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The Language
of Conscience

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    The Language of Conscience requires a systematic approach to balancing diverse interests harmoniously through an organizational concept recognizing that every man should grant to every other man the same rights and dignity that he personally desires, and must, through cultural ethics create a personal responsibility that accentuates the recognition of the broader impact of actions. Its enforcement mechanism is individual responsibility and the wisdom to understand the methods of creating strength rather than abandoning it..

    In modern science, there is a continuing search for a unified theory that becomes the ultimate organizing principle of physics. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity governs the Heavens and the great objects while the Theory of Quantum Mechanics covers the atomic and small particles. While the two are obviously connected, the two sets of existing “rules” for large and small objects are not consistent. String Theory and other conceptual approaches are primarily based at how to bring together these two significant sets of physical rules in a unified theory. Such organizing theories set perspective and are critical because how you think about issues determines what you think about them.

    In many ways, we have a similar situation in the concepts of the political science of government and the social science of the individual. We need to find an organizing principle that ties together the large-scale efforts and policies of government with the individual interests and incentives of the people that compose the state. The separation between government and the individual is in some ways similar to the Theories of Relativity and Quantum Physics because they are inherently related but are not fully coordinated or understood. However, physical science is exact; social science is a moving, evolving, emotional entity that is far more complex. It is the result of man’s free will. An appreciation of the common good and the Golden Rule may be the equivalent of string theory. To affect a proper organizing principle, a theory must create a system of rules within government that is easily understood and that recognizes the Moral Hazard of incentivizing riskless activity such that it dramatically changes the rules for individual responsibility and respect for personal dignity. It must help instill a culture of integrity within government to limit corruption and build confidence. It must create a simplified but realistic view of policy options so that an informed public gains wisdom and confidence. It must bring Harmony to the separate interests by ethics or the recognition of the impact of policies on all parties. Its critical role is to provide thoughtful rather than emotional choice to how critical issues must be balanced since this sets the stage for policy and ultimate destiny.

    Confucius focused on preparing leaders for government in the hope that their moral and competent leadership would set the pattern by example for the masses. He did not focus on religion (man’s relationship with God) but a simpler morality (man’s relation to other men). These are two different levels of conscience, but you need to strengthen the morality even if you differ on promoting religion. Not to do so sacrifices the good for the perfect too often in the battle of conscience versus convenience. It must necessarily be a beginning organizing principle if you wish to bring change in today’s environment. As Sun Tzu noted, if you are to win strategically, you must carefully pick your battles or you have already lost. The level of complexity in the modern requiem is a method of simplification for change. Economics and politics are too complex; cultural approaches offer more promise.

    The organizing principle must also help address the creation of an informed citizenry with a leadership component not of the elite minority alone but of a broader based localized class of “Uncommon Men” or Confucian “Gentlemen.” They can often create a culture that supports understanding of the necessity of the rule of law, the mutual obligation of morality, and the necessity of compassion and voluntary service to the common good. For it is the ultimate culture that passes values to the next generation, often not just as a thought process but also as a perceptive instinct of what is correct or incorrect. These type leaders often compose only 10% of a society, but because of their activism and leadership dramatically affect the culture and, through it, the law and philosophy of government. Since the talent to unify people when they are in very different groups will be increasingly important, it then is a necessity of any such cultural change to have an understanding of a common thought process and common values upon which to unify.

