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Is it too late to grow a conscience?

By       Message Roland Michel Tremblay     Permalink
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As humanity, do we have a conscience? Sometimes it could be opened to debate as we can easily point out many human beings who do not appear to have one at all. Mostly politicians, religious leaders, management and all sorts of criminals. Maybe none of them require a conscience to reach ultimate power and wealth. What about us, is it too late to develop a conscience?

This last decade will be remembered and talked about in history, perhaps as much if not more than both first world wars. We appear to have avoided another imminent world war and another Hitler, all made possible by so-called terrorism. We nearly lost all our rights and there are still talks about changing the Constitution. Some financial sharks got away with all our money and here comes a second great depression crowned with Swine Flu. Global warming, famines, genocides, the list goes on. This is the beginning of the new millennium, quite a regression for humanity.

The months leading to the American presidential elections last year were frantic, we all went wild fighting, to do anything to stop what we thought was happening, the worst case scenario for humanity. And we said things that today certainly could appear quite extreme. Now we have calmed down, even though all these events are still developing and we are far from finding lasting solutions. We have however the time to reflect on this period, and we wonder: what happened, or more exactly, what is it that we were actually fighting against? Why do we feel we have avoided the worst case scenario?

I just watched a powerful film called "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" with Maggie Smith (1969), where a teacher with fascist tendencies from Edinburgh led one of her students to her death in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, and still could not see what she had done. And now I am wondering, what is it again that we all wrote and said while we were in the thick of it last year, and what exactly were the consequences of such fuelled political discourses?

To be honest I am a bit afraid to read again all those articles I have written in the last two years, I'm hoping I was not as extreme as I remember. I hope there has not been any consequence to what I felt at the time was like entertainment, for me anyway as I never took myself that seriously to begin with.

Have I caused the death of anyone in the last year through writing inflamed stuff in the heat of the moment? It does not really matter, or does it? Should one only write about peace and love, beauty and truth, moral and ethical things? Should journalists be more positive and suddenly it will be reflected back into human behavior? Or would no one read such positive articles mostly talking about happiness and joy?

The elevator for the heavens just arrived on the ground floor with one apple tree within, packed with the brightest flowers ever and all the saints of all souls. And the smell, as divine as god itself. Are you hungry for sins or redemption? A mea culpa is bound to come in at some point, for those who still have a soul. In short, is it too late to develop a conscience? One way or another, maybe we cannot win.

Some people have a conscience, it is clear, peaceful, they are generally nice people, and whether they should have a need for a conscience is a good question. Some others are cruel by nature, they could be described as monsters, and yet, they have no regret and no remorse. Can we say they have no conscience then?

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Easy to classify them as psychopaths, or people with a soul who have no choice but to emulate the psychopathic behavior of their leaders in order to climb the social hierarchy. But what if they are just people like you and I? So easily we move from being good people to becoming evil when the right circumstances present themselves. Those circumstances don't even need to become extreme before we prove to be bad apples. Survival is a strong human instinct, you never know where it will lead you in the end.

So what can we make of it? Do we have a conscience or not, if many can suppress it at will and act as if they had none? Who needs a conscience in this world anyway. We all know god never existed, or is long dead by now. I wonder, or am I jumping the gun? The very one pointed at your head, forcing you to believe, to be what you are not and will never be. Faith is everything nowadays, as it always was, at gunpoint.

It seems to me that the only ones who still have a conscience these days are Catholics, and I am not talking about their religious leaders. I'm joking of course, as I always did, but it leads to what I want to say. It seems to me that people only have a conscience if it has been pre-programmed in their mind, whether as a child or at some turning point in their life, most likely once they discover a rehabilitation program or some religious or new age movement along the way.

Otherwise, what need do we have for a conscience? I feel that if we were all left to our own devices, as animals, none of us would have a conscience. At that point you can only have a conscience by convention, if we decided that somehow you should have one implanted within your mind through teachings, motherly talks, nanny states' discourses, probation officers and other methods of conditioning.

I'm afraid, I have a conscience, a powerful one too. I cannot allow myself to intentionally hurt another in any way, be it an animal, a human being or even an insect (often I am unable to make the distinction between those three). I have to admit that perhaps the thought of being good would never have occurred to me if I had not been told it was wrong to be bad.

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I could have perhaps understood it by myself, witnessing how much I suffered when people hurt me. I may then have thought it was a bad idea to hurt in return or to hurt others at all. That sums me up. History and our daily existence however tell us that usually if someone hurts you, you hurt them back, and even, you don't care anymore and you can start hurting everyone else as a result, in some great chain reaction.

When some 20 so-called terrorists attacked New York and killed something like 3,000 of our citizens, we instantly went to war for a decade at least, destroying a few countries in the process and killing over a million people. That is one way of responding to it, which never required a conscience. Or will we live to regret it? I suppose we always do overreact in any such situation, so ready we are to go to war on any pretext, especially personal wars on an individual basis.

I have to admit, I fought against my conscience. My books and articles are filled with hurting stuff, but in real life you would have to search deep to find any occurrence of me hurting anyone, I am such a gentle soul. I wish I had no conscience at all, it would have helped me a great deal to survive the world we live in.

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Roland Michel Tremblay is an author. More information here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roland_Michel_Tremblay

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