Conscience: Let it Be Beacon to Humanity in 2020

By: Shreepal Singh

(Message to humanity for New year 2020)

Do we know what is brain? Of course yes; and it is located in our head. Do we know our mind? Not sure; perhaps it is a property – or an output – of our brain. But we are well aware of our mind; we have mind. Do we know our thoughts? Yes, we are well aware of our thoughts too. Where are they located in our body? Perhaps, they are the output of our mind; and in turn, they are an output of our brain. But thoughts are there; there is no doubt that we have our thoughts. Our science – the dominant branch of our knowledge – is nothing but a bundle of our thoughts – complex thoughts. All scientific laws, principles and hypothesis are our thoughts, which we have found – or are trying to find – this Nature always follows. Does this Nature know these thoughts? Of course not; Nature is not living; it is dead; there is no possibility of Nature having any thoughts, which we call this Nature’s laws (like  laws of gravity, electro-magnetic force etc.). This is our knowledge. This is the limit of our knowledge of Nature today. These are nothing but thoughts. We have thoughts and we are conscious of them.

Do we know our heart? Yes, it is located in our body in our chest. What is love or hate? Where are they located in our body? Not sure, they may be an output of our organic heart. We cannot see or located our emotions like love and hate. But we are sure love and hate exist; we are well aware of them. When we feel emotions like love, hate, anger, fear, empathy etc. there are some signature tunes in our body – then there are secretions of some specific chemicals in our body, which are associated with those emotions and testify to the existence of love, hate, anger etc.

We are not aware today of the fact that such love and hate too, just like thoughts, are integral parts of this Nature, albeit in altogether a different form. It is difficult to believe such claim at the stage of our today’s knowledge of Nature. There are many things in Nature, which we do not believe – we cannot believe. It is not the fault of Nature; it is our fault.

Is it possible for us to combine together our particular thought, like say humanism, with our particular emotion, say love? It is not easy; but sometimes we find them combined together – overlapping each other. If we go back to the organic foundation of these two diverse things – thought and love – we reach brain and heart. It is not always easy to bring thoughts and emotions in harmony. Most often, we find our emotions are illogical and our reason stands against our emotions. This is where we find our civilization is standing at present. Our civilization finds mind and emotions contradictory to each other. This civilization has to give precedence to one over another. And, our civilization has given the precedence to mind over the other one.

We say, we are humans only because we are reasonable. We push emotions to lower grade; we declare them belonging to fools – almost like children. We are better because we are not children.

What is conscience? Do we have conscience? We say, it is nonsense! We push its status even below emotions. We are wrong in dismissing – or even degrading – it; we are completely wrong. We have a faint – a very faint – feeling of the existence of our conscience. We do not know where it is located in our body but sometime this conscience becomes so loud to make itself heard by us and paid attention to that we cannot but have to hear its voice. Have you ever heard of persons who had committed some serious crime like murder, but were not caught by the authorities, to have come forward, confess to the crime and beg to the police to be punished for that crime? This is one example of hearing the voice of conscience. There are many – innumerable – such instances; and they happen in all countries and among all kinds of people – religions, ideologies, way of life etc.

Such persons know what is conscience. To them, it is crystal clear like a day light. They have no doubt. No amount of logic, reason or arguments is able to dislodge their belief in the voice of their conscience. To them, at such critical moment in their life, their conscience becomes more vocal than the logic of their mind and all its arsenal.

Our conscience lies buried deep under the weight of our limitless thoughts, emotions and prejudices. We are oblivious of its existence and deaf to its voice. We have been taught since our childhood to ignore its beacon, if it still comes to the surface of our consciousness, then to suppress it. Our civilization is founded on the principle of the suppression of its existence and its voice. Though of and on we – each one of us – become aware of its existence and its powerful – in fact, overriding – voice but our society, our civilization, does not encourage us to pay attention to its voice – to even recognize its existence.

Conscience does exist as a hard fact, as hard as our thoughts; it twinkles like a distant star – far away from us – deep within our existence. It beacons us to listen to it but in vain. It is not in a hurry to be heard; it patiently awaits its hour to be recognized, much like our thoughts and emotions. It awaits the time when it would be given by our society a place above our mind and mind’s indecisive thoughts, which remain in perpetual doubts and confusion and a place above our emotions, which much distort the benevolent light of this conscience.

Conscience twinkles within us like a distant star. It is more accurate and advantageous in its yield to us than our mind and this mind’s thoughts. It never fails in its judgment. It is the fountainhead of morality – the morality of a theist and an atheist both. It never fails in righteousness.

How can one become aware of its existence in one’s daily routine life? What is its utility in one’s private life? What is its place in our society? Look at a star in the sky;  it twinkles – though faintly – up above in the sky, as we are told in the well known children’s jingle; it is just like that. How do we find that twinkling star? We look at it; we try to locate it; we concentrate on it.

Our conscience is like the twinkling light deep within us – at a very distant location, a very deep location within us. It is difficult to locate it but it is not very difficult to trace its twinkling light. It is a light – as clear as our thoughts. It is there in everybody. It is your true guide. It is you. It has a voice. It speaks. It speaks to you. The only difficulty is that we do not like to hear its voice – a faint voice, a distant voice – because it looks to us absurd in its suggestions. It is not very difficult to locate, because it is you – you yourself. In the tranquility of your mind – in the leisure of your time, when there is nobody between you and its voice – the voice of your conscience speaks to you. If you pay a little attention to it, it calls you; its voice becomes louder to be clear to you and unmistakable in its bidding. Then, there is nothing strong enough to challenge its authority – your religion, your faith, your ideas, your precious concerns of this life. Then, nothing stands as an obstacle between you and this voice. It guides you to the best way – out of all the possible ways – in the given circumstances for you, though that way may look an absurd one to you at that moment. But if you obey it, later on it comes out to be the best one for you. If you obey its voice and call, it does so always and unfailingly. This voice becomes you yourself. If you hear it and obey its commands as a habit, then you are not an ordinary human being; you are much above ordinary people – and without an inflated ego. You come out of this psychological exercise back to this world as a totally transformed – different – person. Then, people around you would find that you have become a model of morality, which should be an ideal for humanity. Then, people would find in you, in your words and your conduct qualities that are nothing less than miracles to ordinary people. This is the power of conscience. Conscience is better and higher than mind and emotions, both.

The world is moving in the direction of making this element of conscience as the foundation of our civilization. Universal respect for humans rights and protection of animals’ rights are some of the outer signs of the reflection of this inner conscience. It is an unfolding of a better civilization. Let us all – humanity at large – look inside us, hear our conscience and craft a better civilization for all of us and for our posterity. Let this be the message from a feeble voice from India to the world for the new year 2020.

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