Let’s consider the history of the world, shall we? What is it filled with? Good people doing terrible things. Why are they doing these terrible things? Because they don’t think they are terrible. They think they are good.
The WORST of these violators think what they are doing is good because their conscience says so. Their conscience might be in the form of GOD telling them to slaughter entire tribes. Or maybe it’s their conscience telling them it’s their superiority in intelligence or religiosity or genetics, etc. that allows them to enslave and colonize entire continents. Maybe their conscience tells them their physical strength gives them the right to own women and make them do what they want. Maybe their conscience tells them their wealth proves their worthiness to be in control over others and those others who are poor deserve their fate.
How do you avoid letting your conscience lead you astray into evil? For me, it’s by having a rules of behavior and thinking that guard against it.
Here are four actions that I practice remembering:
- Being kind is more important than being right.
- Knowing something to be true too quickly is not to be trusted.
- Seeing the issue from the person who could be hurt’s point of view is essential.
- Causing harm to a specific group of people is not my conscience acting, but my ego and my fear.
What actions do you take?
Drawing and Commentary © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
“Men never do evil so fully and so happily as when they do it for conscience’s sake.” – Blaise Pascal, 1623-1662, French scientist and philosopher