I am your Conscience

What gives us a conscience; the angel that sits opposite of the devil on our shoulder countering everything the demon whispers in our ear? How did the inner workings of our mind learn to compartmentalize the voice of good and evil? Are we born with an understanding of right and wrong or are we programmed to adjust our conscience accordingly?

Look back to the early days of your childhood and try to recall how you felt when you acted against your parent’s wishes. Did you feel an immediate sense of guilt, or was it not until you were reprimanded that you suddenly felt that twinge of a knot tighten in your chest? Consequences eventually conditions us to behave in a fashion that society deems acceptable.

I believe that we are born with a pure animal instinct we all try to deny. The only true trait that is instilled within us naturally is that of survival. We have been trained to act in a humane manner regardless of our biological makeup. We know that to eat our weakest young as a means of overcoming starvation is not only wicked but morbid. Some animals implement this as a means of survival.

In some cultures, human sacrifice is common practice. To those displaying such rituals are performing what their conscience has encouraged as noble. In most western culture, this is seen as grotesquely morbid. My question is this, is one belief right over the other?

We live in an area where unless specially designed as a vegan or vegetarian establishment, seldom would you come across an eatery which does not serve beef. Go to parts of India however and you will find that the partaking of livestock is an abomination. When I eat steak, I am simply nourishing my body. There is no guilt associated whatsoever. Some parts of the world would find my hunger for beef sinful the same way I find their meals made from the flesh of humans psychologically twisted.

What my conscience judges unfit, someone else’s might provoke as holy. Without society shepherding us through right and wrong, we would all be left with the animalistic instinct of survival potentially leading to bloodshed and chaos. Perhaps the rituals embodied throughout cultures foreign to us are gruesome, it is what creates their conscience allowing a balance of righteousness. It is essential to docile the animal living within us because at the end of the day, a conscience is not something we are born with, survival is. Our conscience is simply the way in which society allows us to tame our natural instincts of survival.

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What am I?

I’m a whisper in the compounds of your dark and twisted mind

I wish to vanquish evil, though not always can you find

The voice of reason to whom I bring

A melody of truth to which I sing

A harbor where your sins ferment in guilt that I inflict

In hopes to sway you from the wicked and spells poured out on script

Not all have been blessed to posses me

Those lacking are most menacing to be

A drive which can prevent malicious crimes from bloom

Yet hold the power within ones mind to send a convict to his doom

Like the white noise of a cricket, you hear me every night

While your own free will can enable you a bigot

I can only tell you what is right

What am I?
The answer to this riddle will be the topic of next weeks post.

Keep Your Chops Up

In the midst of a discussion about writing, my uncle who speaks the language of music quoted Louis Armstrong, offering me not only guidance but advice.

”Keep your chops up,” he said. This means to maintain “sharpness of skill” by regularly practicing your talent.

Formed from the lips of a musical master, the expression came about in reference to music, but was translated in direction to literature. As an artist, my uncle gifted me with wise words that will not only enhance my abilities but has inspired this piece.

It is simple to find moments of comfort and delay. In my own experience, writers block is the enemy. Regardless of the hatred I bear towards those solemn hours of darkness, I cannot deny its existence. I find that if I keep up with my writing however, seldom do I collide with such destruction. Having listened to my uncle and taken his advice, I applied this not only to my work, but life.

When entering a relationship, at what point do you find yourself growing comfortable and the flame of romance begins to die? Is this because perhaps you aren’t “keeping your chops up” when it comes to your significant other? Has the everyday “I love you” grown less frequent leaving spaces of romance now vacant? In regards to education and career, have you discovered that the stability it offers now allows for a lack of motivation?

It is simple to fall into rituals of comfort that result in less “sharpness of skill.” As I have often said in previous blogs, we are all guilty of being human. You must allow yourself to sense when your blade begins to weaken in order to establish an eternal point which can never dull.

As a new semester of school begins, I find the ambition within fade from what was once a zealous drive to a lagging obligation. I must remind myself at the start of each day that regardless of the time I have spent on my education, I have no excuse to grow slothful in the coming months. Once you allow your wits to dull, you can no longer allow your mind to expand with knowledge.

I have come to understand that the more I bring my pen to paper in a process of creation, the more logical my writing becomes in composition. As soon as I allow myself to stray from the text, I see the exaggerated effort it takes to manifest a piece only half as decent as my last. As I maintain my art on a regular basis, not only do I craft more enhanced sentences of expression but continually grow as a writer.

To manifest this thought into a lifestyle can only allow development in all aspects of life. In living this way, a relationship can only flourish into something even deeper than before. The firing flame of love should continue to burn and never be extinguished.

Whether it is telling your wife how beautiful she is on a daily basis, or continually expanding upon your talent, eliminate the allowance of falling victim to structure and repose. Though the journey of life has moments of repetition, allow yourself to find inventive ways of maintaining the ardor burning deep within. Stay true to your passion and loved ones always by “keeping your chops up”.

Dedicated to my Uncle Mark, talented drummer/musician.