"If mankind had wished for what is right, they might have had it
long ago. The theory is plain enough; but they are prone to mischief,
'to every good work reprobate.'"
Hazlitt + Heidelberger Katechismus
| "Enjoy and give pleasure, without doing harm to yourself or to anyone
else - that, I think, is the whole of morality."
This is another quote I like, in a series of quotes I like
and abbreviate GW,
that would have been, perhaps, more in place yesterday, when it was the
Dutch National Day of Liberation, namely of Nazism, on May 5, 1945, although
these days the Dutch authorities extend it to anything and anyone they
somehow want to tie in as "good" or "noble", thereby also mostly
trivializing and bureaucratizing all of it.
But that is not my theme, which is what the title says: "The
world is full of people with split conscience" which comes from
Dagobert Runes's "Handbook of Reason" (*),
that consists of mostly fairly brief items, such as this, that is not my
subject, that follows below, but that is very much related:
It is pitiful that so many sensible persons feel that they
must always deride their party opponents and praise their
party colleagues. My party, right or wrong—that is wrong.
-- (D. Runes, op. cit. p. 137)
Incidentally (not in Runes):
I always voted at my party's call,
And I never thought of thinking for myself at all.
-- W.S. Gilbert
Now as to explaining the quotes just given, and much besides
- and as before I preserve the original formatting, except that I paragraph
with an extra empty line:
Split conscience is a form of empathy or partial res-
ponsive action in a movement or issue. The Christian minis-
ter in National Socialist Germany would feel responsible for
the spiritual welfare of his flock, preach his weekly sermon,
tend Sunday school, and the like. Yet the fundamental social
upheaval resulting in multiple degradation, incarcaration and finally
gas-choking of a million Jewish and Gypsy children touched not the
minister of Christ. He preached with regularity; he blessed Hitler's
weapons as requested; he planted Hitler's hooked-cross standard right
at the altar. The minister's conscience had split: it covered only one
phase of his life.For the great bestialities of the street and death
camps he had no eye; for tortured voices of aliens, no ear.
The world is full of people with split conscience.
Such split conscience, reserved for certain limited res-
ponsibilities only, is the tragical dominant element in hu-
man society. Thus we can observe that the German members of societies
for the protection of animals would choke to death Jewish or Gypsy
infants with equanimity. Russian scientists leading a life of
dedication to knowledge would encourage by signed appeals to American
students the assassination ofAmerican statesmen and demand the
extermination of Jewish émigrés to Israel.
Leftist lawyers who are most sensitive to the refusal of
a passport to a professional rabble-rouser in America fail to
see the total suppression of freedom of travel in the Leftist
They all live with a split conscience. Nothing matters
to those so bereft but their own carefully guarded limits of
opportunism. Only in such a world is it possible that highly
educated Roman patriarchs could enjoy a circus of wild
beasts devouring captives of another race, or Russia's intel-
lectual leadership supply deadly booby traps and long-dis-
tance missiles to reckless guerillas, or the disciplined chur-
ches of Europe put thousands of families of the faith of Jesus
to the rack and torch.
I am speaking of the nice people, the educated people,
who made no move to free the serfs of Europe or the blacks
of the Americas. Where were they, the gentle members of
society, those in uniforms, in black cloth, in stylish dress,
those on horses and in carriages—where were they
when nine-tenths of the population of Europe, Asia and
the Americas lived in squalor and anguish? Where was their
conscience? It was split near the edge and that little was de-
dicated not to man at large, but to their own social equals
The crux will not salve this horrid globe of ours; Con-
science is the true crux of the matter. Without an all-embra-
cing conscience, undivided and undistracted, the world will
remain in miserable shambles with hyenas and vermin on the
Let the whole conscience speak:
I do not wish to please the clergy. I do not wish to
please the saints. I do not wish to please the judges. I do not wish to
please the official regiment. I have seen fifty priests and ministers
sit around a fettered heretic and rip the living trembling creature's
skin off inch by inch. I have seen a group of black-robed
administrators of justice condemn men and women on their assembly line
of justice to Siberian death camps and Chinese executioners ax heads
off on acclamation.
I have seen men robbed of their livelihood by a stroke of
the pen of subservient superiors. I have seen men butchered in the name
of Jesus, Marx, Hitler, Mao, Caesar, the Pope and evil little kings.
I do not wish to please anyone but my conscience.
My conscience does not murder.
My conscience is clear.
My conscience is my guide.
May your conscience replace the dogmas of a torturous
world. It has no ax to grind.
-- (D. Runes, op. cit. p. 43-45)
Whether this is feasible for the majority of men and women, such as they
are, in the world Ilive in, is quite questionable - though it also clearly sometimes is, for some.
Here are some relevant links, in Englishand Dutch:
As to one's conscience: In the end one is personally and individually
responsible for one's own actions and omissions, modulo one's capacities,
and unless one is insane, for whatever reason - but it is true, alas, that
most men and women live by the
rather than by a comprehensive
"Handbook of Reason",
Philosophical Library, New York, 1972, SBN 8022-2078-9.
Incidentally, Runes makes no secret of his Jewish
background - I don't mind, but some do - and see above, under
CONSCIENCE - and my reason to mention it is that this Handbook is
basically a set of brief personal essays and aphorisms.
Runes was an interesting man in his own right, and a personal friend of Einstein.
Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later.
-- May 17, 2011: Rectified some formatting
Incidentally... what is and is not in Nederlog is
mostly a matter
of health, mood and chance, and in this case my eye happened to fall
on the Runes passage.
Also, it happens to explain much of what is related in
ME in Amsterdam quite
and egoism often
As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):
1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a
professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about
maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter
of one's beliefs:
is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon
7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.
me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!
No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure.
I ask the Earth, have not the mountains felt?
I ask yon Heaven, the all-beholding Sun,
Has it not seen? The Sea, in storm or calm,
Heaven's ever-changing Shadow, spread below,
Have its deaf waves not heard my agony?
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!"
- (Shelley, "Prometheus Unbound")
"It was from this time that I developed my way of judging
the Chinese by dividing them into two kinds: one humane and one not. "
ME -Documentation and
ME - Resources
Maarten Maartensz (M.A. psy, B.A. phi)