Every month we will put up some inspiration and insight for you to think about. The star input page can be used as a session during Club or on your own.
JANUARY/FEBRUARY - "CONSCIENCE OR JUST A GUT FEELING"
What's my conscience? How do I know what my conscience is telling me?
This is the story of Desmond Doss, an American pacifist combat medic who, as a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, refused to carry or use a weapon or firearm of any kind. Doss became the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor, for service above and beyond the call of duty during the Battle of Okinawa, where he saved 75 men.
This clip emphasizes the impact of the example of 1 man staying true to his conscience on those around him, even though they did not understand his values.
Hannah Arendt was a German philosopher and considered one of the most important political philosophers of the twentieth century.
Her works cover a broad range of topics, but she is best known for those dealing with the nature of power and evil. She is best remembered for the controversy surrounding the trial of Adolf Eichmann, her attempt to explain how ordinary people become actors in totalitarian systems.
In this clip Hannah Arendt makes the distinction between the responsibility we each have for the choices we make and for the regimes or anti-human systems which exist in our world. The dignity of the person lies in our individual ability to make choices and deliberate decisions about the right or wrong of something. Not to do this is to deny the dignity of the person. If we refuse to think – (“Silent dialogue between me and myself” Socrates), we refuse to be a person, refuse to take a decision or a stance on something and open our world to shocking consequences “banality of evil” of people like Eichmann. We let others choose for us and this has led and will lead to some of the greatest atrocities.
“The greatest evil in the world is the evil committed by nobodies” Hanna Arendt
“In matters of conscience the law of the majority has no place” Gandhi.
“Happiness is a clear conscience” Leo Tolstoy.
“Conscience is the window of our spirit, evil is the curtain” Douglas Horton.
“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” Dr. Martin Luther King.
“Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it” Albert Einstein.
1. Do I know what I believe or what my core values are? Do I stand up for what I believe?
2. Do I realise that without core values I have nothing to live for and I am lost?
3. When I feel confused about some topic or issue how do I resolve the confusion? If I don’t know what decision to make, do I ask people I know will tell me the truth even if I find it hard to understand?
4. What do I read, watch, follow online? Is it helping me to understand the truth? Or is it confusing me, pulling me away from what I believe?
5. Do I follow or like things on social media because of who is following them or do I actually give time to think about what my stance is on them? Do I succumb to GroupThink (the practice of thinking or making decisions as a group, resulting typically in unchallenged, poor-quality decision-making).
6. In the film Sophie Scholl, Sophie says “The law changes, conscience doesn't". Do our core values change?
7. Do my core values change depending on who I am with? My friends or family
8. Everyone has a conscience, irrespective of whether they are religious or not. Germany was one of the most educated society of it’s time before and during WWII and a state induced moral collapse occurred nonetheless. Being educated and intelligent is not the same as having a well-formed conscience. Do I challenge others to know their conscience and form it well?