THE DOMAIN AND ROLE OF CONSCIENCE by Abdullah Al-junayd ibn Ogungbemi
Conscience seldom makes any error in its judgment .The various errors of human beings in their social life either result from the error of reasons and the senses or a consequence of the conscience losing its power of resistance against violent impulses.
Therefore, the numerous errors observed in the different walks of human life are not related to any weakness or misjudgment on behalf of conscience, because this innate faculty does not play any role outside its domain of activity. Conscience examines the conclusions and data provided by reasons and the sensory faculties and the judgment is based on these.
A person with a pure and wholesome nature is repelled by crime and sin. Nevertheless it is possible that the under the influence of certain factors he may become tainted by sin and vice and these may cast a shadow of shame and guilt over him. But after the offence has been committed once, man turns to himself and consults the sublimest light within him, he realizes the vicious and ferocious character of that which happened and a burning flame leaps up from the depths of his being. A painful feeling of guilt envelops his entire being. This is what is called conscience, which censures the offender even after he has been punished and torments him continually with the lashes of regret.
Conscience is not only a reliable guide In the course of life, it is a just and honest witness over man’s conduct that keeps a watch over it and declares what it observes. A person may say with the tongue something which is opposite to that which is in his heart, or he may hide his secret thoughts by controlling his apparent moments. But he has no power to silence the voice of his conscience or to stop it from reproaching him. Conscience cannot be deceived. It may be possible to elude it through some mental deception or tricks or even put it to sleep for a time. But once it wakes up and studies the sinfil record of one’s deeds, it declares with perfect candidness frankness the ugly character of his nasty conducts and flogs him severely with the whip of guilt and regret.
A human being loves nothing than its own ‘self’. One who suffers the most painful torture of guilt is in fact one who has been disowned and abandoned by his own ‘self’. He comes to feel as if his crime and sin were a fire that consumes his being in its fierce flames. Hence conscience is the most effective agent in avoiding transgression and sin.
If the intensity of the pangs of conscience that he suffers were beyond his power and forbearance, a feeling of anxiety and agitation fills all his conscious state, overshadows all other feelings of satisfaction. The tormenting pressure of the conscience in some cases disturbs the normal course of the person psychic activities and gives rise to pathological conditions. The study of psychic tensions in some casesa of dementia that have been studied show that such person are those who lost their sanity and rational faculties as a result of the shattering torment and pressure of conscience resulting from commission of crimes and sins and have fallen into the furnace of guilt and regret.
At times, one’s improper wishes and impulses are so strong that man wants to deceive his conscience and to stall its activity. It is a marvelous characteristic of the conscience that it can put up a a steadfast resistance against powerful impulses and fight against them. As long as there occurs no failure in its resistance to the pressure of instincts, it carries on its effort and does not neglect its duty.
Ultimately, everyone who has disobeyed his conscience and deviated from the course of nature has always faced mental torment and anxiety. On the contrary, one who regards the waning of conscience and obeys its command finds mental peace and tranquility, the peace and tranquility in whose search the misguided run after every mirage.
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