Chapter 3 Conscience The Self In Search of the Good
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Chapter 3 Conscience The Self In Search of the Good Chapter 3 Conscience The Self In Search of the Good Presentation Transcript

  • Chapter Three Conscience: The self in search of the good Nikhil Farias, Jacky Tam, Steve Jensen
  • Revise, Review, Re-enter
    • Chapter 1 explores the nature of seeking and searching for “good” in order to engage in ethical decisions that accompany an individual’s life.
    • Chapter 2 explores human actions and the importance of being a moral agent :
    Moral Agent : a person fully accountable for his/her actions, has the ability to initiate a course of events and makes decisions concerning themselves and others after reviewing the customs, teachings and values that shape their morality
  • 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.
  • The language initially introduced to you as a child is the basis of moral decisions and shaping you as a person. C. The importance of communication and language Based on commitments, moral stance and relations to others, you develop specific attitudes on certain ethical questions B. The importance of having direction in life 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. A. The importance of others Role in developing a “moral agent” Aspects of the “human”
    • All these aspects of the human affect the conscience of an individual, which as a result shapes the way they make moral decisions as moral agents.
    Conscience is developed from within, from others and one’s experiences. F. The importance of the development of one’s conscience. Conscience develops as a means of accepting good and avoiding bad. It is developed through Capacity, Process and Judgement E. The importance of conscience You acquire certain “habits” that develop character as is used in making moral decisions as well as using judgement. D. The importance of character and one’s body
  • A. The importance of others
    • 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.
    • “ 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”?
    • 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”
    Human actions and “others” Actions are motivated by others Actions involve others They are done with others or against others They affect others
    • VERDICT: 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.
    Jean-Paul Sartre’s existential believe was centered on the role of others in creating an “individuals hell”. This commonly seen in his play “No Exit”
  • Autonomy : an autonomous being is one that has the power of self-direction, possessing the ability to act as it decides independent of the will of others and of other internal or external factors.
    • Narcissism: I’m in love with myself
    • Based on a Greek man named Narcissus who rejected young women named Echo who was very much in love with him.
    • On a hunting journey, he travelled to a local well to seek a drink of water. On arrival at the well, he became so consumed with the reflection of his face in the water and his inability to capture/disrupt the reflection caused him to die of thirst at the well.
    • 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” as a disorder involving self-absorption and the rejection of others.
    • A narcissist often engages in anger and rage against those who do not follow narcissism.
    Psychiatry : Branch of medicine dealing with mental, emotional and behavioural disorders. Narcissism : A disorder marked by self-absorption the exclusion of others. internal or external factors.
  • B. The Importance of having direction in life
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 1. Commitments 2. Moral Stance (Direction) Relation to others (physical stance) Knowing where you stand Knowing who you are
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • As a Holy Trinity student, one learns the importance of receiving a high school diploma and venturing off into post-secondary opportunities. Getting an OSSD and graduating to other pursue other options What is worth doing or not doing? According to a Catholic, abortion destroys the intrinsic value of human life deemed from the moment of conception. What’s the harm of abortion What is Good and Bad? Response an a Catholic, Canadian or HT student) Example Life Question
  • Meaningful : a meaning or purpose; "a meaningful explanation”;” a meaningful discussion"; "a meaningful pause" Trivial : insignificant: not large enough to consider or notice As a Canadian, an individual is taught to promote 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. A multicultural society is meaningful, an accent is trivial What is meaningful / trivial ?
  • 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”)
  • C: The importance of communication and language
    • 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.
  • Language: the verbal style by which people express themselves. Contains and shares with others common experiences and commitments Language Is expressed in moral and spiritual discernment through conversations with those who raised us. (e.g. family) These conversations not only have meaning for an individual but also for his/her conversation partners (mainly family). Through these conversations, a common language is achieved. When something is discussed/entered/experienced through conversation it becomes a sacred “object” and the basis to understanding oneself. Such objects include love, anxiety, and aspiration to wholeness, trust, wisdom and knowledge. An individual may take an innovative approach to understanding themselves, but essentially it is the “objects” exposed through conversations with the family that preliminarily define an individual. Expressing problems to outsiders is only possible, if an outsider shares this same common language first generated by family experience. The “self” exists within webs of conversation, first achieved by those that brought us up. Languages are sacred and can be meaningless to those who do not share the same experiences e.g. an “inside joke” is only understood by members who share the joke. This is the same with the language of Catholicism. “Eucharist”, “Trinity”, “Sacrifice”, “resurrection”, “transubstantiation” are understood only by Catholics and are very sacred in defining oneself as part of this religious tradition.