    The Language of Conscience and the related writings basically are an attempt to explore this common thought process through a focus upon culture and how cultural values and their adaptability to change tend to either strengthen the bonds between groups or make them decline, and how societies prosper or fail in large part because of how well this bond is created. Conscience is defined by acceptance of individual responsibility. Conscience becomes the over-arching organizing principle by becoming the strategic design. Military procedure looks at four levels of thoughts—strategic, operational, tactical, and the use of techniques. Each is a part of the descending pyramid of actions. But they are all viewed by the organizing principle that defines them and creates the ultimate decision matrix. If society is to be directed by conscience, then the decision matrix is to give each man the same rights and dignities you want for yourself and defend the values you choose by what the common good provides each of us. Conscience is important because it is more definable than good versus evil, which has religious contexts. The ultimate issue is that some absolutes of behavior must exist for civilization to have order. Civilization creates natural rules to structure free will to commonly accepted limits—this is culture in its essence. Conscience at one level is between men and defines their morality or obligation to each other beyond the requirements of law. It can be a decision matrix that develops the law and its enforcement, the unenforceable but natural law of morality, and the developed appreciation of the practice of compassion and service that become the glue of a strong society.

    The modern world is one of rapid change driven by knowledge creation more than wisdom. Globalization creates powers in functions because consequences of actions are beyond the control of individual nations. Central banks must work together now to address economic crisis. Disease, terrorism, and corruption now know no borders. Power moves to an international elite that shape key factors of change or powers within society. That elite can easily manipulate their interests through the divisions and convenience of a world order unless a more uniform coordinated effort, at least in certain fields such as corruption, terrorism, health, trade, the environment, and other similar issues are jointly addressed by a common cultural imperative. But to succeed, such systems and forums need a base of sincerity and honor beyond meetings for appearances, which are often for self-hypocrisy or self-interest. Unless the world as a whole understands the need and value of rules of civilization, there is no force to constrain the power of international elites that are swayed by the arrogance and greed of power. Is it utopia to envision such an end? Probably so in the modern context, but time and crisis require ideas that may be more radical to reality. The issue is really what options exist. Terrorism and corruption are not strategic goals but tactics. We have to understand the ultimate issues even if we can only be partially successful.

    To implement conscience in this environment requires a different approach that both understands the reality of what is faced, agrees on a decision matrix of organizational principles that can be publicized and accepted, and understands that ethics and morality have two operational theaters. One is the negative—to battle against corruption, tyranny, and terrorism—but the other is the creation of a culture of conscience that has the power to shape leadership. People will judge you positively to a degree for your ethics, but they often punish far more for negative ethics because of their self-interest when you lose their trust. The Internet and modern communication will greatly enhance this power of ethics, both using and abusing it. But it is limited if there is not a level of wisdom. Too much information today is superficial and of opinion with little depth. How information is presented will be critical. Our modern communication does not create a mindset for long thought as books used to provide, at least for the majority of the younger population. As our electronically based youth advance in age, what values will they have absorbed? How the communication takes place will determine much of what is retained and how it is put into context. “Learning games” may well be a salvation to conveying wisdom as well as knowledge. But the question exists whether such “games” develop the maturity necessary for wisdom. To Lao-tzu and the older Western character school this involved recognizing one’s inner weaknesses and demons and learning with effort to control them. Today education is more on self-appreciation. Conscience is the key concept to either if it is recognized or taught. It needs to again be the criteria of maturity.

    This summary requires the creation of what Confucius called “Gentlemen” or my Father called “Uncommon Men.” Those who gained the wisdom of understanding the differences a few men with ideas could make by shaping the culture of times and leveraging the power of conscience through service and a culture of the common good. They lead by example and convey knowledge not just by words, but also by actions that create habits and prescriptive reflexes of thought and actions. They show the value of actions. My Father made a point to me that humility is a virtue and a good strategy. They demonstrate that good character is not weakness but is the ultimate strength. Wisdom is never abandoning strength but creating it.

    From that culture the Triangles and method use of the concept helps organize the public policy arena for easier discussion and prioritizations of options as well as the Moral Hazard attached to them. The universities have in most cases left the teaching of the classics and the value orientation and context they provided. In part, this is because the modern competitive financial world requires very specialized skills. These materials then also move toward a simplified course like presentation that uses synthesis of the old great ideas with a modern public policy setting, to focus on creating an “educated person” of honor and strategic focus.

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