On knowing which way to go

Blaise Pascal
Pascal wrote: “The heart has reasons which reason does not know.” My problem comes when the two are in conflict. When reason argues, “I am right, and can give evidence for it,” and heart responds, “I have no evidence, but I still believe I'm right,” I won't be at peace no matter which way I decide.

Existentialists believe that we will be held completely responsible for the consequences of our decisions, but that we have no means of predicting whether our decisions are right or wrong. If this is true, we might as well decide by tossing coins into the air. I think that most of us, most of the time, decide by default, that is we imitate those around us. Otherwise, there would be fewer Mormons in Utah and fewer Baptists in Alabama. 

I have found within myself that insanity can be defined as the space between what one part of me says is true and what another part says is true. As Montaigne put it: “...what we believe we disbelieve, and cannot rid ourselves of what we condemn.” And again, “There is as much difference between us and ourselves as between us and others.”

Michel de Montaigne
I have also heard insanity defined as the space between what you know is true and what others tell you is true. Indeed, it’s a hard thing when the beliefs that define a person are said to be wrong by his neighbors. Our success lies in the fact that we are a social species, but our downfall, as individuals if not as a species, lies in the same fact.

I do know that, aside from ethical demands, I don't owe anyone an explanation for my faults, values, behaviors, preferences, inconsistencies, or anything else about me that doesn’t affect them directly. It's enough of a challenge to explain me to myself.