No one would define the good life as the one in which you fail to be as bad as you could have been.

Never Ignore Your Conscience—Even If Tempted By Camisoles, Honeysuckle, and Dreams

Never Ignore Your Conscience
Photo by Jan Segatto on Unsplash

# 82 on my 99 Life Tips–A List is: Never ignore your conscience. It is the only internal compass you have to accuse or excuse your behavior. Ignore it at your peril.

Your conscience is to your future moral life as the ability to feel heat from a burner is to your future sense of touch. Ignore it at your peril. You should never ignore your conscience. It’s a pre-loaded tool that either excuses or accuses your thoughts and behaviors. A moral compass if you will.

A clear conscience, free from internal, self-directed accusations and recriminations, is essential to peace of mind. And peace of mind, one of the highest of all ends to be sought for its own sake, is essential to a good life. Therefore, if you hope to have the peace of mind that enables a good life, don’t ignore your conscience.

Alternately, you can lie to yourself, cover up your faults, sins, and poor treatment of others telling yourself you’re not as bad as Osama Bin Laden or Hitler, so you’re probably still not on God’s naughty list, since you aren’t as bad as you could be.

But face it, a good life is really a life in which you’re as good as you can be in every area of which you exercise any degree of agency and control. No one would define the good life as the one in which you fail to be as bad as you could have been.

Fear and Longing in a Camisole

I remember my initial wrestlings with my conscience and the FEAR OF GOD! 

Boy, do I! It involved some strange things happening in my dreams because of a raven-haired “sitter” who read me sections of the Hobbit in a too-sheer camisole . (She was my grandfather’s second wife’s 19-year-old daughter.) I remember the feel of her silken smooth arm against my pre-teen shoulder, propped up on pillows, listening to Gollom’s riddles. I remember how she smelled of honeysuckle. And I remember the unbidden and uncontrollable, and horrible longings all that innocent sensuality provoked.

Soon, the honeysuckle-scented camisole’d sitter was in my dreams too! How did she get there? And, well… let’s just say my conscience worked just fine.

It was my first encounter with the lifelong truth so ably depicted in the Grateful Dead’s Dupree’s Diamond Blues:

“That jellyroll will drive you so mad!”

Look, there are things you can control and things you can’t. Don’t fool yourself. And don’t attempt to fool God either, remember:

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”

~ Galatians 6:7, NKJV

The Takeaway

Look, after all that 19-year old in a camisole, and honeysuckle, and dreams, you’re not stupid. You get the takeaway. I’m trying to keep a clear conscience here.

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