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  1. #1
    Senior Member WildCard's Avatar
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    Default What is a conscience?

    This is more of philosophic approach than a literal one. This is another one of those conversations that tend to spring up at one or two in the morning when the shift gets boring.

    To start with, let's get rolling with a quote from Socrates "Before we begin talking, we must decide what we're going to talk about."

    It all started with this simple, unassuming question: "What is a conscience?"

    You would not believe the chaos that ensued.
    *****
    After I stepped back and took a close look, I realized that our consciences tended to follow what was morally good for a particular society, as well as what our parents tell us is right. For instance, it is highly barbaric for a man in Western society to keep his wife locked away or beat her for simply glancing at another man. However, in Islamic areas, this is the traditions that they have followed for centuries.

    So, by their morality, they have done nothing wrong.

    I believe what most people call their "conscience" is simply a collection of what society, and your parents, have told you. Since I come from an extremely conservative home, sex outside of marriage is highly frowned upon and believed to be a sin.

    But for someone from a more liberal household, sex outside of marriage is nothing wrong.

    Thoughts anyone?
    Anything that you haven't fought for isn't going to be appreciated. It takes blood, sweat, and a large amount of tears before you appreciate what you have.

  2. #2
    Senior Member swordpath's Avatar
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    Your conscience is the subconscious that you've been conditioned towards and acclimated to, given your upbringing and the culture/society that one is accustomed to (basically what you've just said yourself). There's nothing supernatural about one's conscience, as some like to believe; and it never takes the form of a cricket on your shoulder (strictly in my own observation ).

  3. #3
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Smile Where was superego and id, let there be ego.

    Quote Originally Posted by WildCard View Post
    This is more of philosophic approach than a literal one. This is another one of those conversations that tend to spring up at one or two in the morning when the shift gets boring.

    To start with, let's get rolling with a quote from Socrates "Before we begin talking, we must decide what we're going to talk about."

    It all started with this simple, unassuming question: "What is a conscience?"

    You would not believe the chaos that ensued.
    *****
    After I stepped back and took a close look, I realized that our consciences tended to follow what was morally good for a particular society, as well as what our parents tell us is right. For instance, it is highly barbaric for a man in Western society to keep his wife locked away or beat her for simply glancing at another man. However, in Islamic areas, this is the traditions that they have followed for centuries.

    So, by their morality, they have done nothing wrong.

    I believe what most people call their "conscience" is simply a collection of what society, and your parents, have told you. Since I come from an extremely conservative home, sex outside of marriage is highly frowned upon and believed to be a sin.

    But for someone from a more liberal household, sex outside of marriage is nothing wrong.

    Thoughts anyone?
    A conscience is the superego. And along with the id, is mediated by the ego.

    The only thing more hellish than domination by the superego is domination by the id.

    So ego is not a dirty word.

    Where was superego and id, shall be ego.

    Of course they hypnotise us by telling us to abandon ego and create heaven on earth.

    But experience tells us that by abandoning ego for the superego or id leads to hell on earth.

    Heaven on Earth is the siren song of the Romantics, while the Enlightenment brings us into contact with reality and one another.

  4. #4
    Senior Member InsatiableCuriosity's Avatar
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    I don't necessarily agree that conscience is all about societal expectations??? My conscience for instance, required me to question the accepted practise of giving children toy guns. My son was born in 1975 and daughter in 1976.

    Toy guns were banned from my house because my conscience rebelled against a child pointing any type of toy weapon at anyone, child or adult, and saying bang, bang you're dead when they had no concept, or understanding, of someone being dead!

    Instead they were taught a respect for life and that every living thing had a right to life except where it may threaten the survival of another, or was required for sustainable living.

    (No, I am not a vegetarian because nature equipped me as an omnivore, but I do advocate humane treatment and despatch of animals raised for human consumption and only buy free-range eggs, chicken and meats where possible.)

    For me, conscience is the instinctive feeling that something is humane or not, fair or not, just or not, kind or not, and I more closely equate it to the concept of soul than anything.
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible."
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    "Never tell a person a thing is impossible. G*d/the Universe may have been waiting all this time for someone ignorant enough of the impossibility to do just that thing."
    author unknown

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    Senior Member swordpath's Avatar
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    When it comes to treating others well, I feel like that's an innate ethic that most people share, because it's what we desire from others in return... The topic of conscience is probably better to debate when dealing with more minor issues of right/wrong that people often struggle with; such as sexuality, stealing under certain circumstances, etc.

  6. #6
    Senior Member WildCard's Avatar
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    Still, how can we know it's instinctual? Most of us do not remember when we were very young, so how can we know what we were taught as children was truly something instinctual or just parenting?
    Anything that you haven't fought for isn't going to be appreciated. It takes blood, sweat, and a large amount of tears before you appreciate what you have.

  7. #7
    Senior Member InsatiableCuriosity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WildCard View Post
    Still, how can we know it's instinctual? Most of us do not remember when we were very young, so how can we know what we were taught as children was truly something instinctual or just parenting?
    I know for me it was instinctive as these were not the values held by my parents. Perhaps I should have said inate rather than instinctual. For me it relates to any living thing, not just people, but animals and plants, and how we interact with fragile ecosystems that have taken millenia to evolve.

    Perhaps it is partly based on typology??? The values I hold that are the basis for my conscience are probably more closely related to those I suspect my grandfather held - but he died when I was 5 and he was very definitely an INTP with excellent EQ and high Fi.
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible."
    — Richard P. Feynman

    "Never tell a person a thing is impossible. G*d/the Universe may have been waiting all this time for someone ignorant enough of the impossibility to do just that thing."
    author unknown

  8. #8
    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beat View Post
    Your conscience is the subconscious that you've been conditioned towards and acclimated to, given your upbringing and the culture/society that one is accustomed to (basically what you've just said yourself). There's nothing supernatural about one's conscience, as some like to believe; and it never takes the form of a cricket on your shoulder (strictly in my own observation ).
    Congratulations, this is the best ISTJ definition of personal conscience I've ever seen! I don't think it works that way so often for people who who aren't Si-dom or at least secondary, however...
    Look into my avatar. Look deep into my avatar...

  9. #9
    Senior Member swordpath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree View Post
    Congratulations, this is the best ISTJ definition of personal conscience I've ever seen! I don't think it works that way so often for people who who aren't Si-dom or at least secondary, however...
    I can't tell if you're mocking me or patting me on the back. Either way, expound please.

  10. #10
    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    I bolded the relevant bit. Do I need to elaborate further on why that's very typically Si reasoning?
    Look into my avatar. Look deep into my avatar...

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