Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Newsnight covering social issues # 70 conscience

Newsnight (BBC 2's flagship-ish News and current affairs show) has run a couple of  interesting items around social issues this week, on Monday the work of Citizen's Advice Bureaus (CAB) was the focus and  last night it was the increase in suicides in the UK's middle aged males was highlighted.

The CAB is a third sector organisation which receives government funding but is being squeezed at a time of increasing demand for their services, having had  relatives supporting by volunteering I'm particularly sympathetic to their work and goals as an example of 'Big Society' I'd like to think that its commitment won't be ignored.

Big Idea number 70 is Conscience

Conscience is the awareness of a moral or ethical aspect to one's conduct together with the urge to prefer right over wrong as Jiminy Cricket said  'Always let your conscience be your guide.'

Society relies to a certain degree on conscience (or is it the fear of being observed/found out?)
Theologians such as Joseph Butler accept that conscience is not determined by a religion and never relies on divine authority in asserting the supremacy, the universality or the reliability of conscience. Butler clearly believes in the autonomy of the conscience as a secular organ of knowledge.

In Hinduism it is known as 'the invisible god who dwells within us' and Freudians see conscience in the Superego formed during childhood (have some sympathy with this).