The crux of what sets the voice of conscience apart from superego is its transcendent origin. What does this “voice” say? What is its significance? What is the result of listening to it?
The voice of conscience is comes from beyond the person and relates to the higher spiritual dimension of life as opposed to the voice of superego that originates in the psyche and speaks from the throat of any number of people or societal influences in the person’s life.
One may well ask: Is there nothing of value in parental or societal norms? The values that the voice of conscience and the voice of superego are speaking of may at times be the same values. We need not toss away all of the messages uttered by the superego, as long as conscience has a part in hearing them.
Meaning is not something we arbitrarily conjure up, and assign to events. Values and meanings must be found and it is the task of conscience to find them. It’s something we have to discover.
Referring to meaning Frankl said “If it were just something emerging from the subject himself…” If it was not something that stems from a sphere beyond man and above man that would instantly lose their demand quality. They could never be a real challenge to man. They would never be able to summon him up or to call him forth.
Conscience is not only a voice but also eyes that see the whole picture, from a perspective beyond the delimiting view of the psyche. Is a voice calling out from the heavens? Do we mean to say the person is delusional and hearing voices?
No, we are not saying that. What is meant by “beyond” is that conscience expands one’s vision and attunes one’s hearing, allowing one to see beyond the superficial view of reality with its narrow perspective towards an all-encompassing spiritual perspective. No one is claiming prophecy. In fact conscience can err. To see with conscience is to look at one’s self from the outside, and to hear with conscience is to hear from a perspective outside the physical, emotional psychological realm, even from outside one’s self altogether.
This is in stark contrast with superego, where what you see is what you get and that’s all that you get.
The voice of conscience, unlike the voice of superego or the voices of society is a medium for grasping the meaning of the situation. Conscience is the vehicle by which to discern what we’re called upon to do Thus, I prefer saying we listen through and not to our conscience, as awkward as this may be grammatically.