Chapter 3-conscience-the-self-in-search-of-the-good-2333


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Chapter 3-conscience-the-self-in-search-of-the-good-2333

  1. 1. Nikhil Farias, Jacky Tam, Steve Jensen Chapter ThreeConscience: The self in search of the good
  2. 2. Revise, Review, Re-enter Moral Agent: a person fully• Chapter 1 explores the nature accountable for his/her actions, has of seeking and searching for the ability to initiate “good” in order to engage in a course of events and makes decisions ethical decisions that concerning accompany an individual’s life. themselves and others after• Chapter 2 explores human reviewing the customs, teachings actions and the importance of and values that being a moral agent: shape their morality
  3. 3. Chapter Three• Chapter 3 combines the elements of chapters 1 and 2. An individual goes through the process of becoming a moral agent and thus can seek the “good” on a number of ethical issues.• In order to solve specific ethical issues, an individual must realize the importance of being “human” and how this philosophical view is important in understanding ethics, making ethical decisions and becoming moral agents.• In order to understand the “human” and undertake the journey of becoming a moral agent, an individual must examine specific aspects of human life that shape ethics and influence moral behaviour.
  4. 4. Aspects of the “human” Role in developing a “moral agent”A. The importance of others Although individuals are unique and singular with a capacity to act and be free, others are not enemies of one’s autonomy. The other makes it possible for one to become their “true selves” as individuals of freedom.B. The importance of having Based on commitments, moraldirection in life stance and relations to others, you develop specific attitudes on certain ethical questionsC. The importance of The language initially introducedcommunication and language to you as a child is the basis of moral decisions and shaping you as a person.
  5. 5. D. The importance of character and You acquire certain “habits” thatone’s body develop character as is used in making moral decisions as well as using judgement.E. The importance of conscience Conscience develops as a means of accepting good and avoiding bad. It is developed through Capacity, Process and JudgementF. The importance of the development Conscience is developed from within,of one’s conscience. from others and one’s experiences.•All these aspects of the human affect the conscience of anindividual, which as a result shapes the way they make moraldecisions as moral agents.
  6. 6. A. The importance of others
  7. 7. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4.9) •Can an individual be free and unique whist being responsible for others? •The story of Cain and Able presents the questions (1) “Are you responsible for your brother and sister?” (2) “Why should you care for the other”?• Levinas in Chapter 1 makes the strongest argument suggesting that the “other” plays a central role to the human person and is relational.• All human actions are either “against someone” or “with someone”. Human actions and “others”. Actions are motivated by others. Actions involve others. They are done with others or against others. They affect others• The “other” is central for an individual’s search for good and is a powerful incentive for what a person does and how they do it.
  8. 8. Actions are motivated by They are done with others others or against Human others actions and “others” Actions involve They affect others others• Western society often fails to realize the importance of the “other”. Individuals of society often believe that other individuals acts as a barrier to one’s own freedom, plans and initiatives “If only they would see things my way, I could do what I really wanted to do”• Society prize the entrepreneur, solo mountain climber, discoverer, rebellious teenage kid who becomes a rock star, the CEO of a large corporation. These people represent autonomy, independent and freedom. They set their own limits, make their own decisions and are not influenced by others.• People believe that relationships are “add-on’s” and that certain individuals choose to “build bridges with other, although they believe that a human being can be free without another person”
  9. 9. • VERDICT: Although individuals are unique and singular with a Jean-Paul Sartre’s capacity to act and be existential believe free, others are notwas centered on the role of others in enemies of one’s creating an autonomy. The other “individuals hell”. This commonly makes it possible forseen in his play “No one to become their Exit” “true selves” as individuals of freedom.
  10. 10. Psychiatry: Narcissism: I’m in love with myself Autonomy: anBranch of •Based on a Greek man named Narcissus autonomous being ismedicine who rejected young women named Echo one that has thedealing with who was very much in love with him. power of self-mental, •On a hunting journey, he travelled to a local direction, possessingemotional and well to seek a drink of water. On arrival at the ability to act as itbehavioural the well, he became so consumed with the decides independentdisorders. reflection of his face in the water and his of the will of others inability to capture/disrupt the reflection and of other internal caused him to die of thirst at the well. or external factors. •This myth has set the basis of forming a healthy self-identity in which a balance is formed between self-love and love for others. •Psychiatry often classifies the term Narcissism: A “narcissism” as a disorder involving disorder marked by self-absorption and the rejection of self-absorption the others. exclusion of others. •A narcissist often engages in anger and internal or external rage against those who do not follow factors. narcissism.
