Conscience | Wikipedia audio article



conscience is a cognitive process that elicits emotion and rational associations based on an individual's moral philosophy or value system conscience stands in contrast to elicited emotion or thought due to associations based on immediate sensory perceptions and reflexive responses as in sympathetic CNS responses in common terms conscience is often described as leading to feelings of remorse when a person commits an act that conflicts with their moral values an individual's moral values and their dissonance with familial social cultural and historical interpretations of moral philosophy are considered in the examination of cultural relativity in both the practice and study of psychology the extent to which conscience informs moral judgment before an action and whether such moral judgments are should be based on reason has occasioned debate through much of modern history between theories of modern Western philosophy in juxtaposition to the theories of romanticism and other reactionary movements after the end of the Middle Ages religious views of conscience usually see it as linked to a morality inherent in all humans to a beneficent universe and/or to divinity the diverse ritualistic mythical doctrinal legal institutional and material features of religion may not necessarily cohere with experiential emotive spiritual or contemplative considerations about the origin and operation of conscience common secular or scientific views regard the capacity for conscience as probably genetically determined with its subject probably learned or imprinted as part of a culture commonly used metaphors for conscience include the voice within the inner light or even Socrates reliance on what the Greeks called is demonic sign an averting epic trip Ticos aperture epic owes inner voice heard only when he was about to make a mistake conscience as as detailed in sections below is a concept in national and international law is increasingly conceived of as applying to the world as a whole has motivated numerous notable acts for the public good and been the subject of many prominent examples of literature music and film topic views although humanity has no generally accepted definition of conscience or universal agreement about its role in ethical decision-making three approaches have addressed it religious views secular views philosophical views topic religious in the literary traditions of the Upanishads Brahma sutras and the bhagavad-gita conscience is the label given to attributes composing knowledge about good and evil that a soul acquires from the completion of acts and consequent accretion of karma over many lifetimes according to adi shankara in his Viveka chudamani morally right action characterized as humbly and compassionately performing the primary duty of good to others without expectation of material or spiritual reward helps purify the heart and provide mental tranquility but it alone does not give us direct perception of the reality this knowledge requires discrimination between the eternal and non eternal and eventually a realization in contemplation that the true self merges in a universe of pure consciousness in the Zoroastrian faith after death a soul must face judgment at the bridge of the separator there evil people are tormented by prior denial of their own higher nature or conscience and to all time will they be guests for the house of the lie the Chinese concept of Ren indicates that conscience along with social etiquette and correct relationships assists humans to follow the way down a mode of life reflecting the implicit human capacity for goodness and harmony conscience also features prominently in Buddhism in the Pali scriptures for example Buddha links the positive aspect of conscience to a pure heart and a calm well directed mind it is regarded as a spiritual power and one of the guardians of the world the Buddha also associated conscience with compassion for those who must endure cravings and suffering in the world until right conduct culminates in right mindfulness and right contemplation santé Deva 685 to 763 C he wrote in the bodhicaryavatara which he composed and delivered in the great northern indian buddhist university of Nalanda of the spiritual importance of perfecting virtues such as generosity forbearance and training the awareness to be like a block of wood when attracted by vices such as pride or lust so one can continue advancing towards right understanding and meditative absorption conscience thus manifests in Buddhism as unselfish love for all living beings which gradually intensifies and awakens to a pure awareness where the mind withdraws from sensory interests and becomes aware of itself as a single hole the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote in his meditations that conscience was the human capacity to live by rational principles that were congruent with the true tranquil and harmonious nature of our mind and thereby that of the universe to move from one unselfish action to another with God in mind only their delight and stillness the only rewards of our existence here are an unstained character and unselfish acts the Islamic concept of taqwa is closely related to conscience in the Quran verses 2 to 197 and 22:37 taqwa refers to right conduct or piety guarding of one's self or guarding against evil Quran verse 47 2:17 says that God is the ultimate source of the believers taqwa which is not simply the product of individual will but requires inspiration from God in Quran verses 91 to 7-8 God the Almighty talks about how he has perfected the soul the conscience and has taught it the wrong fujur and right taqwa hence the awareness of vice and virtue as inherent in the soul allowing it to be tested fairly in the life of this world and tried held accountable on the day of judgment for responsibilities to God and all humans Quran verse 49 to 13 States o humankind we have created you out of male and female and constituted you into different groups and societies so that you may come to know each other the noblest of you in the sight of God are the ones possessing taqwa in Islam according to eminent theologians such as al-ghazali although events are ordained and written by God in al-lauh al-mahfuz the preserved tablet humans possess free will to choose between wrong and right and are thus responsible for their actions the conscience being a dynamic personal connection to God enhanced by knowledge and practice of the five pillars of Islam deeds of piety repentance self-discipline and prayer and disintegrated and metaphorically covered in blackness through sinful acts Marshall Hodgson wrote the three-volume work the venture of Islam conscience and history in a world civilization in the Protestant Christian tradition Martin Luther insisted in the diet of worms that his conscience was captive to the Word of God and it was neither safe nor right to go against conscience to Luther conscience falls within the ethical rather than the religious fear john calvin saw conscience as a battleground the enemies who rise up in our conscience against his kingdom and hinder his decrees prove that god's throne is not firmly established therein many Christians regard following one's conscience as important as or even more important than obeying human Authority a fundamentalist Christian view of conscience might be God gave us our conscience so we would know when we break his law the guilt we feel when we do something wrong tells us that we need to repent this can sometimes as with the conflict between William Tyndale and Thomas moreover the translation of the Bible into English lead to moral quandaries do i unreservedly obey my church priests military political leader or do i follow my own inner feeling of right and wrong as instructed by prayer and a personal reading of scripture some contemporary christian churches and religious groups hold the moral teachings of the ten commandments or jesus as the highest authority in any situation regardless of the extent to which it involves responsibilities in law in the gospel of john 753 to 811 King James Version Jesus challenges those accusing a woman of adultery stating he that is without sin among you let him first cast a stone at her and again he stooped down and wrote on the ground and they which heard it being convicted by their own conscience went out one by one see Jesus and the woman taken in adultery in the Gospel of Luke 10 25 – 37 Jesus tells the story of how it despised and heretical Samaritan see parable of the Good Samaritan who out of compassion and conscience helps an injured stranger beside a road qualifies better for eternal life by loving his neighbor than a priest who passes by on the other side this dilemma of obedience in conscience to divine or state law was demonstrated dramatically in Antigone's defiance of king Creon's order against burying her brother and alleged traitor appealing to the unwritten law and to a longer allegiance to the dead than to the living catholic theology sees conscience is the last practical judgment of Reason which at the appropriate moment in joints a person to do good and to avoid evil the Second Vatican Council 1962 to 65 describes D within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey its voice ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil tells him inwardly at the right movement do this shun that for man has in his heart a law inscribed by God his dignity lies in observing this law and by it he will be judged his conscience is man's most secret core and his sanctuary there he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths thus conscience is not like the will nor a habit like prudence but the interior space in which we can listen to and hear the truth the good the voice of God it is the inner place of our relationship with him who speaks to our heart and helps us to discern to understand the path we ought to take and once the decision is made to move forward to remain faithful in terms of logic conscience can be viewed as the practical conclusion of a moral syllogism whose major premise as an objective norm and whose minor premise as a particular case or situation to which the norm is applied thus Catholics are taught to carefully educate themselves as to revealed norms and norms derived therefrom so as to form a correct conscience Catholics are also to examine their conscience daily and with special care before confession Catholic teaching holds that man has the right to act according to his conscience and in freedom so is personally to make moral decisions he must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience especially in religious matters this right of conscience does not allow one to arbitrarily disagree with church teaching and claim that one is acting in accordance with conscience a sincere conscience presumes one is diligently seeking moral truth from authentic sources that as seeking to conform oneself to that moral truth by listening to the authority established by Christ to teach it nevertheless despite