Moral Aftershadow

Do you know the moral weight of your actions?
The "moral aftershadow" of each of your decisions consists of the difference made to the entire future, specifically,
  • the best difference you could have made
  • minus the actual effect of the action you actually made

There are two facts about moral aftershadows which make them particularly concerning to all of us:
  • Moral aftershadows are really quite tremendously gigantic. The size of a moral aftershadow completely dwarfs moral considerations of the present day.
  • There's no way that moral aftershadows can be measured.

Despite our inability to measure our moral aftershadows, there are still a great number of heuristics that we can employ to raise the probability that the moral aftershadows of our actions will be as light as possible. For example, if our models of reality admit that personal education and excellence raises the chances that we will have a net positive impact on the future, then choosing to watch television would have a darker aftershadow relative to the aftershadow of studying.

See also: moral weight