  11. 11. B. The Importance of having direction in life
  12. 12. Role of Developing a “Moral Agent”• Based on commitments, moral stance and relations to others, you develop specific attitudes on certain ethical questions.• Being a moral agent requires you to know who you are and know where you stand• Moral stances and orientations form an individual’s identity and thus a certain direction can be taken towards ethical/moral issues.• Forming a direction/moral stance and creating an identity is identified in 3 distinct areas:
  13. 13. Charles Taylor• Taylor has been a philosophy professor at McGill University in Montreal since 1961 and has wrote extensively on philosophical topics such as the role of Quebec in Canadian society.• Taylor is part of what is often called the “neo- Aristotelian revival”, a school of thought that has arisen because of a perceived failure of ethical thought in today’s world.
  14. 14. Rejecting Naturalism• Taylor takes the approach of rejecting naturalism.• In taking on naturalism, Taylor perceives himself as challenging one of the key sources of modern dissatisfaction of today’s world, a big part of which is the centering on the self, which flattens and narrows our lives, makes them less valuable, and more selfish.• Naturalism, according to Taylor, can also lead to our dislocation from things that make our lives valuable and meaningful.
  15. 15. • One of the key characteristics Taylor encompasses, that illustrates his political philosophy is “that the age of modernity and post-modernity is a pluralistic age.”• Because of this characteristic, Taylor criticizes modern philosophers whom he believes have failed to take it the above statement into account.• In his paper, “Multiculturalism and the Politics of Recognition”, Taylor argues that it is essential to human identity that one’s community be recognized both politically and socially.• In today’s society there are many groups with different ethnic, religious, or political backgrounds that exist. This causes many identity’s to be formed, and this is what Taylor is arguing. For the human identity to mean anything, ones group must be recognized in a political and social sense.
  16. 16. 1. Commitment Knowing s Relation to where others (physicalyou stand stance) Knowing 2. Moral who you Stance are (Direction)
  17. 17. 1. Commitments• Charles Taylor asserts that an individual’s identity is determined by a moral orientation and this moral orientation reveals one’s stance in life.• Moral orientation is defined by an individual’s commitment to certain elements of his/her life e.g. a moral or spiritual commitment such as being a Catholic or a national or educational commitment such as being a Canadian or a Holy Trinity student.• The elements acquired from these commitments enable an individual to make moral decisions which become reflective of their own identity.
  18. 18. • Commitment to certain groups such as a Catholic, Canadian or HT student provides two main aspects:• (1) A framework to determine what is good/meaningful or what is bad/trivial• (2) Avoid the “identity-crisis” in which an individual often lacks disorientation; not knowing who they are or where they stand.• Commitment in groups involves care for others over a long period of time. Taylor suggests that secular or humanistic values obscure an understanding of the “self” and thus cannot sustain the values of commitment in groups.
  19. 19. 2. Moral Stance (direction)• Using the commitments made to the various groups, an individual can take a stance on a number of life’s questions.• While one commitment may have a greater weight on an individual’s stance, it is important to realize that the identity is much deeper and many-sided, thus moral decisions are made using all commitment groups.
  20. 20. Life Question Example Response an a Catholic, Canadian or HT student)What is Good and Bad? What’s the harm of According to a Catholic, abortion abortion destroys the intrinsic value of human life deemed from the moment of conception.What is worth doing or Getting an OSSD As a Holy Trinity not doing? and graduating to student, one learns the other pursue importance of other options receiving a high school diploma and venturing off into post-secondary opportunities.
