Our Inner Voice Is Ours Alone

We should not be jealous of others for behaviors our consciences will not abide.

A conscience is a funny thing. It is both very personal and very specific. Attitudes and behaviors that do not appear to bother one person’s conscience may make another’s flail and scream in protest.

Some people, it seems, have much stronger consciences than others, not necessarily better, just more pronounced, obvious, and restrictive. These people are highly sensitive to their actions and the consequences of these actions with regards to others They experience deep remorse and regret from even the slightest of moral infractions.

Other people, the attitudes and behavior of whom would suggest, have very little in the form of a conscience. Their actions seem unbound by any kind of quiet inner-voice or moral compass. Perhaps their consciences are merely quieter than the former type, maybe they are drowned out by other, much louder influences, or, it could be that their consciences just guide them differently.

The simple fact is, however, that none of this really matters. We each experience conscience differently. The attitudes and behavior of others should have little to no influence on the way that our own inner morality manifests. In fact, nothing good will come from trying to live in a way that aligns with a conscience not our own.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Photo by Robert Van Valkenburgh. Artwork by Ana.

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