Saturday, February 26, 2005

THANKS TO BARBARA AT MAHABLOG, I just discovered Jeanne d'Arc's blog, Body and Soul. Jeanne has a post up today about moral clarity -- about following the inner voice of conscience even when that voice conflicts with what your government and maybe everyone around you is telling you to do.

As an example of someone who followed that inner voice, B&S links to an essay at Common Dreams written by Camilo Mejia, the soldier who refused to return to Iraq after coming back to the U.S. for a two-week leave last October. Because of that decision, Mejia lost his physical freedom, but, he says, he regained his humanity.

Jeanne's point is that at a time when the controlling institutions of our society -- government, the press, big business, etc. -- are using words like "freedom" and "justice" to cloak policies driven by the most venal of motives, all of us must rely more and more on people like Camilo Mejia who are truly willing to honor individual conscience regardless of the consequences.

This insight Jeanne expresses leads me back, in my thoughts, to what Arthur Miller said about people who make moral and ethical decisions according to the deep and unchained beliefs living inside them, rather than following the unexamined assumptions offered to them by others: "The longer I worked the more certain I felt that as improbable as it might seem, there were moments when an individual conscience was all that could keep a world from falling."

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