Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Your Conscience is Your Compiler!

The following is the exact transcript of an IM chat about "Conscience" I had with a friend:

Friend: I follow my instincts.

Me: Animals follow instincts - humans follow their conscience. It's the only God I know. Your conscience always tells you what's right or wrong.

Friend: No murali, I disagree. How do you define what's right?

Me: Your conscience tells you- always. If you do something you believe is wrong, you'll feel guilty. If you don't believe it's wrong, you won't feel guilty

Friend: Yeah, but why do you do things?

Me: Because we are human.

Friend: No, it's because we want to survive.

Me: It takes a lot of character to always obey your conscience, a lot of strength.We survive either way. But if you and your conscience are on good terms, you have unshakeable self-belief.

Friend: Yeah

Me: And you'll care about little things like pride, self-respect, principles, character, reputation...because they are all the external manifestation of your internal conscience. I can tell who talks to their conscience and who does not. I may not agree with them, but I can respect them even if they hurt me.

Friend: Yeah, until now I used to think that all the humanly charcters are the manifestations of their internal instincts, which differ in intensity depending on the urge to survive.

Me: We do have instincts- but it's very different from a conscience. That's what makes us human- above animals.

Friend: So conscience is the feedback given to instincts?

Me: Yeah! I may want to have sex with every good looking woman in sight...that's instinct. My conscience says.. to do that, I need to make sure certain pre-requisites are met ...
- she has to agree
- I should not be in a relation with someone who I believe I will be cheating
- she should not be in a relation with someone who she believes she would be cheating
- it should be consistent with my prior beliefs until that moment my instinct told me to do something


Simply put, your conscience is your compiler.

If it doesn't compile, you can't do it.

... contd. Your Conscience is Your Compiler (and Test Driven Development)

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