“Conscience is a meaning organ”. “Through the conscience of the human person, a transhuman agent… ‘is sounding through’”- What does Frankl mean by conscience?
Yesterday I had a curious experience. Our dryer wasn’t working properly. I looked in the vent of the hose, and to my surprise I found three little baby birds in there. Now that I’d taken them away from their nest, it seemed to me that it was my responsibility to care for them. But how? Let us use this example to stimulate our thinking about the concept of conscience. For the next several posts each of us will give our understanding of the term conscience as it’s used in logotherapy.(Batya)
Conscience is experienced as a confrontation. I feel spoken to, addressed by something. I feel kind of stopped in my tracks. I am called to consideration. What am I to do? What is it that I have to say? How am I to act in this situation? I feel put before a decision, a choice. It is not something automatic, something that just comes without thinking. I feel someone is looking at me, expecting something of me. I somehow feel I am going to be called to account for what I am going to do, say, or act, that i will have to answer before someone. Who? This may not be clear to me. I may not at all be aware that there is a God, that He is looking at me now, reading my thoughts, searching my heart, hoping for the kind of response from me that will do Him proud. I may just feel that I am either going to feel good or bad about myself in the way I am going to choose to act. I sense that the wrong thing comes to me like a kind of temptation: “Ignore this, shy away from this, you do not have to do this, make some kind of excuse” or “You feel angry. – Say it! Defend yourself, attack this person! This person was nasty to you. Be nasty right back!” or “Take this, do this, nobody will see it, no one will notice, you will not be found out, or – “Why tell the truth? It will only hurt you. Put the blame on somebody else” – and so on and so forth. Why do I feel checked? Why do I hesitate? Because I know full well there is another way to say things, another better way to do things, a right way to act. But the choice is mine. (Teria Shantall)