one's best effort IT can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed this ignorant can often be imputed to personal responsibility in such cases the person is culpable for the wrong he commits thus if one realizes when may have made a mistake in judgment one's conscience is said to be Vince ibly erroneous and it is not a valid norm for action one must first remove the source of error and do one's best to achieve a correct judgment if however one is not aware of one's error or if despite an honest and diligent effort one cannot remove the error by study or seeking advice then one's conscience may be said to be invincibly erroneous it binds since when has subjective certainty that one is correct the act resulting from acting on the invincibly erroneous conscience is not good in itself yet this deformed act or material sinned against God's right order and the objective norm is not imputed to the person the formal obedience given to such a judgment of conscience as good some Catholics appeal to conscience in order to justify dissent not on the level of conscience properly understood but on the level of the principles and norms which are supposed to inform conscience for example some priests may come the use of the so-called internal forum solution which is not sanctioned by the Magisterium to justify actions or lifestyles incompatible with church teaching such as Christ's prohibition of remarriage after divorce or sexual activity outside marriage the Catholic Church has warned that rejection of the church's Authority and her teaching can be at the source of errors in judgment in moral conduct an example of someone following his conscience to the point of accepting the consequence of being condemned to death as Sir Thomas More 1478 to 1535 a theologian who wrote on the distinction between the sense of duty and the moral sense has two aspects of conscience and who saw the former as some feeling that can only be explained by a divine lawgiver was John Henry Cardinal Newman a well-known saying of him is that he would first toast on his conscience and only then on the Pope since his conscience brought him to acknowledge the authority of the Pope Judaism arguably does not require in compromising obedience to religious authority the case has been made that throughout Jewish history rabbis have circumvented laws they found unconscionable such as capital punishment similarly although an occupation with national destiny has been central to the Jewish faith see Zionism many scholars including Moses Mendelssohn stated that conscience as a personal revelation of scriptural truth was an important adjunct to the Talmudic tradition the concept of inner light in the religious Society of Friends or Quakers as associated with conscience Freemasonry describes itself as providing an adjunct to religion and key symbols found in a freemason Lodge are the squaring compasses explained as providing lessons that Mason's should square their actions by the square of conscience learn to circumscribe their desires and keep their passions within do bounds toward all mankind quote the historian Manning Clarke viewed conscience as one of the comforters that religion placed between man and death but also a crucial part of the quest for grace encouraged by the book of Job and the book of Ecclesiastes leading us to be paradoxically closest to the truth when we suspect that what matters most in life being there when everyone suddenly understands what it has all been for can never happen Leo Tolstoy after a decade studying the issue 1877 to 1887 held that the only power capable of resisting the evil associated with materialism and the drive for social power of religious institutions was the capacity of humans to reach an individual spiritual truth through reason and conscience many prominent religious works about conscience also have a significant philosophical component examples are the works of al-ghazali Avicenna aquinas Joseph Butler and Dietrich Bonhoeffer all discussed in the philosophical views section topic secular the secular approach to conscience includes psychological physiological sociological humanitarian and authoritarian views Lawrence Kohlberg considered critical conscience to be an important psychological stage in the proper moral development of humans associated with the capacity to rationally waive principles of responsibility being best encouraged in the very young by linkage with humorous personifications such as Jiminy Cricket and later in adolescents by debates about individually pertinent moral dilemmas Erik Erikson placed the development of conscience in the preschooler phase of his eight stages of normal human personality development the psychologist Martha stout terms conscience an intervening sense of obligation based in our emotional attachments thus a good conscience is associated with feelings of integrity psychological wholeness and peacefulness and is often described using adjectives such as quiet clear and easy Sigmund Freud regarded conscience as originating psychologically from the growth of civilization which periodically frustrated the external expression of aggression this destructive impulse being forced to seek an alternative healthy outlet directed its energy as a super-ego against the person's own ego or selfishness often taking its cue in this regard from parents during childhood according to Freud the consequence of not obeying our conscience is guilt which can be a factor in the development of neurosis Freud claimed that both the cultural and individual super-ego set up strict ideal demands with regard to the moral aspects of certain decisions disobedience too which provokes a fear of conscience Antonio Damasio considers conscience an aspect of extended consciousness beyond survival related dispositions and incorporating the search for truth and desire to build norms and ideals for behavior topic conscience as a society forming instinct Michell Glatt ear argues that conscience is one of the instincts and drives which enable people to form society's groups of humans without these drives or in whom they are insufficient cannot form societies and do not reproduce their kind as successfully as those that do Charles Darwin considered that conscience evolved in humans to resolve conflicts between competing natural impulses some about self-preservation but others about safety of a family or community the claim of conscience to moral authority emerged from the greater duration of impression of social instincts in the struggle for survival in such a view behavior destructive to a person society either to its structures or to the person's it comprises is bad or evil thus conscience can be viewed as an outcome of those biological drives that prompt humans to avoid provoking fear or contempt in others being experienced as guilt and shame in differing ways from society to society in person to person a requirement of conscience in this view is the capacity to see ourselves from the point of view of another person persons unable to do this psychopaths sociopaths narcissists therefore often act in ways which are evil fundamental in this view of conscience is that humans consider some other as being in a social relationship thus nationalism has invoked in conscience to quilt tribal conflict and the notion of a brotherhood of man has invoked to quell national conflicts yet such crowd drives may not only overwhelm but redefine individual conscience Friedrich Nietzsche stated communal solidarity is annihilated by the highest and strongest drives that when they break out passionately with the individual far past the average low level of the herd conscience Jeremy Bentham noted that fanaticism never sleeps it is never stopped by conscience for it has pressed conscience into its service hannah errant in her study of the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem notes that the accused as with almost all his fellow Germans had lost track of his conscience to the point where they hardly remembered it this wasn't caused by familiarity with atrocities or by psychologically redirecting any resultant natural pity to themselves for having to bear such an unpleasant Duty so much as by the fact that anyone whose conscience did develop doubts could see no one who shared them Eichmann did not need to close his ears to the voice of conscience not because he had none but because his conscience spoke with a respectable voice with the voice of the respectable society around him Sir Arthur Keith in 1948 developed the Amity and MIDI complex we evolved this tribal group surrounded by enemies thus conscience evolved a dual role the duty to save and protect members of the in-group and the duty to show hatred and aggression towards any out group an interesting area of research in this context concerns the similarities between our relationships and those of animals whether animals in human society pets working animals even animals grown for food or in the wild one idea is that as people or animals perceive a social relationship as important to preserve their conscience begins to respect that former other and urge actions that protect it similarly in complex territorial and cooperative breeding bird communities such as the Australian magpie that have a high degree of etiquette rules hierarchies play songs and negotiations rule-breaking seems tolerated on occasions not obviously related to survival of the individual or group behavior often appearing to exhibit a touching gentleness and tenderness topic evolutionary biology contemporary scientists in evolutionary biology seek to explain conscience as a function of the brain that evolved to facilitate altruism within societies in his book The God Delusion Richard Dawkins states that he agrees with Robert hens why good as good Michael Shermer is the science of good and evil Robert Buchman's can we be good without God and Mark Hauser's moral Minds that our sense of right and wrong can be derived from our Darwinian past he subsequently reinforced this idea through the lens of the gene-centred view of evolution since the unit of natural selection is neither an individual organism nor a group but rather the selfish gene and these genes could insure their own selfish survival by inter alia pushing individuals to act altruistically towards its kin topic neuroscience and artificial conscience numerous case studies of brain damage have shown that damage to areas of the brain such as the anterior prefrontal cortex results in the reduction or elimination of inhibitions with a corresponding radical change in behavior when the damage occurs to adults they may still be able to perform moral reasoning but when it occurs to children they may never develop that ability attempts have been made by neuroscientists to locate the freewill necessary for what is termed the veto of conscience over unconscious mental processes see neuroscience of freewill and Benjamin Libet in a scientifically measurable awareness of an intention to carry out an act occurring 350 to 400 micro seconds after the electrical