  21. 21. What is A multicultural As a Canadian, anmeaningful/trivial? society is individual is taught to meaningful, an promote accent is trivial multiculturalism. National pride gives an individual and accent to proudly use and define himself/herself as a Canadian, thus one takes a stance to this. Meaningful: a meaning or purpose; "a meaningful Trivial: insignificant: not large explanation”;” a meaningful enough to consider or notice discussion"; "a meaningful pause"
  22. 22. 3. Relation to Others (physical stance)• Your name and who you are referred to define who you are, where you stand and where your identity lies.• Your are either able to answer for yourself or can be identified by others. Your identity also lies in your relation to the “other”.• My name is Nikhil, Timea, Andre, Steve, Jacky, Christine, Mr. O’Carroll etc... (Identify yourself)• He is Jason’s brother, He is the local painter, she is Dave’s sister-in-law, and He is the pope (identification in relation to the “other”)
  23. 23. C: The importance of communication and language
  24. 24. • As already discussed, the “self” is achieved through interactions with others as well as taking a stance and direction towards moral decisions. A sense of “self” is also achieved by being part of a community that shares a common language. This is the third concept of the importance in being human.• Values, aspirations, plans, dreams, hopes and works were all made known as good qualities to an individual by parents, teachers and other people.• Charles Taylor claims that the world is shaped by “language”. Before anyone can answer the question “Who am I”, they must come to recognize the community into which they were born, the people that raised them and the language they speak.
  25. 25. Is expressed in These conversations Through these Language moral and spiritual not only have conversations, a common discernment meaning for an language is achieved. through individual but also for When something is conversations with his/her conversation discussed/entered/experien those who raised partners (mainly ced through conversation it us. (e.g. family) family). becomes a sacred “object” and the basis toLanguage: the verbal style by which understanding oneself.people express themselves. Containsand shares with others commonexperiences and commitments An individual may take an innovative approach to Such objects include understanding themselves, but essentially it is the love, anxiety, and “objects” exposed through conversations with the aspiration to family that preliminarily define an individual. wholeness, trust, Expressing problems to outsiders is only possible, if wisdom and an outsider shares this same common language knowledge. first generated by family experience. The “self” exists within Languages are sacred webs of conversation, and can be This is the same with the language of first achieved by meaningless to those Catholicism. “Eucharist”, “Trinity”, those that brought us who do not share the “Sacrifice”, “resurrection”, up. same experiences “transubstantiation” are understood e.g. an “inside joke” is only by Catholics and are very sacred only understood by in defining oneself as part of this members who share religious tradition. the joke.
  26. 26. Language: the verbal style by “ The word which people expressbecame flesh themselves. Contains and and lived shares with others common among us” experiences and commitments (John 1.14) (The weight of words in one’s life) •Words, while cannot make or remake reality, have the ability to prevent chaos, give us a vision and left ourselves beyond the ordinary. •Meaning comes from the words used and the symbols associated with these words? “fall in love”, “great chemistry”, “It’s not you it’s me”, “soul mate” or even “God found me a soul mate” which associates the symbol of providence that God has in our lives. •Meaning and happiness are not based on where we are living, what we are doing or how we view or name these areas. •A Deeper set of words sets a finite experience against the infinite horizon. It removes the ordinary of our lives and enhances the extraordinary aspects of our lives in faith and poetry. E.g. “You are my brothers and sisters! Love one another as I have love you”
  27. 27. The “person” in light of Christian origins• There are two distinct definitions for “person” in Christianity.• During the time of the early Christians, the idea that God a union of three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) was very much confusing.• Both the Latin and Greek languages had specific words for a “person”. A definition based on the outside of an individual and one that neglected the inner core of a human being.• In order to decipher the puzzle “one God in three persons”, a new definition of a “person” had to be created to suit this scenario.• Two interpretations were proposed.
  28. 28. A definition of a person is one who bears rights and responsibilities • To be a person, one must be autonomous and independent. No two people are alike, an individual is one to be conscious and act. • Therefore in light of Christianity, theThe Holy Trinity Father, Son and Holy Spirit are singular and distinct from each other. Hence the triangle representing 3 different points reflects this idea.
  29. 29. A definition of a person is an outpouring of love towards another• Despite the distinct nature of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, there is a unity as symbolised by the three concentric circles.• What binds these three persons together?• The answer lies in love!!!
