Kant’s Categorical Imperative says that you should base your decisions on whether the underlying reasoning should reasonably applied as a universal law. For example, if you feel like lying to get money from someone else, would you want this to be a law that everybody should follow? Obviously not, so lying to get money from someone else is evil and you shouldn’t do it.
That may seem like a good way to morally reason, but if you examine it deeper, you will find why that it shifts your thinking away from your self and makes you a sacrifice to societal good. Not that lying is good – it is not – but the reasoning above which concluded that lying in this instance is bad is evil.
By thinking in “categorical imperatives”, you sacrifice your life for someone else. Instead of thinking from your own perspective, what you find good and bad, what you yourself find ethical, you shift your thinking to what is good or bad for society. This is evil – it diminishes your personal worth and value. It makes you a sacrifice for society. It makes you obliged to make decisions based on something other than yourself and something other than your own good.
Now – lying is not good for you. So doing something “for your own good” would not mean that you would automatically lie. On the contrary – lying is actually bad for you. And your decisions should be based on what is good or bad for you, because you are not here to live for someone else, you are here to live for yourself. Lying is bad for you because it reduces your CHARACTER and makes you weaker. Becoming a weaker character, with weak integrity, thinking in a short-sighted way, having to cheat people to get what you want, should not be something you should be striving for.
And this is precisely the alternative moral compass that you should follow. What type of character do you want to become, in order to feel happy about yourself? Do you want to be a character which lies, goes behind people’s backs, cheats and steals to get what he/she wants? Or do you want to be a character that is dependable, has integrity, is strong enough to stand for what he/she believes in, and does what he/she thinks is right and ethical in itself without having to follow some outside moral code or axiom, making your own decisions and shaping your personality based on what you believe in?
What type of character do you want to become in order to be happy – for your own sake, because you value your own self? Act in that way, and let that be your moral compass instead of an axiom – a shortcut – which someone else has placed on you.