“Collective conscience” can be defined as societies system of norms and the peer pressure exerted to maintain those norms. Collective conscience addresses the minor day to day things that make cultures distinct and collectively frame (delimit) the society. They should be norms added slowly into a society over years of adaptation. Adapting general cultural and physical strengths and weaknesses to their environment and to life’s realities and incorporating them into the collective conscience creates collective wisdom. Sometimes Religion is used as part or the key player in collective conscience. This is the non-spiritual aspect of religion as a cultural tool of order. Collective conscience aids in the success of that society and should be checked by the collective wisdom for accuracy and goodness. Societal norms can be good or they can be bad, it is each society’s problem to assure that the development of collective conscience is kept in check to the overall good.
The best tool of any society in keeping societal norms (Collective Conscience) in check is the personal conscience of the individuals. This is where the concept of democracy comes in as a theory. If people in a society are for the most part in various stages of development toward wise and knowledgeable, the combination of their personal conscience will help to keep the collective conscience “honest”. Democracy functions as a variable of the moral wisdom and accuracy of knowledge contained in a generationally cohesive society. This is a mouthful. It means generations should be tied by great respect. The respect is rooted in the highest societal value being the gathering and increasing of “knowledge capital” with age. In such, the age of people will closely correspond to their wisdom and understanding of the whole system of life. I have seen and can imagine in established indigenous societies, individuals mature into control of material resources at a young age. As they age, they grow in material poverty, wisdom and overall knowledge capital. The youth caring for the material resources also care for the aging wise ones, giving them time and mindfulness to care for the prosperity of their people, the ecosystem, and the passing on of knowledge, wisdom, and, inevitably, the collective conscience. Collective conscience is an adaptive tool for the good of society. Personal conscience has a major part; older and wiser individuals will have a greater clarity of conscience on the difficult issues and will be the ones to act on complex injustice with the support of the younger generation. The younger individuals will ‘cut their teeth’ on the easy issues of conscience with the support of their elders. Democracy in such a society would function in this fashion. Easy issues would draw in a full individual showing of the younger generations with decisions sanctioned by the wisdom of elders. Complex issues would draw the younger generations to their elders for clarification. More or less that is indigenous democracy as it ties to indigenous wisdom, collective conscience and personal conscience.
It is much different today (2014). We now have a world society and a world culture with minorities and majorities. We are tied together culturally in one global community for better or for worse. We have lost or are rapidly losing the generational cohesion and the slow gradual collection of wisdom with age. Elders have been replaced by elite power structures and political bureaucracy. Such bureaucracy and its supporting power structure is the result of non-societally vested corporate interest and the combination of so many cultural values that it has left not only the collective conscience, but also the personal consciences of individuals spinning (confused). To say the corporate interests are not vested needs to be prefaced. Those corporate interests depend on society existing in a form pliable to their interests and non-pliable toward other opinions. As such, sufficient happiness within the masses is needed for the “proliferation of the system”. Enter the world goals of poverty alleviation, and vision for one huge middle class (and a few rich folk). Middle class work diligently and compliantly, purchase a lot of the goods, and are ‘debt prolific’. They satisfy the corporate business model of “us and them” first espoused by Nietzsche and later perpetuated by Hitler and the Nazis. So, where does all this tie in? The system of wisdom acquisition has been demoted and replaced by material wealth acquisition. The wisdom of the aged has been replaced by that imposed through mass information manipulation by the corporate political structure. Democracy has degraded to a programmed response of a predominately “life illiterate” synthetic collective conscience of the masses. World society as a well groomed workforce, control secured; what more could we want? Well, the problem is the aim of the force of leadership that always trumps objection is not the true prosperity of our people and planet over the long term. Instead it is “growth”. It is in simple terms, not in any single person’s best interests. It satisfies the now sufficiently, but cripples tomorrow. It is in reality, exponential foolishness.
Solutions are in the form of realigning the priorities of self and influence group. Knowledge is the primary capital. When knowledge is well rounded out it produces wisdom, or the gold standard of reality for a thought driven societies. In the process of knowledge acquisition over time a healthy and reliable personal conscience finds its “sea legs” and can give strength and integrity to the aging matriarchs and patriarchs and to an entire society. Over time we see a strength of collective conscience rooted in wisdom that pushes for the good in the gentle ways that an overabundance of laws and police cannot.
There is only one way out of a true mess: Occupy conscience!