  30. 30. The love A generated communion breathed theGod of love Son, which in = involving turn breathedLove Father, Son forth the Holy and Holy Spirit Spirit is formed by God. TRINITY Love binds all three “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” into a unity. Trinity was the new word used to define this phenomenon. “Trinitas” being the Latin root word meaning “three occurring at once”!
  31. 31. So what does this have to do with a person?• Being made in the image and likeness of God, a person is made by and for love and this outpouring of love is inscribed in one’s individuality (what makes them a person).• Love and the “other” is implanted as part of your self. Human beings are by nature social beings.• A person essentially is “the self as relational”.• The trinity is formed on one person relying and attaching to another to create such a unified and powerful figure.• This is much like human beings and their need for love and other people!!!• Otherwise, isn’t loneliness so painful?
  32. 32. D: The importance ofcharacter and one’s body
  33. 33. •We have already learnedthat interactions withothers, moral stance anddirection and languagedefines an individual.•The body is the lastelement that defines thevisible characteristics of aperson.•All human actions throughuse of the body areembodied: This means thatthey shape an individual’scharacter.
  34. 34. Building Character• The word “character” refers to the way your actions, over time; tend to become fixed in your body. Maximum Capacity “Moral fibre” is much like muscle fibre, the more it is exercised the Potential to stronger your character. succeed The greater moral and ethical actions taken, the greater the increase in character. Repeated actions are known as “habits” Starting point
  35. 35. Harmony of Habits Habit: A manner of behaving acquired by frequent repetition; prevailing disposition or character.
  36. 36. Harmony of Habits• According to Paul Ricoeur, a philosopher, a habit is possible in allowing an individual to change his/herself through his/her acts.• By engaging in these acts, an individual learns more about themselves and acquires a specific habit that contracts it’s self within their persona. • “Habit fixes our tastes and aptitudes and shrinks our field of availability; the range of the possible narrows down; my life has taken shape.”• When actions are repeated time and time again, they become rooted in an individual, such that an individual will be recognized for these habits. E.g. a generous person, a stubborn person, a cheery person, a devious person or even a possessive person.• As a child, such habits are continually changing, once they are rooted within the person, they cannot be changed! Thus as one grows older, they acquire only a certain set of habits that define them as an individual and thus become set in their ways for good or bad!!!
  37. 37. It often comes to question, how strongly do habits and personality traits affect decisions as opposed to rational thoughts and judgement:How often have you compromised on the smaller purchases of life and not even did not even make logical decisions on the larger purchases of life.
  38. 38. The truth about big decisions and character:• They never marched through logical processes, staff systems, option papers or yellow pads to reach a conclusion.• No bottom lines or voices announcing “We’re going through!”• They are made on the basis of mental sets, predispositions, tendencies that take a lifetime to determine.• The feeling of “right” is always contemplated especially if an individual can predict the outcomes of a decision that has to be made.• People often wish to have a decision-making process to make such decisions, but “a decision is not a decision until it has to be made”• Thus, most probably it is made on the basis of character than judgment. A moral instinct that is developed over the years and determines what you see, how you see it and how you will interpret this.• Hence it is important to pay attention to the formation of a moral character as in times of doubt; this will be the most crucial aspect to making a decision.
  39. 39. Paul Ricoeur• Paul Ricoeur is widely known as one of the most distinguished philosophers of modern time.• Ricoeur notes a distinction between ethics and morals being that ethics is concerned with the overall aim of a life of action, whereas morality refers to the expression of this aim in terms of norms and morals that are regarded as mandatory in society.• Paul Ricoeur states that action and imputation are two fundamental base capabilities involved with ethics and morals.• People in society are allowed to choose their own actions, and what they do is imputable to them as a freely chosen deed.