discharge known as the readiness potential Jacques Patrat claims that some kind of artificial conscience is beneficial in artificial intelligence systems to improve their long-term performance and direct their introspective processing topic philosophical the word conscience derives etymologically from the latin conscientia meaning privity of knowledge or with knowledge the English word implies internal awareness of a moral standard in the mind concerning the quality of one's motives as well as a consciousness of our own actions thus conscience considered philosophically may be first and perhaps most commonly a largely unexamined gut feeling or vague sense of guilt about what ought to be or should have been done conscience in this sense is not necessarily the product of a process of rational consideration of the moral features of a situation or the applicable normative principles rules are lost and can arise from parental peer group religious state or corporate indoctrination which may or may not be presently consciously acceptable to the person traditional conscience conscience may be defined as the practical reason employed when applying moral convictions to a situation critical conscience in purportedly morally mature mystical people who have developed this capacity through daily contemplation or meditation combined with selfless service to others critical conscience can be aided by a spark of intuitive insight or revelation called maratha in Islamic Sufi philosophy and cinder esis in medieval christian scholastic moral philosophy conscience is accompanied in each case by an internal awareness of inner light and approbation or inner darkness and condemnation as well as a resulting conviction of right or duty either followed or declined topic medieval the medieval Islamic scholar and mystic al-ghazali divided the concept of nafse soul or self spirituality into three categories based on the Quran nafse amara 1253 which exhorts when to freely indulge in gratifying passions and instigates to do evil nos llama 75 – – which us the conscience that directs man towards right or wrong nafse mutt Maina 89 to 27 which as a self that reaches the ultimate peace the medieval Persian philosopher and physician Muhammad eben Zakaria al-razi believed in a close relationship between conscience or spiritual integrity and physical health rather than being self-indulgent man should pursue knowledge use his intellect and apply justice in his life the medieval Islamic philosopher Avicenna whilst imprisoned in the castle of fart ajahn near Hamedan wrote his famous isolated but awake floating man sensory-deprivation thought experiment to explore the ideas of human self awareness and the substantiality of the soul his hypothesis being that it is through intelligence particularly the active intellect that God communicates truth to the human mind or conscience according to the Islamic Sufis conscience allows Allah to guide people to the maratha the peace or light upon light experienced where a Muslims prayers lead to a melting away of the self in the inner knowledge of God this foreshadowing the eternal paradise depicted in the Quran some medieval Christian scholastics such as Bonaventure made a distinction between conscience as a rational Faculty of the mind practical reason and inner awareness and intuitive spark to do good called Synder esis arising from a remnant appreciation of absolute good and when consciously denied for example to perform an evil act becoming a source of inner torment early modern theologians such as William Perkins and William Ames developed a syllogistic understanding of the conscience where God's law made the first term the act to be judged the second and the action of the conscience as a rational faculty produced the judgment by debating test cases applying such understanding conscience was trained and refined ie casuistry in the 13th century Saint Thomas Aquinas regarded conscience as the application of moral knowledge to a particular case st i q– 79 a 13 thus conscience was considered an act or judgment of practical reason that began with Synder esis the structured development of our innate remnant awareness of absolute good which he categorized as involving the five primary precepts proposed in his theory of natural law into an acquired habit of applying moral principles according to singer Aquinas held that conscience or conscientia was an imperfect process of judgment applied to activity because knowledge of the natural law and all acts of natural virtue implicit therein was obscured in most people by education and custom that promoted selfishness rather than fellow-feeling Summa theologia I – I Aquinas also discussed conscience in relation to the virtue of prudence to explain why some people appear to be less morally enlightened than others their weak will being incapable of adequately balancing their own needs with those of others Aquinas reasoned that acting contrary to conscience is an evil action but an arrant conscience is only blameworthy if it is the result of culpable or vincible ignorant of factors that one has a duty to have knowledge of Aquinas also argued that conscience should be educated to act towards real goods from God which encouraged human flourishing rather than the apparent Goods of sensory pleasures in his commentary on Aristotle's Nicomachean ethics Aquinas claimed it was weak well that allowed a non virtuous man to choose a principle allowing pleasure ahead of one requiring moral constraint Thomas a Kempis in the medieval contemplative classic the imitation of Christ CA 1418 stated that the glory of a good man is the witness of a good conscience preserve a quiet conscience and you will always have joy a quiet conscience can endure much and remains joyful in all trouble but an evil conscience is always fearful and uneasy the anonymous medieval author of the Christian mystical work the Cloud of Unknowing similarly expressed the view that in profound and prolonged contemplation of soul dries up the root and ground of the sin that is always there even after one's confession and however busy one is in holy things therefore whoever would work at becoming a contemplative must first cleanses or her conscience the medieval Flemish mystic John of Ruiz broke likewise held that true conscience has four aspects that are necessary to render a man just in the active and contemplative life a free spirit attracting itself through love an intellect enlightened by grace a delight yielding prepend or inclination and an out flowing losing of oneself in the abyss of that eternal object which is the highest and chief blessedness those lofty amongst men are absorbed in it and immersed in a certain boundless thing topic modern Benedictus Spinoza in his ethics published after his death in 1677 argued that most people even those that consider themselves to exercise free will make moral decisions on the basis of imperfect sensory information inadequate understanding of their mind and will as well as emotions which are both outcomes of their contingent physical existence and forms of thought defective from being chiefly impelled by self-preservation the solution according to Spinoza was to gradually increase the capacity of our reason to change the forms of thought produced by emotions and to fall in love with viewing problems requiring moral decision from the perspective of eternity thus living a life of peaceful conscience means to Spinoza that reason is used to generate adequate ideas where the mind increasingly sees the world in its conflicts our desires and passions subspecies I drew notice that is without reference to time Hegel's obscure and mystical philosophy of mind held that the absolute right of freedom of conscience facilitates human understanding of an all-embracing unity and absolute which was rational real and true nevertheless Hegel thought that a functioning state would always be tempted not to recognize conscience in its form of subjective knowledge just as similar non objective opinions are generally rejected in science a similar idealist notion was expressed in the writings of Joseph Butler who argued that conscience as God given should always be obeyed is intuitive and should be considered the constitutional monarch and the universal moral faculty conscience does not only offer itself to show us the way we should walk in but it likewise carries its own Authority with it Butler advanced ethical speculation by referring to a duality of regulated principles in human nature first self-love seeking individual happiness and second benevolence compassion and seeking good for another in conscience also linked to the agape of situational ethics conscience tended to be more authoritative in questions of moral judgment thought Butler because it was more likely to be clear and certain whereas calculations of self-interest tended to probable and changing conclusions John Selden in his tabletalk expressed the view that an awake but excessively scrupulous or ill trained conscience could hinder resolve and practical action it being like a horse that is not well weight he starts at every bird that flies out of the hedge as the sacred texts of ancient Hindu and Buddhist philosophy became available in German translations in the 18th and 19th centuries they influenced philosophers such as Schopenhauer to hold that in a healthy mind only deeds oppress our conscience not wishes and thoughts for it is only our deeds that hold us up to the mirror of our well the good conscience thought Schopenhauer we experienced after every disinterested deed arises from direct recognition of our own inner being in the phenomenon of another it affords us the verification that our true self exists not only in our own person this particular manifestation but in everything that lives by this the heart feels itself enlarged as by egotism it is contracted Immanuel Kant a central figure of the Age of Enlightenment likewise claimed that two things filled his mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe the oftener and more steadily they were reflected on the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me the latter begins from my invisible self my personality and exhibits me in a world which has true infinity but which I recognized myself as existing in a universal and necessary and not only as in the first case contingent connection the universal connection referred to here as Kent's categorical imperative act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time well that it should become a universal law Kant considered critical conscience to be an internal court in which our thoughts accuse or excuse one another he acknowledged that morally mature people do often describe contentment or peace in the soul after following conscience to perform a duty but argued that for such acts to produce virtue their primary motivation should simply be Duty not expectation of any such bliss Rousseau expressed a similar view that conscience somehow connected man to a greater metaphysical unity John play Manette's in