Choose Conscience


Peace Mural, Belfast, N. Ireland (2004). Archive photo by JJM.

When faced with difficult choices, especially amongst bad options, conscience can always show the way. Needless to say, what the planet needs right now, more than ever, is a return to conscience. Conscience lends itself to a variety of peaceful solutions.

Moral relativity does not fit well into the realm of a well developed and active conscience. Conscience intuitively knows the difference between right and wrong. What is appropriate or correct within a given context or what is not. What is creative and what is destructive. What is life-giving and what is life-killing. What is nurturing and what is eroding. What is authentically (not superficially) progressive and what is truly regressive.

Not all situations call for distinctions to be made, but when they do, a healthy conscience would normally step in automatically. Of course, conscience interacts with ethics, etiquette, morality, religion and other frameworks for rules of conduct, but personal conscience can and does act autonomously, and will override externally imposed morality, where necessary. As long as conscience is maintained, conscience is the only inner guiding system which has almost full  independence and autonomy. It is independent from the ego-self and the group-self and it is autonomous in prompting one to correct one’s course.

Conscience will override questionable morals and will adjust approaches and actions accordingly. Conscience is an autonomous guidance system within, whereas morals depend on customs and norms without. The more relative morals become in a society as a whole, the more consciousness dims collectively and the more unconscious society becomes as a group. It is during such times that inner conscience is especially needed to guide individuals.

Only a very small percentage of individuals are born without any conscience at all – and they are considered to be “disabled” (psychologically), meaning that they don’t have the full range of emotions and feelings that would usually be accessible to the average person. They are also unlikely to ever develop (a) conscience. Other than these exceptions, conscience holds much more universality than ethics or morals do, and therefore we would be much better off aspiring to universal conscience than universal morals or ethics. A healthy conscience leads to expanded consciousness on an individual level, which is expressed on a universal level.

The small percentage of conscience-less (without conscience) individuals we find in society are naturally the proverbial  “foxes” as described in the Chicken Little fable (See Parts 5 & 7) and we find them in all walks of life. However, there is a significant percentage of average individuals who eventually revert to similar behaviors after having lost (or given up) their consciences as they went along. Very often a conscious decision was made to do so, in order to gain certain advantages. The nature of conscience itself does not allow for it to be given up unconsciously, so the suppression of conscience is certainly a conscious process initially and subsequently the decision is swiftly put out of mind and henceforth avoided at all costs.

If the majority of individuals in a society learn to suppress their conscience – to the extent that a general moral relativity sets in – and once the virtues of conscience are lost by adults in general, they are unlikely to be instilled, cultivated or strengthened within children either. When a society has more “foxes” than “chickens”, parasitism, prejudice, projection, exploitation, bigotry, double standards, hypocrisy, abuse of power, corruption and the active destruction of old value systems ensue and a general regression leading to potential repression sets in. A strong accompanying feature of such a scenario is often decadence.

It has been determined that historically mass decadence (and sometimes war) has almost always preceded the collapse of civilizations. In other words, the idea of the destruction of values on the basis of them being “old fashioned” or “conservative” in order to facilitate decadence (boundary-less living) often have unintended consequences, because all systems need structure in order to function, externally and (importantly) internally – structure being what value systems are meant to provide in societies and civilizations. No limits, no restrictions, no boundaries, means no structure, which results in a vacuum. In a big enough vacuum, collapse is inevitable.

Therefore, going forward, decisions and choices based on conscience may be the only available tool to rescue (individuals in) a declining civilization from internal (and external) collapse. Conscience can save individuals, and in the present-day context, the world.

By Jean-Jacques M

Originally published at

About Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

Explorer, Philosopher, Photographer. View all posts by Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

13 responses to “Choose Conscience

  • JC

    This is great and timely considering the elections going on in the US. There is a serious lack of conscious in this world as we elect demigods in place of conscious or we’re too busy looking at our phones… jc

    • Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

      Thanks JC. We have all been gifted with amazing inner tools, but we are not always in touch with them. Peace is primary in a very unstable world and balance is required for stability. Conscience would tend to lean towards peace. Yes, if we look up from our phones once in a while we may see the bigger picture (more clearly)… J.J.

  • rooshkie

    As established previously, you & I don’t always agree on “things” – however, that said, I think this is absolutely spot on. (Almost) every being instinctively knows right from wrong, but this all too often becomes dulled, diluted or in some cases almost completely eradicated – sometimes, as you say, deliberately, in order to gain something – money, “power”, status, and so on. I always feel the need to put “power” in inverted commas – as that is what it is perceived to be by those damping down their consciences in order to attain it – but from my perspective, REAL power is something entirely different. Well written and hopefully conscience tweaking !!

    • Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

      Disagreeing on things is also an important part of life, how boring life would be if we all agreed always! I appreciate your feedback on this – I wrote it almost a year ago, but felt it apt to publish now. Your comment is equally well-said! Yes, I think a lot of people get caught in the chasing-power-and-status trap. I read a very good book on this subject by Alain de Botton some time ago: Status Anxiety.

      • rooshkie

        Ha… you just tapped into something a bit spooky… some weeks ago I wrote this on a scrap of paper and then didn’t action it (which is unlike me)… “Why do I keep thinking about reading Alain de Botton and then not doing it?” – so now I’m GUNNA… because the “universe” clearly wants me to. Yes, Sydney is the epitome of the status trap… and yet the rats don’t realise that they’re trapped… funny that. The only way to see that you’re on a little wheel in a cage, running round and round and getting nowhere, is to get off the fucking wheel. Ha ha. Nice to hear from you. You’re one of the smartest, and most annoying people I talk to !!!

      • Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

        Very True! It’s just hard for “rats” to get off the wheel, because that’s all they know! I think this is true for most big cities – although I was quite surprised (impressed) with Buenos Aires – lived there for 6 months recently – and life in the suburbs was totally chilled – neighbours all know each other and meet or chat frequently (face to face) and a lot of time over weekends are dedicated to chilling out, so not quite the rat-race of London, Dublin or perhaps Sydney. Generally South America is more relaxed – I might stay here for a while. I enjoy ADB’s books – his style has contributed to my motivation for writing about social subjects. Thanks for the complimentS! 🙂 Ditto!!

      • rooshkie

        Ha ha. Very good. I did second guess for a moment, & hoped you wouldn’t get all defensive, and say… “annoying” – what do you mean by that ??? … but you got it, perfectly. Cheers smiley face (that’s a deconstructed emoticon).

  • bluebrightly

    Exercising that conscience has to do with values, too. One hopes that “good” values (whatever good might mean!) are passed on, and give a foundation to refer to when you’re not sure what the best direction is. A peace mural in Belfast – great image for your post!

  • smilecalm

    smiling to this expression
    inviting me to finally be
    more conscientious
    & awake, Jean-Jacques 🙂

  • Beaton

    The way we are outsourcing our intelligence, is almost exactly how we are externalizing our conscience, to wind up with some global moral relativity which at the end of the day has nothing to do with right or wrong…
    I noticed its been two years since you wrote this and we seem to be drifting even further away from our conscience…. moral relativity is a hashtag today

    • Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café

      Well said, Beaton – yes,it seems we are in a downwards spiral, but there are fortunately always a few individuals who maintain themselves – their intelligence, conscience and minds – although, perhaps they are fewer and fewer. I believe there will be a revival eventually – or something new will arise, but probably not before things have completely fallen apart.

      “Like a Phoenix from the Flames”

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