“The needle of our conscience is as good a compass as any.” Ruth Wolff
I write about Conscience in some detail in my book The Three Resolutions. I write about how a conscience is developed and how we all have one, even the criminals amongst us. I also write about how, in identifying our most important priorities and values, we can utilise that inner voice to direct us in our daily activities. The conscience is a core ingredient of our character.
When we listen to our conscience, we live lives of peace and productivity. When we ignore it, we feel guilt, angst, and occasionally some confusion.
Yet ignore it we so often do. We actively seek to stifle it when something potentially pleasurable presents itself to us. We don’t want to miss out on that attractive experience, and so we ignore the conscience, or turn its volume down to 1. To add to the stifling effect, we raise the volume on the ‘Why I CAN do/have this’ button, to make sure we can hear what is calling us forward to the psycho-hypocrisy that is about to occur. We find a rational excuse for what we are about to do and lie to ourselves. As Covey put it, we tell ourselves Rational-lies. Then, immediately or soon after we execute on the lie we just told ourselves, we feel that pang of guilt.
Conscience does not go away.
No, I am not a saint and I am as guilty of this as anyone. Perhaps more so, in the sense that as a writer on the subject I find myself doing it when perhaps I ought to be setting an example. I am often extremely conscious of that expression, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.”
On the plus side, however, this knowledge and understanding arguably presents me with a better opportunity for positive change, eventually. Those who don’t realise what they are doing have no motive to change. They don’t know that they can.
Funny thing is, they will spend a lot of time justifying their poor behaviour. They will argue quite strongly and loudly that the behaviour they are displaying is okay, for some reason or other. (Good examples are smoking and drinking.)
The funniest thing about their shouting is because they know while they are doing it, they (and I quote), “ignore the conscience, or turn its volume down to 1. To add to the stifling effect, they raise the volume on the ‘Why I CAN do/have this’ button, to make sure they and we can hear what is calling them forward to the psycho-hypocrisy that is occurring.”
Now where have I read that, before?