"Conscience is no more than the fear of being caught," wrote Angela Marsons. Was she right? How do you feel about that?

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10 Answers

PJ Stein Profile
PJ Stein answered

I have to disagree. Getting caught rarely enters my mind. Feeling guilty, or thinking I can hurt someone is what has more bearing for me.

Bikergirl Anonymous Profile

I totally disagree. 

My conscience speaks to me .. Loudly.  I choose to do or not to do things because of how it makes ME feel .. Not for fear of 'getting caught'.

Tom  Jackson Profile
Tom Jackson answered

As a crime fiction writer, she is free to define her words In situ....

But her definition is no more useful than an equivocation.

This definition allows more insight upon contemplation:

Conscience is the last judgment of one's practical intellect before one acts.

Call me Z Profile
Call me Z answered

No, I think there's more to it than that. The author cheapens it a bit. 

Conscience is in play when you do something in the right --or moral-- way because you won't accept less of yourself.

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Didge Doo
Didge Doo commented
In two sentences you've got right to the nub of things. Great answer.

I was expecting more diversity but when I ran across this last week I thought it'd make a provocative question. As Tom pointed out, Angela Marsons is the British author of a series of detective stories. This quote was something she allowed one of her more cynical cops to say.
Call me Z
Call me Z commented
There was a ring of cynicism in there. Being just conscientious enough to stay out of trouble is hardly befitting the intent of the word,... it's at the low end of the scale, I would say.
Jann Nikka Profile
Jann Nikka answered

I won't break the chain of good consciences. Sometimes, I wish I was like millions who just don't give a dam who they hurt. But unfortunately I do care about people.

Yin And Yang Profile
Yin And Yang answered

I disagree as well. "Conscience" does not have to just be "bad" things to have one. There are "good" ones to. If I give a cheese burger to a hungry man my conscience says get him an orange juice as well or get him two burgers just in case. I am never afraid of getting caught like that. Two very different things!

9 People thanked the writer.
Didge Doo
Didge Doo commented
Good answer, Yin.

You reminded me of one time I gave a guy a hand out (I know, cash would probably go in booze but it was all I had) and he asked me if I knew the Devil. I said, "Yeah. He's a good mate of mine." And he said, "Well I've seen him."

And so he had while he was having a fit of the DTs. Of all places, he saw him at the Salvation Army's homeless shelter. That darned Devil loves going where he's not wanted.
Yin And Yang
Yin And Yang commented
LOL! Poor guy. I bet he was referring to the alcohol as the Devil. He probably thought you was an alcoholic as well! That is what my guess would be. LOLOLOL! But the Devil being in places he is not wanted.... THAT IS FUNNY! I think he sneaks into any place where he thinks he can steal, kill and destroy! LOL!
Veronica Dultry Profile
Veronica Dultry answered

Nope, that statement seems too easy or a pat answer. I am so much more complicated than that. I am much harder on myself to ever care about being caught. I'm more afraid of not being able to look myself in a mirror. Being afraid of being caught is far less of a consequence, I have to live with myself.

AnnNettie Paradise Profile

I definitely agree with her. A honest person is able to maintain a clear conscience. He does not have to ‘live a lie,’ only pretending to act with honesty. Nor does he have to worry about being caught in some dishonest practice. No sleepless nights for him on that account!

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AnnNettie Paradise
Sorry, I disagree with her! :)))
Didge Doo
Didge Doo commented
Dead right, AnnNettie. I also disagree with her, but it was a lovely provocative comment. To be fair, I don't think she believed it, either. It was just a line she gave a character in one of her stories. :)
AnnNettie Paradise
I think so too! :)
Janis Haskell Profile
Janis Haskell answered

It has a clever ring to it, but it falls very short of the mark ... At least for meIf I've done something less than honorable, I will agonize over it until I make it right - even if nobody will ever know.

Jaimie  JT Profile
Jaimie JT answered

I agree with everyone else's answers ...but sometimes that statement can be true : Last week I called in sick from work  for three days and said I had the flu ..cos I wanted to take a last minute road trip. One morning I called from the hotel phone and realized I fooked up cos the number would come up as long distance ....I was a wreck Sunday night , thinking my boss would call me out on it ... And I felt aweful about my lie ... Monday came and everything was fine :) so now I don't feel bad about my lie at all :)

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Didge Doo
Didge Doo commented
I feel your pain. He probably realised you were lying in the first place. :)
Jaimie  JT
Jaimie JT commented
Most likely :)
Jaimie  JT
Jaimie JT commented
One of my older coworkers who I adore always says I have a " tell" when I'm fibbing ... It's when my lips are moving ... Took me awile to figure that one out :)

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