The Conscience Within by Roy Masters – part 1 of 4Published May 21, 2019
This is a shared posting.
The Conscience Within
by Roy Masters
part 1 of 4
I wonder if you have given much thought to the meaning of life–where you came from and where you are going. When you are very young I suppose you don’t think much about your end, how it will come, and what lies beyond, if anything; but as you get older these thoughts begin to parade through your mind. You see that you have just so much time left. In my case, for instance, most of it lies behind me. [ Editor’s note: At this time, Roy was unaware of how soon he would be undergoing heart surgery.] Precious little lies ahead, so it’s important that I dig around the roots a little bit to find out why I’m here, to explore more fully the reason for my existence, and hopefully to fulfill it.
It seems to me that human beings are not just animals all the way down to their marrow. There is something different about us humans that differentiates us from the beasts of the field. And it is called “conscience.” It is your conscious to which I am appealing, your sense of right and wrong. I know that you know what is right and what is wrong. Every halfway decent person knows what fair and unfair are. Even small children know it. If another kid takes a child’s toy, pulls it out of his hand, he knows that it’s not fair. He sees the injustices in the world. We are all born subject to injustice; it seems that injustice precedes us in the world.
The question is: how do you effect justice? How do you survive injustice? Why not just go along to get along, like the evolved animal being some people say we are? I don’t’ agree with them, of course, when they advise us to get all the gusto we can and just enjoy ourselves, take as much as we can before we kick off.
Sooner of later, such an attitude will lead to conflict. But suppose it seems to be succeeding for you? You have all the money in the world–well, more than enough, a nice car, family perhaps, and a successful business–still, something’s wrong, isn’t it? Something is wrong, and you sense it. And you try harder to make it right. You go to church and you put on the best front possible. Still you don’t feel right about being (seeming to be?) right, and you compensate. You become successful in the eyes of the community–a great engineer, a great doctor. you do good, and everybody sees you doing good. They say “What a wonderful person Joe Schmo is!”
But you don’t feel wonderful, no matter how wonderful others think you are. You even get suspicious of the way they think of you. You don’t believe that they believe because somehow the more wonderful everyone thinks you are, the less wonderful you become. It’s a mystery. You don’t even feel right about being religious. You don’t really believe your own belief in God.
Isn’t that right? I don’t mean to say that there is no such thing as a true belief, but there’s a problem connected with it. The deeds that evoke opinions on which an image of ourselves rests separate us from the core of our being and have no substance in reality whatsoever. The difference lies in the direction of the flow.
Articles by Roy Masters