  40. 40. E: The importance of conscienceConscience: the sense of what isright and wrong that governssomebodys thoughts and actions,urging him or her to do right ratherthan wrong
  41. 41. • So far we have seen how one can understand themselves as an ethical and moral being.• All ethical decisions and the role as a human are based on factors that surround a person e.g. environment, other people, language etc…• The human self-however is not only composed of the outside, but a deep inner self. This is anthropological trait is THE CONSCIENCE Outside influences •Other people •Language Anthropological •Commitment Traits: Scientific Groups study of the origin, Inside the behaviour, influences physical, social and •Habits cultural •Identity characteristics of humans. •Deeper issues: CONSCIENCE
  42. 42. What is conscience•Conscience calls us to “love and todo what is good and to avoid evil”.•It’s an inner voice telling us what todo at the right moment.•It is also believed that theconscience is a law inscribed inhuman hearts by God.•Conscience is a secret core andsanctuary in which one is alone withGod and his voice echoes in ourdepths.
  43. 43. The Church’s comment on Conscience The conscience is a law inscribed by God in the heart. It is where the voice of God echoes, a most secret core and sanctuary. In a conscience, man discovers a law not laid upon himself, but one which he must obey. It is a judgment in which a humanIt’s tells man to do what is good person recognizes the moral and avoid what is evil. quality of an act he is to perform A loyalty to conscience allows or has already completed. It for the search for truth and allows him to perceive and solves problems arising from recognize the prescriptions of the individual and social divine law and faithfully follow relationships. what is believed to be just and right.
  44. 44. It emphasizes guidance by objective standards of moral conduct.Conscience often goes astray through Conscience welcomes the ignorance. This is commandments. It examinesunavoidable at times and an authority of truth inthus a person who takes reference to the supremelittle trouble to finding a Good to which a human conscience or those person is developed. blinded through a habitof committing sin are not entirely at fault.
  45. 45. Sigmund Freud’s approach to conscience• As people mature, their actions tend to stream away from the experience of rules and laws imposed by others (parents, police, teachers, priests, gov’t etc…) to a more self-directed and conscionable law system from within.• A person will consider what is right and wrong. This gives a person a more mature conscience as they become more self-directed as opposed to an immature conscience that is influenced by others.• A morally mature person makes their own decisions. Whist they may still take the advice of others, they will most often make their own judgements and acceptance of moral values.• According to Freud, the conscience is not a feeling that is right or wrong, nor does it act as a feeling of failure, although this could signal something is incorrect. E.g. lighting a cigarette after one has quit smoking. Conscience is also not the fear of punishment if we break our curfew. This is where Freud’s analytical theory comes into play at drawing a distinction between a moral conscience and the “superego”
  46. 46. Freud examines three elements of personality associated with the mind, which he believes holds value to a conscience: SUPEREGO The ego of another ID superimposed on ourThe unconscious own to serve as anreservoir of instinctual internal sensor todrives largely regulate our conductdominated by the by using guilt as it’spleasure principle. EGO powerful weapon. The conscious structure which operates on the reality principle to mediate the forces of the id, the demands of society, and the reality of the physical world.
  47. 47. Sigmund Freud• Sigmund Freud is world-renowned for his theories of the unconscious mind, especially involving repression, his definition of sexual desire as mobile and directed towards a wide variety of objects, and for his theory about the value of dreams as sources of insight into unconscious desires.• Freud’s most significant contribution to the Western world was his argument of the unconscious mind and the Id, Ego, and Superego, which, he said, are all divisions of the human psyche.
  48. 48. The Id, Ego, and Superego• Dreams, he said, provided the best and most efficient access to our unconscious mind, and show the work of the id.• The id is fully unconscious and represents primitive drives. The Superego is partially conscious and this represents our conscience or the moral judge within us. The ego is the midway between them, and is used to provide balance between the id and superego.
  49. 49. • The id, as previously stated, is the source of our drives. Our drives come from the id and apply energy to objects, which may result in aggressive behavior. The id behaves as though it were unconscious because our ego’s and superego’s ideals and pressures are in conflict with the id’s drives and passion.• If their drives were to conflict, this would cause repression, something that the human psyche cannot fully comprehend, as the satisfaction of the id’s drives would be cause major social and self image problems.• The ego is the psyche’s form of balance. Providing a balance between the two extremes, while still satisfying both the id and superego is the ego’s task. The ego uses defense mechanisms when the id’s desires conflict with reality or social morals.
  50. 50. • The superego will be discussed next• In conclusion, our id is our depressed drives, and only appears when we are fully unconscious. Our superego is our moral judge which acts as our conscience. And our ego acts as a balance between our id and our superego.
