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 Blooming Stars

Well-Formed Conscience

            Life is tough and arduous. It is important to know how to live a meaningful, purposeful, and joyous life. Is there God? Does life end here on earth? Is there an after-life? Whether one believes in God/after-life or not, I am convinced beyond any doubt that every human being born into this world has all the answers or the potential for all the answers necessary to negotiate through the ups and downs of life to achieve the immediate and intermediate goals and to finally realize the ultimate aim, whatever that may be, in life. Psychology provides answers for happy and harmonious living. Philosophy attempts to give perspectives on life, knowledge, and vexing issues. Religions try to prescribe answers for human destiny, life here and hereafter. I very strongly believe that life with all its hardships, joys, and sorrows needs to be enjoyed; I have come to the conclusion that life can be celebrated.

            After studying and receiving formal training in philosophy, psychology, religions, theology, and spirituality, and after teaching, training, and treating persons in the field of mental health and guiding others in the realm of the spirit for years, I like to set forth what I consider to be the essentials of living. For these essentials to work well a well-formed conscience marked by truthfulness, justice, freedom, and equality is necessary. While forming conscience no effort or pain should be spared to clear doubts related to vital matters. No human authority of any kind however highly placed and in whatever manner chosen, can substitute for a well-formed conscience even when that authority disapproves of it. The greatest mistake that revealed religions have made is the assertion, dogmatic or not, that they have the supreme authority to judge others’ conscience and to condemn others.

            This is outright, unparalleled arrogance pure and simple. This kind of blind arrogance has led to tragic consequences for humanity in the past; it paves the way for the most vicious fundamentalism, intolerance, and authoritarianism, and even terrorism in the present. Terrorism is a desperate and blind attempt to right some of the wrongs and human rights violations of the past by powerful and arm-twisting nations attempting to deal with their own guilt, perhaps, with good intentions. I have in mind the Jewish problem after holocaust and the establishment of Israel that have resulted the oppression of the Palestinians. Unfortunately it has found fertile soil in the wrongly interpreted jihadic version of Islam making false promises.

            These essentials treated are integrated guidelines selected from existing and available bodies of knowledge, sacred scriptures, universal principles, maxims, and insights after long painstaking search and deep reflection. While the human being is composed of body, mind, spirit, and soul (from belief), the guidelines take into account the best body of knowledge that I have assimilated over the years. The guidelines are mostly practical points with theoretical underpinnings.

            • Do to others what you like others to do to you. How would you like others to treat you? After due reflection, find out the answer. You will know how to treat others. Give everyone his or her due. Justice dictates it. Do not expect from others including your spouse, if you are married, what you are not willing to give or do. It is not in the interest of anyone to acquire power to control others. Tolerance of diversity and belief systems that do not violate human rights is necessary. Do not abridge your freedom, the most determining characteristic of a human, by accepting some other human being as your absolute authority. Freedom diminished in one person is freedom diminished for the entire humanity. No healthy spirituality will diminish one’s freedom. No human being or religious dogma can be an absolute authority for someone else. Nobody can and needs to acquire that kind of authority. That real true freedom is to choose God and God’s commandments begs the question and does not hold water precisely because we tend to create our own Gods. Interestingly God loves human beings so much that God gave them freedom even to reject God. To me that is real true freedom.

            Joseph Campbell through his studies have insightfully shown that all religions and belief systems have in them the well-formulated 10 Judeo-Christian Commandments. All are created equal. No enlightened person will place oneself above others. The more free you are the more human you are. And the more human you are the more divine (if you believe in a divine being) you can be. Nature has placed at the disposal of everyone who is willing to do real hard search all that is necessary for this earthly sojourn. Humanity is not defective. We need to believe in the inherent goodness of all human beings. Humanity is not perfect; it is perfectible. Everything without exception has to be accepted by and consented to by one’s own free will. If you choose to submit to some higher power or authority, it is your decision. Do not impose your will on others. For nobody has a right to do that. Do not judge others. Do not go beyond the data you have at hand. State the facts, and only the rigorous facts, unswayed by your biases, prejudices, pre-judgments, stereotyping, assumptions, and interpretations. Empathic understanding of others, non-violent conflict-resolution, compassionate relating, and sharing resources especially with the needy are imperative duties for a peaceful and spirit-filled life.

            • A Well-Formed Conscience is indispensable in right living. A highly sophisticated conscience is formed after taking into account developments especially in philosophy, theology, morality, psychology, ethics, religions, and spirituality. For a simple conscience common to all is formed even without formal education is got from the age-old Golden Rule: Do to others what you like others to do to you. The maxim “Do good and Avoid evil “is empathically, universally, and naturally expressed in all at least rudimentarily. Parents, elders, and other mentors in society pass on the good values from generation to generation.


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