The nature of temptation - The Boston Globe
Indeed, recent work has suggested that the very act of seeing oneself as a good person can make it harder to avoid doing immoral things. In part it’s a matter of rationalization, and the better a person we think we are, the better we are at rationalizing. In part it stems from the oddly perishable nature of human self-control, and the way that, like a muscle, it tires after extended use. But also in operation, the researchers suggest, is a sort of moral “set point”: an innate human sense that there is such a thing as too much moral behavior. And when we stray too far from the mean in either direction - even if it’s toward saintliness - we revert, sometimes spectacularly.