Conscience for me is the ability that assists me in distinguishing whether ones own actions are right or wrong. When an immoral action or deed is committed then this leads to the feeling of remorse and similarly the feeling of rectitude when individual action conforms to moral values. Such moral judgments are based on reason wherein the conscience level questions the action and deeds of every reaction.
This conscience, the one intellect of man and that is aided by goodwill, by the use of the emotions, by practical experience of living can be develop on moral grounds wherein the involvement and formation of a consistent value system is administered to and this forms the base on which decisions concerning behavior is based upon.
Conscience is the “the little voice,” perhaps at times may nag, complain or make us feel harassed when actions are considered not in the right perspective. Sigmund Freud described conscience as the voice within the superego, the set of rigid moral precepts that helped to control the want and take aspects of the id.
Superego can be characterized as the sum of things learned in early life about right and wrong, wherein the self or ego functions within the bounds of a particular society. A person with poor superego control is considered id-driven.(Bonnie,1995)
Others believe that the conscience is the other voice of reason as viewed by Thomas Aqinas. Since reason is God-given to Aquinas therefore consciences is also God-given. But human beings have the capacity to develop reason, and so reason remains a facility that must be exercised and developed. To act conscientiously is to act on reason-based decisions. (Bonnie,1995)
Aquinas discusses people who have erring consciences and make wrong decisions based on faulty reasoning. He states that this may not be the person’s fault if he has not learned enough to know what is right or wrong.
Every human being on this earth has a conscience- deep down and is absolutely obligated to be and do good, and this obligation could come from God. Conscience is the voice of God in the soul.
We have been stating that conscience is merely a feeling but I feel it is more of knowledge that is required to understand the difference between right and wrong. This extent of conscience is based on knowledge and is not merely a feeling. This should be a knowledge rather than rational or analytical knowledge wherein this knowledge of mine is an absolute obligation to goodness, justice and charity and virtue and holiness. Secondly this knowledge is of moral facts. Thus knowledge forms the bases for conscience.
Now this conscience for me can lead to authority. The age we live in is filled turmoil and terrorism. And I feel that from young this conscience and knowledge has been brainwashed into thinking and believing that the rest of the world are slaves and that a terrorist by killing is gaining authority and power over everything. For I feel that if only these terrorists who have a conscience really stop to think and utilize this conscience in the good and moral manner then definitely terrorism can be murdered forever. For today this word ‘Authority’ has been changed from the word of respect to a word of hatred and this authority remains and individual’s conscience. For me the source of all evil is man himself for when man begins to think negative and about bloodshed that’s when this source the mind turns the conscience into amoral grounds.
As mentioned conscience is born and grows within us and it is up to every individual to utilize this conscience in the right manner. During my school days I remember there was a classmate of mine who was suffering from dyslexia which can be described as a learning disability which is manifested primarily with written language and reading.
The parents were totally involved with their elder child as the eldest always was a winner in everything. As my classmate had failed in his previous school, the parents shifted him to my school and here also my classmate was failing miserably.
I was constantly feeling pathetic the manner in which my classmate was treated by everyone. I was able to understand the turmoil that was occurring within the self. It came to a stage wherein the Principle was going to have my classmate removed. That’s when I began to think as to why cannot anyone find out what the problem is and attempt to find the solution. I began to interact with my classmates much to the dislike of my friends. It was at this moment I realized that my conscience was enabling me to make my decision.
I was mocked and ridiculed for spending time with the ‘weirdo’ –my classmate’s nickname. But it was that moment I realized my classmate was a talented painter. This made me think if he could paint then why cannot he learn? That’s when I met a psychologist who enlightened me about dyslexia.
Now is the moment of true conscience. Either I could keep silent and allow my classmate to be shifted to another school and still suffer or I could do something within my reach. Well it was conscience time for me and the ‘little voice’ within me said help and performs a good deed. That’s when I contacted the Principle and pleaded for assistance. The Principle was hesitant since student individual attention was unavailable as the teachers had to complete all subject portions.
I requested the Principle to give me an opportunity to prove that this student is indeed a clever individual. Well I got my chance and I bean to assist my classmate in studies. I also involved this psychologist who was ever willing to spend time counseling my classmate.
My classmate began to smile, something which he had forgotten about. My family members welcomed my classmate who was treated as part of the congregation.
Well did my conscience which supported my in my right decision and effort pay off?
Every good deed has a reward and my reward was my classmate passing in all the subjects and was promoted to the next grade.
This act of mine enabled my classmate’s parents to realize quality time along with love is the essence for a peaceful and fulfilling life.
Remember the conscience is what you want it to be and how you would require the outlook of life. Everything is in ones hands.
DArcy, Eric.(1961). Conscience and Its Right to Freedom. Sheed and Ward, New York and London.
Davies, Brian. (1992). The Thought of Thomas Aquinas. Clarendon Press, Oxford.
Saarinen, Risto. (1994) Weakness of the Will in Medieval Thought From Augustine to Buridan. E. J. Brill, Leiden, New York.
Dolan, Joseph V. (1971) Conscience in the Catholic Theological Tradition. In Bier, William C (Ed). Conscience: Its Freedom and Limitations. Fordham University Press, N. Y.
Kent, Bonnie. (1995). Transitory Vice: Thomas Aquinas on Incontinence. The Journal of the History of Philosophy. (Vol.