When your intelligence don’t tell you
something ain’t right, your conscience gives you a tap on the shoulder and says
Hold on. If it don’t, you’re a snake. — Elvis Presley
As one might expect, Carl Jung expressed Presleys folk wisdom
in somewhat more formal language; but the idea is the same, Through pride we
are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average
conscience a still, small voice says to us, ‘Something is out of tune.’
Christopher Reeve also heard that inner voice, I think we all have a little
voice inside us that will guide us. It may be God, I don’t know. But I think that
if we shut out all the noise and clutter from our lives and listen to that
voice, it will tell us the right thing to do.
The recurring belief is that the voice of conscience is
ever-present and far less fallible than the voice of reason. For example, Josh
Billings asserted, Reason often makes mistakes but conscience never does.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau made the same point this way, Reason deceives us often;
conscience never. Although stated less dogmatically, Joseph Cook agreed with
Conscience is our magnetic compass; reason our chart.
Unfortunately, that little voice may not be quite the totally
reliable key to recognizing the good and right some say it is. Samuel Butler
pointed out, Conscience is thoroughly well-bred and soon leaves off talking to
those who do not wish to hear it. As it turns out, conscience has an attitude.
If you dont pay attention to it, it may just stop paying attention to you.
Were that not problem enough, what conscience is saying isnt always clear. You
can listen and still struggle to understand. As William Dean Howells pointed
out, The difficulty is to know conscience from self-interest.
Conscience and reason are having a fight. They go back and forth
all through the night. Its a right to the nose and a left to the chin. When
morning comes, they start over again.
Reason says that it makes perfect sense. Its trying to nudge
you off of the fence. The tug of conscience is hard to abide. Its pulling you
hard to the other side.
You sway back and forth, first left and then right. Do you do
what makes sense or do what seems right? Conscience gives you a pull, then
reason a push. If this isnt resolved, youll be dumped on your tush.
Does reason prevail or does the little voice win? Do you take
one on the nose or one on the chin? Either way you go, it doesnt feel good. Do
you do what makes sense or do what you should?
Calm yourself and try to unwind. Take a deep breath and make up
your mind. Do you go with what you think or with that little voice? Its up to
you; and you live with your choice.