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Pearls of Wisdom: Morals, Conscience and Civilization

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Morals are a set of noble principles that originate in high spirituality and govern human conduct. For this reason, people who neglect spirituality and are therefore lacking in spiritual values cannot sustain conduct in accordance with these principles. Preferring the interests of others over one’s own is high spirituality and liberality. Those who always do good without expecting any return one day will bow before God in wonder and admiration when unexpectedly they meet the accumulated results of their considerate nature and all the good they have done.

Just because you are a learned one does not mean that you are truly human. Learned people are freed from carrying the burden of superfluous information and attain greatness to the extent that they serve humanity and set a good example for others through their high morals and virtues. Otherwise they are no more than people who have wasted their lives. Those with high morals and virtues even if they lack learning and as dense as iron may sometimes prove to be a useful and valuable and even as good as gold.

Never deceive anyone even if they deceive you. Fidelity and uprightness are two of the highest virtues. Even if following this advice brings you loss which it usually does always be faithful and upright. Morals were once thought of as virtues. Today morals are regarded as a collection of rules for social behavior. I wish people would behave in accordance with those rules, even though they are not virtuous!

In the past people would say: “The principles of good conduct are no longer practiced; we only see them written down in books.” Today they say: “The principles of good conduct are out of date; whatever remains of them is written down in old books.” Whatever they say those principles are worth the sacrifice of many new things even though people try to present them as outdated. A conscience which has a central position in a person’s being and feeling that he or she is a human being is a spiritual mechanism which feels perceives and is always open to eternity.

The willpower feeling mind and heart which is the “senses” or faculties of the perceptiveness of the spirit are also the most important dynamics of conscience by which a person is able to attain human perfection in this world and eternal happiness and vision of the Almighty in the next.

Conscience is a pure bright mirror to the existence of God and is matchless in recognizing Him and making Him known to others provided it has eyes to look with insight. Since collective conscience serves as an unerring and undeceiving judge everyone should resign themselves to its verdicts and affirm it as a referee in their disputes.

Duty is what God commands and Prophets carry out and communicate to others. Everyone must accept it and set themselves to do it. God the Truth is the Absolute Judge and conscience is the purest mirror to Him. It reflects whatever it reflects with such clarity and power that only the dread of inability to live up to its truth can cloud it and even that most rarely.

The more intellectually and spiritually disciplined one is the more consistent and harmonious one’s thoughts and actions are. The more open to the realms beyond one’s conscience is the more Divinely inspired and guided one’s manners are. Since conscience is the feeling and perceptive faculties of the spirit it has always been regarded as open to the realms beyond uncontained by space having sound criteria and as pure as angels.

There are many judges and almost all of them issue verdicts based on the same sources and yet their verdicts may differ. But the conscience is a judge with such penetrating insight that it can issue verdicts based on truths and its verdicts will deceive no one. Collective conscience means the perception discernment and insight of the great majority of people and therefore rarely errs especially when its knowledge is corroborated by a Divinely inspired source.

Civilization does not mean being rich and putting on fine airs nor does it mean satisfying carnal desires and leading a luxurious dissipated life. What it really means is being civil and courteous kind-hearted profound in thought and respectful to others.  Savage people are usually cruel, oppressive and bloodthirsty as they usually live by plundering… However, what about those civilized savages equipped with modern weaponry who are always seeking and finding subtle deceiving ways of shedding blood?

Communities based on the joining of science and morality have always established true civilizations. For this reason. Western civilization remains paralyzed because it is based mainly on science and Eastern (Asian) civilizations are not “true” because in their present conditions they have no scientific background. The civilization of the future will have to be founded upon a combination of Western science and Eastern faith and morality.

Civilization means more than scientific advancement, modern means of transportation ships and living in large cities with skyscrapers. While such things may be adjuncts to civilization, it is folly and ignorance to identify civilization with them. If a given civilization is not based on morality and virtue and nurtured in the pool of intelligence and conscience, it is no more than a passing flash of illuminations that serves a couple rich people and excites some thrill seekers. What a pity for those who are fooled by its blinking lights.

One becomes truly civilized only when all human virtues and potentialities have been developed to the degree that they become second nature. People who think that civilization means indulging all kinds of desires and who identify it with outward forms and modern fashions are those lacking in sound judgment and who have given in to their bodily desires.

M. Fethullah Gulen
İs thinker, author, poet, opinion leader and one of the most influential scholars in the World today. His ideas have inspired millions to take part in a movement of intercultural and interfaith dialogue and educational activism, which produced hundreds of quality schools and dialogue organizations in more than 120 countries. Originating in Turkey but becoming increasingly transnational, the Gulen movement has represented novel approaches to the synthesis of faith, reason, education, spirituality, a peaceful co-existence in the diverse societies.

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