  • “ The word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1.14) Language: the verbal style by which people express themselves. Contains and shares with others common experiences and commitments
    • (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”
  • 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.
  • 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, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are singular and distinct from each other. Hence the triangle representing 3 different points reflects this idea.
    The Holy Trinity
  • 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!!!
  • God = Love A communion of love involving Father, Son and Holy Spirit is formed by God. 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”! The love generated breathed the Son, which in turn breathed forth the Holy Spirit TRINITY
  • 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?
  • D: The importance of character and one’s body
    • We have already learned that interactions with others, moral stance and direction and language defines an individual.
    • The body is the last element that defines the visible characteristics of a person.
    • All human actions through use of the body are embodied: This means that they shape an individual’s character.
  • Building Character
    • The word “character” refers to the way your actions, over time; tend to become fixed in your body.
    Maximum Capacity Potential to succeed Starting point “ Moral fibre” is much like muscle fibre, the more it is exercised the stronger your character. The greater moral and ethical actions taken, the greater the increase in character. Repeated actions are known as “habits”
    • Harmony of Habits
    Habit : A manner of behaving acquired by frequent repetition; prevailing disposition or character.
  • 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!!!
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • E: The importance of conscience Conscience: the sense of what is right and wrong that governs somebody's thoughts and actions, urging him or her to do right rather than wrong
    • 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
    Anthropological Traits : Scientific study of the origin, the behaviour, physical, social and cultural characteristics of humans.
    • Outside influences
    • Other people
    • Language
    • Commitment Groups
    • Inside influences
    • Habits
    • Identity
    • Deeper issues:
    • CONSCIENCE
  • What is conscience
    • Conscience calls us to “love and to do what is good and to avoid evil”.
    • It’s an inner voice telling us what to do at the right moment.
    • It is also believed that the conscience is a law inscribed in human hearts by God.
    • Conscience is a secret core and sanctuary in which one is alone with God and his voice echoes in our depths.
  • The Church’s comment on Conscience
      • In a conscience, man discovers a law not laid upon himself, but one which he must obey.
    It is a judgment in which a human person recognizes the moral quality of an act he is to perform or has already completed. It allows him to perceive and recognize the prescriptions of the divine law and faithfully follow what is believed to be just and right.
      • 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.
    It’s tells man to do what is good and avoid what is evil. A loyalty to conscience allows for the search for truth and solves problems arising from individual and social relationships.
    • Conscience often goes astray through ignorance. This is unavoidable at times and thus a person who takes little trouble to finding a conscience or those blinded through a habit of committing sin are not entirely at fault .
    Conscience welcomes the commandments. It examines an authority of truth in reference to the supreme Good to which a human person is developed.
      • It emphasizes guidance by objective standards of moral conduct.
  • 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”
  • Freud examines three elements of personality associated with the mind, which he believes holds value to a conscience: ID The unconscious reservoir of instinctual drives largely dominated by the pleasure principle. EGO 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. SUPEREGO The ego of another superimposed on our own to serve as an internal sensor to regulate our conduct by using guilt as it’s powerful weapon.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  •  
  • 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.
            • Related to “wants” directed by our own personal values and needs.
            • Is developed by from personal perception and appropriation of values developed in the stories and examples of people we want to be like. It acts in love responding to values we commit to.
            • It’s responsible for freedom in doing something that we value and seek.
    • Related to the “shoulds” or “havetos” directed by someone else i.e. authority figures.
    • Is developed by absorbing the rules and regulations of authority figures who strive to promote love in teaching us to do the right thing. We behave by their commands because we fear punishment or losing love from them and thus need to be accepted and approved.
    • Helps to integrate wisdom into past actions. You realize “the way things are done”
    • Most “shoulds” should not become enforced, yet become personal choices. Often, we confess these “shoulds” to God in terms of help, but this decreases as one becomes more mature morally.
    Moral Conscience Super-ego
    • 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. As long as we do not direct our activity, we are not yet free, morally mature persons.” Richard Gula Authentic : Conforming to fact and therefore worthy of trust, reliance, or belief: an authentic account by an eyewitness.
