I am a woman born 1949 and my quest is to find a mindmate
to grow old together as a mutually devoted couple
in a relationship based upon the
egalitarian rational commitment paradigm
bonded by intrinsic commitment
as each other's safe haven and secure basis.

The purpose of this blog is to enable the right man
to recognize us as reciprocal mindmates and
to encourage him to contact me:

The entries directly concerning,
who could be my mindmate,
are mainly at the beginning.
If this is your predominant interest,
I suggest to read this blog in the same order
as it was written, following the numbers.

I am German, therefore my English is sometimes faulty.

Maybe you have stumbled upon this blog not as a potential match.
Please wait a short moment before zapping.

Do you know anybody, who could be my mindmate?
Your neighbour, brother, uncle, cousin, colleague, friend?
If so, please tell him to look at this blog.
While you have no reason to do this for me,
a stranger, maybe you can make someone happy, for whom you care.

Do you have your own webpage or blog,
which someone like my mindmate to be found probably reads?
If so, please mention my quest and add a link to this blog.

Monday, August 2, 2010

36. Conscience - Self-Control

Conscience - Self-Control

I just read 'The Sociopath Next Door' by Martha Stout.   It is a very good book, it is mainly about the lack of a conscience as a core problem, when people suffer from the ruthless behavior of sociopaths. 

But I do not really agree with the last chapter, where Stout connects the concept of a conscience too much to religion.   She talks about conscience as an emotion, and somehow seems to assume, that everybody knows it well enough to make any further look at it obsolete.

I think that conscience needs to be seen in the wider context of self-control.   Self-control can be considered as a strength of constraint, that is stronger than any urge, wish, instinct, temptation to do something, that is evaluated as not desirable.   Self-control can be extrinsically motivated by the consequences, or intrinsically by the effect upon self-respect and self-esteem.   

The behavior under constraint can be either something only being detrimental for the individual himself, or it can be derived from the individual's values guiding his judgement of what is right or wrong in how to treat others.    In this sense, the joy of gained self-esteem, when doing, what is right, and the pain of damaged self-esteem, when doing, what is wrong, can be the emotion, that is called conscience.  

But the individual's sense for right or wrong can come from very different sources.    It starts with the super-ego, that puts rules into the child's head, then religious upbringing and the culture influences it too.   That is it all for many people.  

But rational people can decide on a fair balance of giving and receiving, on a tit-for-tat strategy, and when they feel good in their self-esteem about themselves by following it, and feel bad otherwise, then they can have a conscience, that is independent from any religion.