Superior TelegramThe wise words of an old Indian friend from MontanaPeople would likely agree that almost everyone has a conscience, which is an inner compulsion to do the right thing.
By: Bernie Hughes,
People would likely agree that almost everyone has a conscience, which is an inner compulsion to do the right thing.
When I was young, I thought that parents created our conscience to a great extent as they taught us right from wrong. Most of us know, luckily, how hard they tried. But most would also agree there are some people who do not demonstrate this urge or compulsion.
If a conscience is innate, we were born with it, and our parents tried hard to instill it, what happened to those exceptional cases?
A different viewpoint was offered me in a discussion with an elderly Indian friend in Poplar, Mont., many years ago where I taught school for six years. He felt that our conscience was innate, and it was like the top of a tin can cover, cut out with tin snips leaving rough sharp edges.
When we were tempted and began to do the wrong thing, it turned and that hurt until we quit. But in a few cases, some few folks increasingly did the wrong thing, the hurt gradually diminished and ceased as the cover turning created a free path.
In the long run, they could do wrong without that hurt. Those individuals without conscience create one reason we need government.
Although some folks feel that government has gotten too large, it seems more likely to me that with so with many more people in increasingly crowed spaces, we very much need those regulations and enforcement personnel.
After retirement, my wife and I were fortunate to make several foreign trips and one that circled the globe. We had to be extremely careful with expenditures and so we sought small Mom and Pop type sleeping arrangements and similar type food sources.
In different countries, with many different languages, we sought help, time and time again. We found people helpful beyond expectation, and never once in those three months, were we taken advantage of.
I sincerely believe that the great majority of humans originally desire to do the right thing. My “guestimate” would be that at least 95 percent do.
Life experience has taught me that all religions teach the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
As our media carries stories of the wrongs that occur, my old Indian friend’s comment returns to my thinking. These wrong doers have increasingly done enough wrong so that their conscience cover has worn an unobstructed path.
Wars have too often been fought for the wrong reasons. Propaganda has made people believe that the other side has done harm to them first or threatens to, so now we have to attack.
In fact, the suspicion that they have or could — this fear too often, causes unwise actions. Too often, too, wars have been the financial needs of corporate resource seekers. They need that money. Conscience be damned.
Now, maybe, when you notice an act of kindness or especially the seriously wrong doing, you’ll remember my old Poplar, Mont., Indian friend and the roughly cut tin can cover analogy.
Bernie Hughes, Ed.D, is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.