his critical examination of Russo's work considered that conscience was there defined as the feeling that urges us in spite of contrary passions towards two harmonies the one within our minds and between our passions and the other within society and between its members the weakest can appeal to it in the strongest and the appeal though often unsuccessful is always disturbing however corrupted by power or wealth we may be either as possessors of them or as victims there is something in us serving to remind us that this corruption is against nature other philosophers expressed a more skeptical and pragmatic view of the operation of conscience in society Jon luck in his essays on the law of nature argued that the widespread fact of human conscience allowed a philosopher to infer the necessary existence of objective moral laws that occasionally might contradict those of the state Locke highlighted the meta ethics problem of whether accepting a statement like follow your conscience supports Objectivist or Objectivist conceptions of conscience as a guide in concrete morality or is a spontaneous revelation of eternal and immutable principles to the individual if conscience be a proof of innate principles contraries may be innate principles since some men with the same bent of conscience prosecute what others avoid Thomas Hobbes likewise pragmatically noted that opinions formed on the basis of conscience with full and honest conviction nevertheless should always be accepted with humility as potentially erroneous and not necessarily indicating absolute knowledge or truth William Godwin expressed the view that conscience was a memorable consequence of the perception by men of every Creed when the descent into the scene of busy life that they possessed free will Adam Smith considered that it was only by developing a critical conscience that we can ever see what relates to ourselves in its proper shape and dimensions or that we can ever make any proper comparison between our own interests and those of other people John Stuart Mill believed that idealism about the role of conscience in government should be tempered with a practical realization that few men in society are capable of directing their minds or purposes towards distant or unobvious interests of disinterested regard for others and especially for what comes after them for the idea of posterity of their country or of humanity whether grounded on sympathy or on a conscientious feeling Mill held that certain amount of conscience and a disinterested public spirit may fairly be calculated on in the citizens of any community ripe for representative government but that it would be ridiculous to expect such a degree of it combined with such intellectual dissent as would be proof against any plausible fallacy tending to make that which was for their class interest appear the dictate of justice and of the general good Josiah Royce 1855 to 1916 built on the transcendental idealism view of conscience viewing it as the ideal of life which constitutes our moral personality our plan of being our self of making common sense ethical decisions but he thought this was only true insofar as our conscience also required loyalty to a mysterious higher or deeper self in the modern Christian tradition this approach achieved expression with Dietrich Bonhoeffer who stated during his imprisonment by the Nazis in world war ii that conscience for him was more than practical reason indeed it came from a depth which lies beyond a man's own will and his own reason and it makes itself heard as the call of human existence to unity with itself for Bonhoeffer a guilty conscience arose as an indictment of the loss of this unity and as a warning against the loss of one's self primarily he thought it is directed not towards a particular kind of doing but towards a particular mode of being it protests against a doing which imperils the unity of this being with itself conscience for Bonhoeffer did not like shame embrace her passed judgment on the morality of the whole of its owner's life it reacted only to certain definite actions it recalls what has long passed and represents this disunion as something which has already accomplished and ii reparable the man with a conscience he believed fights a lonely battle against the overwhelming forces of inescapable situations which demand moral decisions despite the likelihood of adverse consequences Simon Sullivan chick has similarly claimed that the truth distributed in the world as the statement about human dignity as the affirmation of the line between good and evil lives in people as conscience as Hannah Aaron pointed out however following the utilitarian John Stuart Mill on this point a bad conscience does not necessarily signify a bad character in fact only those who affirm a commitment to applying moral standards will be troubled with remorse guilt or shame by a bad conscience and their need to regain integrity and wholeness of the self representing our soul our true self by analogy as our house Aaron wrote that chances the anticipation of the fellow who awaits you if and when you come home Aaron believed that people who are unfamiliar with the process of silent critical reflection about what they say and do will not mind contradicting themselves by an immoral act or crime since they can count on its being forgotten the next moment bad people are not full of regrets Aaron also wrote eloquently on the problem of languages distinguishing the word consciousness from conscience one reason she held was that conscience as we understand it in moral or legal matters is supposedly always present within us just like consciousness and this conscience is also supposed to tell us what to do and what to repent before it became the lumen natural or cants practical reason it was the voice of God Albert Einstein as a self-professed adherent of humanism and rationalism likewise viewed an enlightened religious person as one whose conscience reflects that he has to the best of his ability liberated himself from the fetters of his selfish desires and is preoccupied with thoughts feelings and aspirations to which he clings because of their super personal value Einstein often referred to that inner voice as a source of both moral and physical knowledge quantum mechanics is very impressive but an inner voice tells me that it is not the real thing the theory produces a good deal but hardly brings one closer to the secrets of the old one I am at all events convinced that he does not play dice simone weil who fought for the French Resistance the Maquis argued in her final book the need for roots prelude to a declaration of duties towards mankind that for society to become more just and protective of liberty obligations should take precedence over rights in moral and political philosophy and a spiritual awakening should occur in the conscience of most citizens so that social obligations are viewed as fundamentally having a transcendent origin and a beneficent impact on human character when fulfilled Simone Weil also in that work provided a psychological explanation for the mental peace associated with a good conscience the liberty of men of goodwill though limited in the sphere of action is complete in that of conscience for having incorporated the rules into their own being the prohibited possibilities no longer present themselves to the mind and have not to be rejected alternatives to such metaphysical and idealist opinions about conscience arose from realist and materialist perspectives such as those of Charles Darwin Darwin suggested that any animal whatever endowed with well-marked social instincts the parental and filial affections being here included would inevitably acquire a moral sense or conscience as soon as its intellectual powers had become as well or as nearly as well developed as in man Emile Durkheim held that the soul and conscience were particulars of an impersonal principle diffused in the relevant group and communicated by totemic ceremonies a Jair was a more recent realist who held that the existence of conscience was an empirical question to be answered by sociological research into the moral habits of a given person or group of people and what causes them to have precisely those habits and feelings such an inquiry he believed fell wholly within the scope of the existing social sciences George Edward Moore bridged the idea ballistic and sociological views of critical and traditional conscience in stating that the idea of abstract rightness and the various degrees of the specific emotion excited by it are what constitute for many persons the specifically moral sentiment or conscience for others however an action seems to be properly termed internally right merely because they have previously regarded it as right the idea of rightness being present in some way to his or her mind but not necessarily among his or her deliberately constructed motives the French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir in a very easy death une morte tres Deus 1964 reflects within her own conscience about her mother's attempts to develop such a moral sympathy and understanding of others Michael Walzer claimed that the growth of religious toleration in Western nations arose amongst other things from the general recognition that private conscience signified some inner divine presence regardless of the religious faith professed and from the general respectability piety self limitation and sectarian discipline which marked most of the men who claimed the rights of conscience Walzer also argued that attempts by courts to define conscience as a merely personal moral code or a sincere belief risked encouraging an anarchy of moral egotism unless such a code and motive was necessarily tempered with shared moral knowledge derived either from the connection of the individual to a universal spiritual order or from the common principles and mutual engagements of unselfish people Ronald Dworkin maintains that constitutional protection of freedom of conscience is central to democracy but creates personal duties to live up to it freedom of conscience presupposes a personal responsibility of reflection and it loses much of its meaning when that responsibility is ignored a good life need not be an especially reflective one most of the best lives are just lived rather than studied but there are moments that cry out for self assertion when a passive bowing to fate or a mechanical decision out of deference or convenience as treachery because it forfeits dignity for ease Edward Kahn's stated it is important for individual and collective moral growth that we recognize the illusion of our conscience being wholly located in our body indeed both our conscience and wisdom expand when we act in an unselfish way and converse repressed compassion results in an unconscious sense of guilt the philosopher Peter Singer considers that usually when we describe an action as conscientious in the critical sense we do so in order to deny either that the relevant agent was motivated by selfish desires like