(M. Tulllius Cicero, Pro Milone 23.61; Tusculanae Disputationes 2.17.40)
The force of conscience is great.
(pron = MAHG-nah wis kohn-skee-EN-tee-ai)
Comment: The word for "conscience" is a compound of the words "knowledge" and
the preposition "with". So, from simply putting the words together we might
reflect on conscience as a knowledge that we share together with others.
The question is, who are these others? Karl Jung aknowledged a collective
knowing, a kind of universal pool of knowing that all sentient beings
participated in. He saw some of our dream life, especially those dreams that
include universal symbols like fire and water as coming out of the collective
unconscious. Our stories and artwork include these symbols from the collective.
In that sense, we know together with all of humanity, past and present.
Through the collective knowing, especially as we reflect on it and allow it to
speak to us and become part of our inner guidance, we may become inspired,
connected and wise.
Sigmund Freud taught that the conscience, or the superego, was a mental
formation that represented the mores of our parents. Parental rules were early
on implanted into the child's psyche and became the "voice" that issued
prohibitions around certain behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. This superego
is formed from the things that parents are afraid of as well as the things they
hope for. In other words, the "voice of conscience" in this regard is what mom
and dad hoped and feared for their children. It is a voice that does not
belong to the individual at all. It is a projection of parental anxiety on the
child, and the anxiety does not necessarily go away just because the child grows
Cicero is right in saying that the force of conscience is great. Some poeple
seem to be inspired by an inner direction. Others seem to be held back and
crippled by an inner voice (or voices) that never allow them to "go out and
play" in their lives.
I guess the real question is where our inner direction is coming from and to
whom it really belongs.
(Used with permission)
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