FROM THE PRESIDENT—Dr. James E. Jennings, PhD
Conscience comes from two Latin words, con and scientia, meaning “with knowledge.” The word suggests there is something in each person that makes us human. If we are normal, mature, and have correct knowledge about the right thing to do, we will act properly on that knowledge. Conscience tells us that we are indeed our brother’s and our sister’s keeper—that we have no choice but to be concerned with people and their needs.
If you have ever been in a flood, a fire, or accident, you know that the natural instinct is to pitch in and help out. The essence of humanity is to not allow a fellow human being to be hurt or killed if we can prevent it; instead it is natural to help others in moments of danger. Leo Tolstoy wrote, “It is impossible not to love another human being.” In a crisis, we instinctively feel compassion for others and follow the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The world is full of needy people, many of them in desperate circumstances.
That’s why Conscience International exists.
Those who have reached out with a helping hand in emergencies report that those were the very times when they felt most alive, most human. It means that when you act on conscience you are acting at a higher level than the ordinary. You have a higher purpose than a mere selfish one. In effect, you have achieved your full humanity. In this endeavor, it is especially rewarding to act in concert with others. Joint action magnifies the impact for good to generate peace and goodwill.
Acting on conscience pays unbelievable dividends. It gives you a voice that others will heed, and a sense of satisfaction that cannot be bought. In short, it’s good for the needy victims who are helped; it’s good for strengthening our human identity and civic bonds as a society; and it’s especially developmental for your life and character as an individual. I urge you to listen to your conscience and act on its promptings in whatever ways you can.