Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Conscience

“Wala kang consciencia!” This accusation – complaint, statement, judgment – is said or heard when someone does something plainly evil, quite detestable if not altogether abominable. To state that somebody that has done anything unconscionable requires a big intentional misdeed, implies a really deliberate and scandalous foul play against an innocent and/or helpless subject party – be this an individual or a group of people. In other words, when anyone is said to have no conscience, he or she does nothing good but is instead notorious for doing exactly the wrong things. This is the same as being numb to ethical principles, insensitive to moral norms.

What is conscience? It is a kind of inner voice telling someone what to do and what to avoid from so doing – according to the dictate of reason and/or in the light of faith. As such, conscience is a proximate rule of conduct for someone, or an interior faculty urging him or her not only what to do but also what to abstain from doing. Needless to say, conscience is dysfunctional when someone is drunk or drugged, when somebody is mentally retarded or psychologically incapacitated on account of a given personality disorder. So it is that sound or normal consciousness is the motor of conscience.

Is conscience necessary? Conscience is imperative when one is relating with someone, having a family, staying in a neighborhood, living in society. Reason: Conscience acquires special relevance and significance in social life, considering that relationships in society but just, proper and right – or precisely unjust, improper and wrong, when the urgings of conscience are intentionally disregarded or muted. Woe to a family, a neighborhood, a society where there are individuals or people who are without conscience, i.e., whose norm of conduct are but to satisfy their libido, their vice, their ego. They do not only constitute a liability but a real danger to others.

Who has no conscience? As can be drawn from the above observations, everybody who is normal and sane, has a conscience that whispers and urges him or her the good to be pursued and done plus the evil to be shunned or avoided. What is dangerous is when someone has a deadened conscience. This is when whatever he or she wants is right, and whatever he or she does not like, is wrong. This has special relevance to public officials given public trust for public service in favor of public welfare. When they instead engage in private service for their private welfare, woe to the general public. This is when they lose public trust and instead earn public ire. This is exactly the case of the now well known porky business engaged by certain public officials to the lost of public funds in favor of their private pockets. They surely have much to answer before the general public – especially so before the Origin of conscience.