  • 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
  • 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
  • Conscience as Capacity Can you distinguish what is good and what is bad e.g. helping others or condemning others? Our fundamental awareness that there is a right and wrong. Do you value other people in life? Is it a personal responsibility to ensure societal well-being, not just for yourself but for others? Our fundamental sense of value and personal responsibility. Based on your identity. Do you recognise cheating in tests to be evil and studying and achieving to be good? Our capacity to know and do good, and to avoid evil. Example Element or Feature of this sense
  • Conscience as Process Taking drugs is morally wrong. The 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. Searches for right through perception, reflection and analysis. I must find out if he did sabotage her religion poster and resolve the situation. Seeks to know the truth and to make it one’s own The catholic church, my parents, family, friends, school environment, habits and my character tell me as a human I must not do harm to others. Draws upon moral sources to understand what it means to be human in a moral way. Developed in the community What is my conscience telling me to do? As a manager do I please my employees or my public shareholders? Conscience must be formed an examined Is the Catholic church’s condemnation of abortion fair to those in society…e.g. such as myself? Moral disagreements, error, blindness and insight occur here. What are the implications of stealing and what is morally wrong about this? Knowing how to perceive accurately and to think correctly. Example Element or Feature of this sense
  • Conscience as Judgment I did not take the prize money because I did not successfully win the competition and learnt that cheating hinders true performance and fairness. Concrete judgement and decision to be made based on perception and values. Example Element or Feature of this sense I was forced to become an agnostic during the latter part of my life, but my bond with God is too strong and my connection to Christianity is too strong that my conscience would not withstand this decision. Secret core and sanctity with God. People must not be forced to act against their conscience. Hiding from my conscience whilst thinking about the thousands of dollars I spent as an alcoholic. I have now enrolled in a rehabilitation facility. This is the conscience that I must obey to be true to myself. I chose not to play the last game of polka at the casino, because I am particularly superstitious and a low risk taker. More than “this” or “that” choice, a decision is based on “this” or “that person. I knew the planned fight after school between the boys would end in disaster, so I informed a teacher to sort the matter out. I can’t stand for violence and physically outside the school environment. Conscience makes a moral decision, moral action and expresses a certain stance.
  • 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)
  • 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.
  • How your conscience develops
      • 1. 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.
  • 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.
    • Trivialization: Making excuses based on following the norms or predominant actions of society
    • Misinformation: Giving misleading or false information that could potentially cause an individual to do or have something unnecessary.
    • The end justifies the immoral means: The outcome is highly important and thus the actions undertaken whether good or bad justify this outcome.
    • Means to an end: Engaging in destructive actions and trying to suggest that there will be possible benefits by the destruction.
    • Difficulty to reason: Acting impulsively without considering the consequences or other possible solutions to a given problem.
    6 2 4 5 1 3
  • Moral behaviour is developmental: tied to intellectual, social and spiritual growth. Moral behaviour (what is good and bad) and values that guide moral actions are acquired from family, friends, school, community and formal institutions. These give rise to our character in determining “right” and “wrong” and thus come into play when facing a moral decision. Sometimes, one thinks they are doing something good, when in fact they are doing the opposite. They also find it impossible to reason the right course of action. Conscience can sometimes be malformed due to a lack of information, faulty reasoning, misinformation received from others or faulty value structures. A well-formed conscience is well informed. You have a responsibility to be informed about issues of moral living as well as other moral thinkers.
  • Humanity can be discovered through shared human experiences, but also through yourself. To understand human reality, you need to SEEK OUT INFORMATION FROM OTHERS. Confusions in the decision-making process Who can help you to inform your conscience? Are all values and norms in the community good, or can some be destructive to the community’s members. What happens when one has to choose conflicting goods? E.g. lose weight or eat another piece of cake? Solving a dilemma is only possible with moral maturity: this developed over time. This process lies within the people you interact with as well as with yourself. You need to constantly seek what it means to be human.
  • Moral questions can be sought out from the magisterium of the Catholic Church! “ For a Catholic to make a decision of conscience with indifference to, or in spite of, the magisterium would be forfeiting one’s claim to be acting as a loyal Catholic and according to a properly informed conscience” Magisterium : The official Teaching office of the Church
    • ALL GOOD THINGS COME TO AN END! THIS IS ONE OF THEM!!!