greed or ambition or that he acted on whim or impulse moral anti-realists debate whether the moral facts necessary to activate conscience supervene on natural facts with a posteriori necessity or arise a priori because moral facts have a primary intention and naturally identical worlds may be presumed morally identical it has also been argued that there is a measure of moral luck in how circumstances create the obstacles which conscience must overcome to apply moral principles or human rights and that with the benefit of enforceable property rights and the rule of law access to universal health care plus the absence of high adult and infant mortality from conditions such as malaria tuberculosis hiv/aids and famine people in relatively prosperous developed countries have been spared pangs of conscience associated with the physical necessity to steal scraps of food bribe tax inspectors or police officers and commit murder in guerrilla wars against corrupt government forces or rebel armies scrutton has claimed that true understanding of conscience and its relationship with morality has been hampered by an impetuous belief that philosophical questions are solved through the analysis of language in an area where clarity threatens vested interests susan sontag similarly argued that it was a symptom of psychological immaturity not to recognize that many morally immature people willingly experienced a form of delight in some an erotic breaking of taboo when witnessing violence suffering and pain being inflicted on others Jonathan Glover wrote that most of us do not spend our lives on endless landscape gardening of our self and our conscience is likely shaped not so much by heroic struggles as by choice of partner friends and job as well as where we choose to live Garret Hardin in a famous article called tragedy of the Commons argued that any instance in which society appeals to an individual exploiting a commons to restrain himself or herself for the general good by means of his or her conscience merely sets up a system which by selectively to hurting societal power and physical resources to those lacking in conscience while fostering guilt including anxiety about his or her individual contribution to overpopulation in people acting upon it actually works toward the elimination of conscience from the race John Ralston Saul expressed the view in the unconscious civilization that in contemporary developed nations many people have acquiesced in turning over their sense of right and wrong they're critical conscience to technical experts willingly restricting their moral freedom of choice to limited consumer actions ruled by the ideology of the free market while citizen participation in public affairs is limited to the isolated act of voting and private interest lobbying turns even elected representatives against the public interest some argue on religious or philosophical grounds that it is blameworthy to act against conscience even if the judgment of conscience is likely to be erroneous say because it is inadequately informed about the facts or prevailing moral humanist or religious professional ethical legal and human rights norms failure to acknowledge and accept that conscientious judgments can be seriously mistaken may only promote situations where one's conscience is manipulated by others to provide unwarranted justifications for non virtuous and selfish acts indeed insofar as it is appealed to as glorifying ideological content and an associated extreme level of devotion without adequate constraint of external altruistic normative justification conscience may be considered morally blind and dangerous both to the individual concerned and humanity as a whole Langston argues that philosophers of virtue ethics have unnecessarily neglected conscience for once conscience has trained so that the principles and rules it applies are those one would want all others to live by its practice cultivates and sustains the virtues indeed amongst people in what each society considers to be the highest state of moral development there is little disagreement about how to act Emmanuel Levinas viewed conscience as a revelatory encountering of resistance to our selfish powers developing morality by calling into question our naive sense of freedom of will to use such powers arbitrarily or with violence this process being more severe the more rigorously the goal of our self was to obtain control in other words the welcoming of the other to Levinas was the very essence of conscience properly conceived it encouraged our ego to accept the fal ability of assuming things about other people that selfish freedom of well does not have the last word and that realizing this has a transcendent purpose I am NOT alone in conscience I have an experience that does not commensurate with any a priori see a priori and a posteriori framework a concept less experienced topic conscientious acts in the law English humanists lawyers in the 16th and 17th centuries interpreted conscience as a collection of universal principles given to man by God at creation to be applied by reason this gradually reforming the medieval Roman law based system with forms of action written pleadings use of juries and patterns of litigation such as demurrer and a subset that displayed an increased concern for elements of right and wrong on the actual facts a conscience vote in a parliament allows legislators to vote without restrictions from any political party to which they may belong in his trial in Jerusalem Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann claimed he was simply following legal orders under paragraph 48 of the German military code which provided punish ability of an action or omission is not excused on the ground that the person considered his behavior required by his conscience are the pre scripts of his religion the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights UDHR which is part of international customary law specifically refers to conscience in articles 1 and 18 likewise the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ICCPR mentions conscience in article 18 . 1 . ALL human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights they are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood everyone has the right to freedom of thought conscience and religion this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom either alone or in community with others and in public or private to manifest his religion or belief in teaching practice worship and observance everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought conscience and religion this right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice and freedom either individually or in community with others and in public or private to manifest his religion or belief in worship observance practice and teaching it has been argued that these articles provide international legal obligations protecting conscientious objectors from service in the military John Rawls in his a theory of justice defines a conscientious objector as an individual prepared to undertake in public and often despite widespread condom nation an action of civil disobedience to a legal rule justifying it also in public by reference to contrary foundational social virtues such as justices liberty or fairness and the principles of morality and law derived from them Rawls considered civil disobedience should be viewed as an appeal warning or admonishment showing general respect and fidelity to the rule of law by the non-violence and transparency of methods adopted that a lob reaches a community's fundamental virtue of justice objections to Rawls theory include first its inability to accommodate conscientious objections to the society's basic appreciation of justice or to emerging moral or ethical principles such as respect for the rights of the natural environment which are not yet part of it and second the difficulty of predictably and consistently determining that a majority decision is just or unjust conscientious objection also called conscientious refusal or evasion to obeying a law should not arise from unreasoning naive traditional conscience for to do so merely encourages infant ill abdication of responsibility to calibrate the law against moral or human rights norms and disrespect for democratic institutions instead it should be based on critical conscience seriously thought-out conceptually mature personal moral or religious beliefs held to be fundamentally incompatible that is not merely inconsistent on the basis of selfish desires whim or impulse for example either with all laws requiring conscription for military service or legal compulsion to fight for or financially support the state in a particular war a famous example arose when henry david thoreau the author of walden was willingly jailed for refusing to pay a tax because he profoundly disagreed with a government policy and was frustrated by the corruption and injustice of the democratic machinery of the state a more recent case concerned Kimberly Rivera a private in the US Army and mother of four children who having served three months in Iraq war decided the conflict was immoral and sought refugee status in Canada in 2012 see list of Iraq war resistors but was deported and arrested in the u.s. in the second world war Great Britain granted conscientious objection status not just to complete pacifists but to those who objected to fighting in that particular war this was done partly out of genuine respect but also to avoid the disgraceful and futile persecutions of conscientious objectors that occurred during the First World War Amnesty International organizes campaigns to protect those arrested and/or incarcerated as a prisoner of conscience because of their conscientious beliefs particularly concerning intellectual political and artistic freedom of expression and Association on San Suu Kyi was the winner of the 2009 Amnesty International ambassador of conscience award in legislation a conscience clause is a provision in a statute that excuses a health professional from complying with the law for example legalizing surgical or pharmaceutical abortion if it is incompatible with religious or conscientious beliefs expressed justifications for refusing to obey laws because of conscience very many conscientious objectors are so for religious reasons notably members of the historic peace churches are pacifist by doctrine other objections can stem from a deep sense of responsibility toward humanity as a whole or from the conviction that even acceptance of work under military orders acknowledges the principle of conscription that should be everywhere condemned before the world can ever become safe for real democracy a conscientious objector however does not have a primary aim of changing the law John Dewey considered that conscientious objectors were often the victims of moral innocency and an expert ness in moral training the moving force of events as always too much for conscience the remedy was not to deplore the wickedness of those who