  51. 51. Surprising Supporting Super-ego• The superego is the “shoulds” and “have-tos” absorbed by growing up in a world of authority figures, first with the parents and then other’s in society.• It’s a weapon of “guilt springs” for both serious and simple matters. It tells us we are good when we do something we are told to do and bad when we disobey or refuse to do this.• The development of the “superego” comes with punishment from childhood. One fears punishment not only because of the physical pain, but because it represents a loss in love. Thus a child will regulate their behaviour to suit authority figures as a means of self- protection and to be loved. They ultimately succumb to the values presented by their parents.
  52. 52. Super-ego Moral Conscience•Related to the “shoulds” or “havetos” •Related to “wants” directed by our owndirected by someone else i.e. authority personal values and needs.figures. •Is developed by from personal•Is developed by absorbing the rules and perception and appropriation of valuesregulations of authority figures who strive developed in the stories and examples ofto promote love in teaching us to do the people we want to be like. It acts in loveright thing. We behave by their commands responding to values we commit to.because we fear punishment or losing love •It’s responsible for freedom in doingfrom them and thus need to be accepted something that we value and seek.and approved.•Helps to integrate wisdom into pastactions. You realize “the way things aredone”•Most “shoulds” should not becomeenforced, yet become personal choices.Often, we confess these “shoulds” to Godin terms of help, but this decreases as onebecomes more mature morally.
  53. 53. THE SUPER-EGO IS DEVELOPED FROM WHAT WE HAVE TO DO, CHOICES MADE BY OTHERS WHEREAS THE MORAL CONSCIENCE IS DEVELOPED FROM WHAT WE WANT TO DO, CHOICE MADE THROUGH SELF-DIRECTION!Conscience helps to direct our own activity. Every choice, commitment and promise is a choice between being authentic or inauthentic. “The morally mature adult is called to commit his or her freedom, not to submit to it. Authentic: Conforming to As long as we do not directfact and therefore worthy of our activity, we are not yet trust, reliance, or belief: an free, morally mature authentic account by an persons.” eyewitness. Richard Gula
  54. 54. Timothy O’Connell• Timothy O’Connell is a professor at Loyola University in Chicago where he specializes in morals and ethics.• He has authored many books based on morals and ethics.• He is known for something called the “Values Agenda”: – Understanding how our values are formed – Facing ethical challenges every day – Exploring the important values in our lives – Improving our ethical decision making – Passing on the values we most cherish – Living a value-based life at home and work – Building a life -- and sharing it with others
  55. 55. Three senses of conscience • In the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Timothy O’Connell identifies three senses of the word “conscience”. These senses tend to act in an order to solve certain moral decisions. • Richard Gula claims that one “must always do what is believed to be right and avoid what is believed to be wrong”. “Choosing one line of action and avoiding another is God’s call. This is the moral course of action that acts as the conscience and this cannot be violated”. • Conscience is a guiding light to moral decisions and is a sacred sanctity between a person and God.Conscience as Capacity Conscience as Process Conscience as Judgement
  56. 56. Conscience as Capacity Element or Feature of this Example senseOur capacity to know and do good, Based on your identity. Do you and to avoid evil. recognise cheating in tests to be evil and studying and achieving to be good?Our fundamental sense of value and Do you value other people in life? personal responsibility. Is it a personal responsibility to ensure societal well-being, not just for yourself but for others?Our fundamental awareness that there Can you distinguish what is good is a right and wrong. and what is bad e.g. helping others or condemning others?
  57. 57. Conscience as Pr ocess Element or Feature of this Example senseKnowing how to perceive accurately and to What are the implications of stealing and think correctly. what is morally wrong about this?Moral disagreements, error, blindness and Is the Catholic church’s condemnation of insight occur here. abortion fair to those in society…e.g. such as myself?Conscience must be formed an examined What is my conscience telling me to do? As a manager do I please my employees or my public shareholders?Draws upon moral sources to understand what The catholic church, my parents, family, it means to be human in a moral way. friends, school environment, habits Developed in the community and my character tell me as a human I must not do harm to others.Seeks to know the truth and to make it one’s I must find out if he did sabotage her own religion poster and resolve the situation.Searches for right through perception, reflection Taking drugs is morally wrong. The and analysis. Catholic church teaches us to respect our bodies as they are sacred. If I take them, I could harm myself and those that I love.
