Together we fall

Modified from Wikipedia

Having a clear conscience helps us sleep at night. It is widely considered to be an inbuilt mechanism that forces us to be truthful. It also helps us become a better person. I have a slightly different view on this. Stay with me. This might sound a little weird. 

Your conscience tells you whether you did good or not. For example, it might tell you if its okay to go home without finishing your work. How? 

Variety 1: 
- You see that the project is already delayed. Your extra two hours is not going to help. Conscience cleared. 
- Others have gone home and if they don't care, why should you? Conscience cleared. 
- Your company makes a lot of money. Why kill yourself to add a few dollars to their bottom line? Conscience cleared.


Variety 2: 
- You can't sleep in peace, without finishing your work. So you finish it and go home. Conscience cleared. 

The weird thing is - irrespective of what we do, we seem to have a clear conscience. We do believe with all sincerity,  that we did "whatever we could" to make the world a better place More simply put - we believe that we do the right thing, all the time.

A key difference between 1 and 2 is that one of them has a conscience that changes constantly based on the external world. They follow "when in Rome, do as Romans do" most of the time. They satisfy their conscience-craving by telling themselves that everything's alright, as long as others are doing it too. It is okay to break rules as long as others are breaking them too. It is okay to be unfair as long others are being unfair too. 

While it helps us sleep tight, it also gives power in other people's hands. People/corporations/governments ...  who wish to manipulate us. As long as they can make it "okay" for a critical mass do something, we all tend to follow easily. It is okay to buy something we can't afford, because others are doing it. It is okay publish private information, as long others are doing it. Hate a class of people because others seem to hate them too. Develop a blind superstition because others have it too. 

We love our "conscience status-quo" so much that we willingly become a part of the 99%.  Sometimes we protest, but after venting our anger at the open skies, we come back to "doing as Romans do".