manipulate world power but to connect conscience with forces moving in another direction to build institutions and social environments predicated on the rule of law for example then will conscience itself have compulsive power instead of being forever the martyred and the coerced as an example Albert Einstein who had advocated conscientious objection during the First World War and had been a long-term supporter of war resisters international reason that radical pacifism could not be justified in the face of Nazi rearmament and advocated a world Federalist organization with its own professional army Samuel Johnson pointed out that an appeal to conscience should not allow the law to bring unjust suffering a on another conscience according to Johnson was nothing more than a conviction felt by ourselves of something to be done or something to be avoided in questions of simple and perplexed morality conscience is very often a guide that may be trusted but before conscience can conclusively determine what morally should be done he thought that the state of the question should be thoroughly known no man's conscience said Johnson can tell him the right of another man it is a conscience very ill inform that violates the rights of one man for the convenience of another civil disobedience as nonviolent protest or civil resistance are also acts of conscience but are designed by those who undertake them chiefly to change by appealing to the majority and democratic processes laws or government policies perceived to be incoherent with fundamental social virtues and principles such as justice equality or respect for intrinsic human dignity civil disobedience in a properly functioning democracy allows a minority who feels strongly that Allah infringes their sense of justice but have no capacity to obtain legislative amendments or a referendum on the issue to make a potentially apathetic or uninformed majority take account of the intensity of opposing views a notable example of civil resistance or satyagraha Sadia in sanskrit means truth and compassion agraja means firmness of will involved mahatma gandhi making salt in india when that act was prohibited by a british statute in order to create moral pressure for law reform Rosa Parks similarly acted on conscience in 1955 in Montgomery Alabama refusing a legal order to give up her seat to make room for a white passenger her action and the similar earlier act of 15 year-old Claudette Colvin leading to the Montgomery bus boycott Rachel Corrie was a US citizen allegedly killed by a bulldozer operated by the Israel Defense Forces IDF while involved in direct action based on the nonviolent principles of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi to prevent demolition of the home of local Palestinian pharmacist Samir nasrallah all Gore has argued if you're a young person looking at the future of this planet and looking at what is being done right now and not done I believe we have reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience to prevent the construction of new coal plants that do not have carbon capture and sequestration in 2011 NASA climate scientist James E Hanson environmental leader Phil Radford and professor Bill McKibben were arrested for opposing a tar sands oil pipeline and Canadian renewable energy professor Mark jacquard was arrested for opposing mountain top coal mining in his book storms of my grandchildren Hansen calls for similar civil resistance on a global scale to help replace the business-as-usual Kyoto Protocol cap-and-trade system with a progressive carbon tax and emission source on the oil gas and coal industries revenue being paid as dividends to low carbon footprint families notable historical examples of conscientious non-compliance in a different professional context included the manipulation of the visa process in 1939 by Japanese consul general Chiune Sugihara in Kaunas the temporary capital of Lithuania between Germany and the Soviet Union and by Raoul Wallenberg in Hungary in 1944 to allow Jews to escape almost certain death who functioned the Chinese consul general in Vienna in 1939 defied orders from the Chinese ambassador in Berlin to issue Jews with visas for Shanghai John rabe a German member of the Nazi Party likewise saved thousands of Chinese from Massacre by the Japanese military at Nanking the White Rose German student movement against the Nazis declared in their forth leaflet we will not be silent we are your bad conscience the white rose will not leave you in peace conscientious non compliance may be the only practical option for citizens wishing to affirm the existence of an international moral order or Court historical rights such as the right to life right to a fair trial and freedom of opinion in states where nonviolent protest or civil disobedience are met with prolonged arbitrary detention torture forced disappearance murder or persecution the controversial Milgram experiment into obedience by Stanley Milgram showed that many people lack the psychological resources to openly resist Authority even when they are directed to act callously and inhumanely against an innocent victim Topic world conscience world conscience is the Universalist idea that with ready global communication all people on earth will no longer be morally estranged from one another whether it be culturally ethnically or geographically instead they will conceive ethics from the utopian point of view of the universe eternity or infinity rather than have their duties and obligations defined by forces arising solely within the restrictive boundaries of blood and territory often this derives from a spiritual or natural law perspective that for world peace to be achieved conscience properly understood should be generally considered as not necessarily linked often destructively to fundamentalist religious ideologies but as an aspect of universal consciousness access to which is the common heritage of humanity thinking predicated on the development of world conscience is common to members of the global eco village networks such as the Findhorn foundation international conservation organizations like fauna and flora international as well as performers of world music such as Allen style non-government organizations particularly through their work in agenda-setting policymaking an implementation of human rights related policy have been referred to as the conscience of the world Edward o Wilson has developed the idea of consilience to encourage coherence of global moral and scientific knowledge supporting the premise that only unified learning universally shared makes accurate foresight and wise choice possible thus world conscience is a concept that overlaps with the Gaia hypothesis in advocating a balance of moral legal scientific and economic solutions to modern transnational problems such as global poverty and climate change through strategies such as environmental ethics climate ethics natural conservation ecology cosmopolitanism sustainability and sustainable development bio sequestration and legal protection of the biosphere and biodiversity the NGO 3 500 org for example seeks to attract world conscience to the problems associated with elevation in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations the microcredit initiatives of Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus have been described as inspiring a war on poverty that blends social conscience and business savvy the Green Party politician Bob Brown who was arrested by the Tasmanian State Police for a conscientious act of civil disobedience during the Franklin dam protests expresses world conscience in these terms the universe through us is evolving towards experiencing understanding and making choices about its future one example of policy outcomes from such thinking being a global tax see Tobin tax to alleviate global poverty and protect the biosphere amounting to one tenth of one percent placed on the worldwide speculative currency market such an approach sees world conscience best expressing itself through political reforms promoting democratically based globalization or planetary democracy for example internet voting for global governance organizations see world government based on the model of one person one vote one value which gradually will replace contemporary market-based globalization the American cardiologist Bernard lown and the Russian cardiologist yevgeni Chaza were motivated in conscience through studying the catastrophic public health consequences of nuclear war in establishing international physicians for the Prevention of nuclear war ippnw which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 and continues to work to heal and ailing planet worldwide expressions of conscience contributed to the decision of the French government to halt atmospheric nuclear tests at Mururoa in the Pacific in 1974 after 41 such explosions although below ground nuclear tests continued there into the 1990s a challenge to world conscience was provided by an influential 1968 article by Garrett Hardin that critically analysed the dilemma in which multiple individuals acting independently after rationally consulting self-interest and he claimed the apparently low survival of the fittest value of conscience led actions ultimately destroy a shared limited resource even though each acknowledges such an outcome as not in anyone's long-term interest hardens conclusion that Commons areas are practically achievable only in conditions of low population density and so their continuance requires state restriction on the freedom to breed created controversy additionally through his direct deprecation of the role of conscience in achieving individual decisions policies and laws that facilitate global justice and peace as well as sustainability and sustainable development of world Commons areas for example including those officially designated such under United Nations treaties see common heritage of humanity areas designated common heritage of humanity under international law include the moon outer space deep seabed Antarctica the world cultural and natural heritage see world heritage convention in the human genome it will be a significant challenge for world conscience that is world oil coal mineral timber agricultural and water reserves are depleted there will be increasing pressure to commercially exploit common heritage of mankind areas the philosopher Peter Singer has argued that the United Nations Millennium Development Goals represent the emergence of an ethics based not on national boundaries but on the idea of one world Ninian Smart has similarly predicted that the increase in global travel and communication will gradually draw the world's religions towards a pluralistic and transcendental humanism characterized by an open spirit of empathy and compassion Noam Chomsky has argued that forces opposing the development of such a world conscience include free-market ideologies that valorize corporate greed in nominal electoral democracies where advertising shopping malls and indebtedness