whenever you want is normal and healthy and empowering.” The hamster leads them right into a sexually transmitted disease or an unplanned pregnancy.

Other times the hamster leads you astray in smaller ways, like putting off doing something you know you need to get done, or encouraging you to cut corners that shouldn’t be cut, or to let your wants steer your priorities over your needs.

Your hamster also has no loyalty. Other people can actually use your hamster against you, purposely feeding it pellets to get you to do what they want you to do, even though they know and you know you shouldn’t.

See that’s the trouble with the hamster. It always gives bad advice. Self destructive advice. Life imploding advice. The hamster doesn’t care if it causes you to lose your job, your reputation, your family, or even your freedom. The hamster lives in the moment. The hamster is purely hedonistic. The hamster says, “If it feels good, do it!”

And as we see on the news or in real life, far too many people let their hamster run wild. I am sure you can think of several examples of this pretty easily. Today it’s almost expected. Concepts such as morality and restraint and self-control are considered “old-fashioned” by many, relics of an age gone by. Life isn’t like that anymore, some would say. Times have changed.

But have they? Have times really changed? All one needs to do is to look back in history and literature. From the bible to Greek and Roman myths to Shakespeare’s plays, these texts are rife with tales of people lying, cheating, stealing, murdering, and so on. People are the same as they have always been. Bad choices are the same as they have always been.

Let’s not kid ourselves. It’s pretty clear there’s never been an age of innocence. And the consequences of these actions are also still the same as they have always been, even if the hamster tells you different. What’s changed is the social pressure to resist the hamster has been lifted. We live in a “I’m OK, you’re OK, live and let live” world.

And tolerance is a good quality. Don’t get me wrong. Tolerating individual differences is much better than burning people at the stake. But tolerance can be a sticky wicket when the hamster has its way.

Think of it this way, letting your hamster guide your life choices is pretty much like taking advice from the guests of the Jerry Springer Show. That’s how much sense your hamster has. The hamster is going to choose the low road every time. The hamster is what gets people on the Jerry Springer Show.

So next time you find yourself thinking about doing something that you know you really shouldn’t, put the hamster back in the cage. While you may miss out on some “fun” in the moment, I can guarantee that in the long run you will have a much happier, healthier, abundant life for it. Doing the right thing is never a bad choice. Doing the right thing never goes out of style. And doing the right thing will never steer you wrong.

Let those who have ears hear.