  58. 58. Conscience as Judgment Element or Feature of this sense ExampleConcrete judgement and decision I did not take the prize money because I did not to be made based on perception successfully win the competition and learnt that and values. cheating hinders true performance and fairness.Conscience makes a moral I knew the planned fight after school between the boys decision, moral action and would end in disaster, so I informed a teacher to expresses a certain stance. sort the matter out. I can’t stand for violence and physically outside the school environment.More than “this” or “that” choice, a I chose not to play the last game of polka at the casino, decision is based on “this” or because I am particularly superstitious and a low “that person. risk taker.This is the conscience that I must Hiding from my conscience whilst thinking about the obey to be true to myself. thousands of dollars I spent as an alcoholic. I have now enrolled in a rehabilitation facility.Secret core and sanctity with God. I was forced to become an agnostic during the latter People must not be forced to part of my life, but my bond with God is too strong act against their conscience. and my connection to Christianity is too strong that my conscience would not withstand this decision.
  59. 59. F: The development of one’s conscience“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7: 13-14)
  60. 60. Developing a conscience• How can my “moral self” be formed and how can I make the right judgements and decisions?• There is no simple recipe for developing a conscience. There are however some pointers to keep in mind.
  61. 61. How your conscience develops1. Conscience develops with maturity; your sense of right and wrong is formed within the family and becomes increasingly refined with time.2. Conscience develops as the norms, values, virtues and commandments found in the Christian tradition are used as guidelines for the conscience.3. Conscience helps you to deal with failure and sins as one becomes aware of they weakness, they realize the fragility of the human being and need support from others, especially God.4. Conscience develops through participation in the Eucharist and prayer life of the church.5. Conscience develops as one grows in humility, realizing that we are not the FINAL deciders of what is right and wrong. Our humility leads us to seek the direction of the church.
  62. 62. Symptoms of a misinformed conscience• Rationalization: Making excuses for wrong actions by suggesting that the “victim” party can afford it or can handle the action. 5• Trivialization: Making excuses based on following the norms or predominant actions of society 3• Misinformation: Giving misleading or false information that could potentially cause an individual to do or have something unnecessary. 1• The end justifies the immoral means: The outcome is highly important and thus the actions undertaken whether good or bad justify this outcome. 6• Means to an end: Engaging in destructive actions and trying to suggest that there will be possible benefits by the destruction. 4• Difficulty to reason: Acting impulsively without considering the consequences or other possible solutions to a given problem. 2
  63. 63. Moral behaviour Moral behaviour These giveis developmental: (what is good and rise to our tied to bad) and values character inintellectual, social that guide moral determining and spiritual actions are “right” and growth. acquired from “wrong” and family, friends, thus come school, community into play and formal when facing a A well-formed institutions. moral conscience is decision. well informed. Sometimes, one You have a thinks they are Conscience can responsibility to doing something sometimes be be informed good, when in malformed due to a about issues of fact they are lack of information, moral living as doing the faulty reasoning, well as other opposite. They misinformation moral thinkers. also find it received from others impossible to or faulty value reason the right structures. course of action.
  64. 64. Solving a dilemma is onlyWho can Are all values and possible with moralhelp you to norms in the maturity: this developedinform your community good, or over time. This processconscience? can some be lies within the people you destructive to the interact with as well as community’s with yourself. You need members. to constantly seek what it means to be human. Confusions in the decision-making process Humanity can be What happens when discovered through one has to choose shared human conflicting goods? E.g. experiences, but also lose weight or eat through yourself. To another piece of cake? understand human reality, you need to SEEK OUT INFORMATION FROM OTHERS.
  65. 65. Moral questions “For a Catholic to make acan be sought decision of conscience without from the indifference to, or in spitemagisterium of of, the magisterium wouldthe Catholic be forfeiting one’s claim toChurch! be acting as a loyal Catholic and according to a properly informed conscience”Magisterium: The officialTeaching office of theChurch