shaped citizens into apathetic consumers in relation to information and access necessary for democratic participation John Palmer has argued that mystical considerations about the global expansion of all human consciousness should take into account that if as a species we do become something much superior to what we are now it will be as a consequence of conscience not only implanting a goal of moral perfect ability but assisting us to remain periodically anxious passionate and discontented for these are necessary components of care and compassion the Committee on conscience of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum has targeted genocides such as those in Rwanda Bosnia Darfur the Congo and Chechnya as challenges to the world's conscience Oscar Arias Sanchez has criticized global arms industry spending as a failure of conscience by nation states when a country decides to invest in arms rather than in education how the environment and health services for its people it is depriving a whole generation of its right to prosperity and happiness we have produced one firearm for every ten inhabitants of this planet and yet we have not bothered to end hunger when such a feed as well within our reach this is not a necessary or inevitable state of affairs it is a deliberate choice see campaign against arms trade US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi after meeting with the 14th Dalai Lama during the 2008 violent protests in Tibet and aftermath said the situation in Tibet as a challenge to the conscience of the world Nelson Mandela through his example and words has been described as having shaped the conscience of the world the Right Livelihood award has awarded yearly in Sweden to those people mostly strongly motivated by conscience who have made exemplary practical contributions to resolving the great challenges facing our planet and its people in 2009 for example along with Katherine Hamlin obstetric fistula and C fistula foundation David Suzuki promoting awareness of climate change and Alan where nuclear disarmament Rene Ngong NGO shared the Right Livelihood award for his courage in confronting the forces that are destroying the Congo basins rainforests and building political support for their conservation and sustainable use avaaz is one of the largest global online organizations launched in January 2007 to promote conscience driven activism on issues such as climate change human rights animal rights corruption poverty and conflict thus closing the gap between the world we have in the world most people everywhere want you topic notable examples of modern acts based on conscience in a notable contemporary act of conscience Kristian Bush Walker Brenda Hien protested against the flooding of Lake Pedder despite threats and that ultimately lead to her death another was the campaign by Ken saro-wiwa against oil extraction by multinational corporations in Nigeria that led to his execution so too was the act by the tank man or the unknown rebel photographed holding his shopping bag in the path of tanks during the protests at Beijing's Tiananmen Square on the 5th of June 1989 the actions of United Nations secretary-general DAG hammarskjöld to try and achieve peace in the Congo despite the eventuated threat to his life were strongly motivated by conscience as is reflected in his diary bag marking markings another example involved the actions of Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson jr. to try and prevent the My Lai massacre in the Vietnam War evan pendrick voluntarily confessed and was convicted of the sydney Hilton bombing stating that his conscience could not tolerate the guilt in that I guess I was quite unique in the prison system in that I had to keep proving my guilt whereas everyone else said they were innocent Vasili arkhipov was a Russian naval officer on out of radio contact Soviet submarine b-59 being depth-charged by US warships during the Cuban Missile Crisis whose descent when two other officers decided to launch a nuclear torpedo unanimous agreement to lunch was required may have averted a nuclear war in 1963 Buddhist monk thich Quang Duc performed a famous act of self-immolation to protest against alleged persecution of his faith by the Vietnamese go Dinh Diem regime conscience played a major role in the actions by anesthetist Stephen bowls into Wisla blow see list of whistleblowers an incompetent pediatric cardiac surgeons at the Bristol Royal Infirmary Jeffrey Wigand was motivated by conscience to expose the big tobacco scandal revealing that executives of the companies knew that cigarettes were addictive and approved the addition of carcinogenic ingredients to the cigarettes David Graham a Food and Drug Administration employee was motivated by conscience to whistleblow that the arthritis pain reliever Vioxx increased the risk of cardiovascular deaths although the manufacturer suppressed this information rick Piltz from the u.s. climate change science program blew the whistle on a White House official who ignored majority scientific opinion to edit a climate change report our changing planet to reflect the Bush administration's view that the problem was unlikely to exist Monday dar al Zadie and Iraqi journalist was imprisoned and allegedly tortured for his act of conscience in throwing his shoes at George W Bush Mordechai Vanunu an Israeli former nuclear technician acted on conscience to reveal details of Israel's nuclear weapons program to the British press in 1986 was kidnapped by Israeli agents transported to Israel convicted of treason and spent 18 years in prison including more than 11 years in solitary confinement at the awards ceremony for the 200 meters at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City John Carlos Tommie Smith and Peter Norman ignored death threats and official warnings to take part in an anti-racism protest that destroyed their respective careers w mark felt an agent of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation who retired in 1973 as the bureau's Associate Director acted on conscience to provide reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein with information that resulted in the Watergate scandal conscience was a major factor in US Public Health Service Officer Peter Buxton revealing the Tuskegee syphilis experiment to the public the 2008 attack by the Israeli military on civilian areas of Palestinian Gaza was described as a stain on the world's conscience conscience was a major factor in the refusal of Aung San Suu Kyi house arrest and persecution by the military dictatorship in that country conscience was a factor in Peter Galbraith's criticism of fraud in the 2009 Afghanistan election despite it costing him his United Nations job conscience motivated bunneh Team Green House to expose irregularities in the contracting of the Halliburton company for work in Iraq Najee Al Ahly a popular cartoon artist in the Arab world loved for his defense of the ordinary people and for his criticism of repression and despotism by both the Israeli military and Yasser Arafat's PLO was murdered for refusing to compromise with his conscience the journalist Anna Politkovskaya provided prior to her murder an example of conscience in her opposition to the Second Chechen war and then Russian President Vladimir Putin conscience motivated the Russian human rights activist natalia esther morover who was abducted and murdered in Grozny Chechnya in 2009 the death of Neda agha-soltan arose from conscience driven protests against the 2009 Iranian presidential election female Muslim lawyer Shirin Ebadi winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize has been described as the conscience of the Islamic Republic for her work in protecting the human rights of women and children in Iran the human rights lawyer gauja Shan often referred to as the conscience of China and who had previously been arrested and allegedly tortured by the Chinese regime for defending members of the Falun Gong was abducted by Chinese security agents on the 4th of February 2009 and has not been seen since 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo in his final statement before being sentenced by a closed Chinese Court to over a decade in jail as a political prisoner of conscience stated for hatred as corrosive of a person's wisdom and conscience the mentality of enmity can poison a nation spirit Sergei Magnitsky a lawyer in Russia was arrested held without trial for almost a year and died in custody as a result of exposing corruption on the 6th of October 2001 Laura Whittle was a naval gunner on HMAS Adelaide FF go1 under orders to implement a new border protection policy when they encountered the c4 suspected illegal entry vessel for refugee boat in choppy seas after being ordered to fire warning shots from her 50 caliber machine gun to make the boat turn back she saw it beginning to break up and sink with a father on board holding out his young daughter that she might be saved see children overboard affair Whittle jumped without a life vest 12 metres into the sea to help save the refugees from drowning thinking this isn't right this isn't how things should be in February 2012 journalist Marie Colvin was deliberately targeted and killed by the Syrian army in Homs during the 2011-2012 Syrian uprising and siege of Homs after she decided to stay at the epicenter of the storm in order to expose what has happened in October 2012 the Taliban organized the attempted murder of Malala yousufzai a teenage girl who had been campaigning despite their threats for female education in Pakistan in December 2012 the 2012 Delhi gang-rape case was said to have stirred the collective conscience of India to civil disobedience and public protests at the lack of legal action against rapists in that country see rape in India in June 2013 Edward Snowden revealed details of a u.s. national security agency internet an electronic communication prism surveillance program because of a conscience felt obligation to the freedom of humanity greater than obedience to the laws that bound his employment topic in literature art film and music the ancient epic of the Indian subcontinent the Mahabharata of Vyasa contains two pivotal moments of conscience the first occurs when the warrior Arjuna being overcome with compassion against killing his opposing relatives in war receives counsel see Bhagavad Gita from Krishna about his spiritual duty work as though you are performing a sacrifice for the general good the second at the end of the saga is when King Yudhisthira having alone survived the moral tests of life is offered eternal bliss only to refuse it because a faithful dog is prevented from coming with him by purported divine rules and laws the French author Montaigne 1533 to 1592 in one of the most celebrated of his essays on experience expressed the benefits of living with a clear conscience our duty is to compose our character not to compose books to win not battles and provinces but order and tranquility in our conduct our great and glorious masterpieces to live properly in his famous Japanese travel journal okuno hosam ichi narrow road to the deep north composed of mixed haiku poetry and prose Matsuo Basho 1644 294 in attempting to describe the eternal in this perishable world has often moved in conscience for example by a thicket of summer grass being all that remains of the dreams and ambitions of ancient warriors Chaucer's Franklin's tale in The Canterbury Tales recounts how a young suitor releases a wife from a rash promise because of the respect in his conscience for the freedom to be truthful gentle and generous the critic AC Bradley discusses the central problem of Shakespeare's tragic character Hamlet as one where conscience in the form of moral scruples deters the young prince with his great anxiety to do right from obeying his father's hellbound ghost and murdering the usurping king I said not perfect conscience to quit him with this arm less than pre greater than slash pre greater than opening parentheses VD point six seven Bradley develops a theory about Hamlet's moral agony relating to a conflict between traditional and critical conscience the conventional moral ideas of his time which he shared with the ghosts told him plainly that he ought to a Benj his father but a deeper conscience in him which was in advance of his time contended with these explicit conventional ideas it is because this deeper conscience remains below the surface that he fails to recognize it and fancies he is hindered by cowardice or sloth or passion or whatnot but it emerges into light in that speech to Horatio and it is just because he has this nobler moral nature in him that we admire and love him the opening words of Shakespeare's sonnet 94 they that have power to hurt and will do none have been admired as a description of conscience so has John Donne's commencement of his poem s good friday 1613 riding westward let man's soul be a sphere and then in this th intelligence that moves devotion us Anton Chekhov in his plays the seagull Uncle Vanya and three sisters describes the tortured emotional states of doctors who at some point in their careers have turned their back on conscience in his short stories Chekhov also explored how people misunderstood the voice of a tortured conscience a promiscuous student for example in the fit describes it as a dull pain indefinite vague it was like anguish and the most acute fear and despair in his breast under the heart and the young doctor examining the misunderstood agony of compassion experienced by the factory owner's daughter and from a casebook calls it an unknown mysterious power in fact close at hand and watching him characteristically Chekhov's own conscience drove him on the long journey to Sakhalin to record and alleviate the harsh conditions of the prisoners at that remote outpost irina radish and skaia writes in the introduction to that work abandoning everything he travelled to the distant island of Sakhalin the most feared place of Exile and forced labour in Russia at that time one cannot help but wonder why simply because the lot of the people there was a bitter one because nobody really knew about the lives and deaths of the exiles because he felt that they stood in greater need of help that anyone else a strange reason maybe but not for a writer who was the epitome of all the best traditions of a Russian man of letters Russian literature has always focused on questions of conscience and was therefore a powerful force in the moulding of public opinion eh car right sab dostoevsky's character the young student Raskolnikov in the novel crime and punishment who decides to murder a vile and loathsome old woman moneylender on the principle of transcending conventional morals the sequel reveals to us not the pangs of a stricken conscience which a less subtle writer would have given us but the tragic and fruitless struggle of a powerful intellect to maintain a conviction which is incompatible with the essential nature of man Hermann Hesse wrote his siddharta to describe how a young man in the time of the Buddha follows his conscience on a journey to discover a transcendent inner space where all things could be unified and simply understood ending up discovering that personal truth through selfless service as a ferryman j.r.r tolkien in his epic The Lord of the Rings describes how only The Hobbit Frodo is pure enough in conscience to carry the ring of power through war-torn Middle earth to destruction in the cracks of doom Frodo determining at the end to journey without weapons and being saved from failure by his earlier decision to spare the life of the creature Gollum Conner Cruz O'Brien wrote that Albert Camus was the writer most representative of the Western consciousness and conscience in its relation to the non-western world Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird portrays Atticus Finch played by Gregory Peck in the classic film from the book see to kill a mockingbird film as a lawyer true to his conscience who sets an example to his children and community the Robert bolt play a man for all seasons focuses on the conscience of Catholic lawyer Thomas More in his struggle with King Henry the eighth the loyal subject has more bounden to be loyal to his conscience than to any other thing George Orwell wrote his novel 1984 on the isolated island of Jura Scotland to describe how a man Winston Smith attempts to develop critical conscience in a totalitarian state which watches every action of the people and manipulates their thinking with a mixture of propaganda endless war and thought controlled through language control doublethink and new speak to the point where prisoners look up to and even love their torturers in the Ministry of love Winston's torturer O'Brien states you are imagining that there is something called human nature which will be outraged by what we do and will turn against us but we create human nature men are infinitely malleable a tapestry copy of Picasso's Guernica depicting a massacre of innocent women and children during the Spanish Civil War as displayed on the wall of the United Nations building in New York City at the entrance to the Security Council room demonstrably as a spur to the conscience of representatives from the nation states Albert Tucker painted man's head to capture the moral disintegration and lack of conscience of a man convicted of kicking a dog to death the Impressionists painter Vincent van Gogh wrote in a letter to his brother Theo in 1878 that one must never let the fire in one's soul die for the time will inevitably come when it will be needed and he who chooses poverty for himself and loves it possesses a great treasure and will hear the voice of his conscience address him every more clearly he who hears that voice which is God's greatest gift in his innermost being and follows it finds in it a friend at last and he is never alone that is what all great men have acknowledged in their works all those who have thought a little more deeply and searched and worked and loved a little more than the rest who have plumbed the depths of the sea of life the 1957 Ingmar Bergman film Seventh Seal portrays the journey of a medieval night Max von Sydow returning disillusioned from the Crusades what is going to happen to those of us who want to believe but aren't able to across a plague-ridden landscape undertaking a game of chess with the personification of death until he can perform one meaningful altruistic act of conscience overturning the chessboard to distract death long enough for a family of jugglers to escape in their wagon the 1942 Casablanca centers on the development of conscience in the cynical American Rick Blaine Humphrey Bogart in the face of oppression by the Nazis and the example of the resistance leader Victor Laszlo the David Lean and Robert bolt screenplay for dr. Zhivago an adaptation of Boris Pasternak's novel focuses strongly on the conscience of a doctor poet in the midst of the Russian Revolution in the end the walls of his heart were like paper the 1982 Ridley Scott film Blade Runner focuses on the struggles of conscience between and within a bounty hunter Rick Deckard Harrison Ford and a renegade replicant Android Roy batty Rutger Hauer in a future society which refuses to accept that forms of artificial intelligence can have aspects of being such as conscience Johann Sebastian Bach wrote his last great choral composition the mass in B minor bwv 232 to express the alternating emotions of loneliness despair joy and rapture that arises conscience reflects on a departed human life here JS Bach's use of counterpoint and contrapuntal settings his dynamic discourse of melodically and rhythmically distinct voices seeking forgiveness of sins he tollis peccata mundi miserere nobis evokes a spiralling moral conversation of all humanity expressing his belief that with devotional music God is always present in His grace Ludwig van Beethoven's meditations on illness conscience and mortality in the late string quartets led to his dedicating the third movement of string quartet in a minor 1825 opus 130 to see string quartet number 15 as a hymn of thanksgiving to god of a convalescent john lennon's work imagine owes much of its popular appeal to itse vocation of conscience against the atrocities created by war religious fundamentalism and politics The Beatles George Harrison written tract the inner light sets to Indian raga music a verse from the doubt a chain that without going out of your door you can know the ways of heaven in the 1986 movie the mission the guilty conscience and penance of the slave trader Mendoza is made more poignant by the haunting oboe music of Ennio Morricone on earth as it is in heaven quote closing parentheses the song sweet lullaby by deep forest is based on a traditional Bhagu lullaby from the Solomon Islands called roar Iguala in which a young orphan is comforted as an act of conscience by his older brother the dream Academy's song forest fire provided an early warning of the moral dangers of our black cloud bringing down a different kind of weather letting the Sun Shine in that's how the end begins the American Society of journalists and authors asta presents the conscience in media award to journalists whom the society deems worthy of recognition for demonstrating singular commitment to the highest principles of journalism at notable personal cost or sacrifice the ambassador of conscience award Amnesty International's most prestigious Human Rights Award takes its inspiration from the poem written by Irish Nobel prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney called the Republic of conscience winners of the award have included Malala yousufzai singer and social justice activist Harry Belafonte musician Peter Gabriel 2008 Nelson Mandela 2006 the Irish rock band u2 2005 Mary Robinson and Hilda Morales Trujillo a Guatemalan women's rights activist 2004 and the author and public intellectual Vaught Slav Havel 2003 topic see also topic references topic external links you you

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