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Health worker standing with mother and son.

Conscience and Consciousness

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;comparator.html

William Shakespeare (1600)


Amongst tens of thousands of photographs there are naturally some that need circumspection; should they be shown? The health worker wished me to take a photograph. But the mother manifestly has a different opinion. A matter for conscience? Physiotherapist removing a plaster from a man's hand. The idea of finding a compassion within ourselves. Rather as we might find a conscience. The complexities of conscience/conscious/consciousness at Shakespeare’s time were legion. Centrally a main meaning of conscience was consciousness, but in the same year as Hamlet was written Ben Jonson was already using conscious as we now do. While not all scholars agree, many feel that Hamlet’s subjugation is as much from his ‘awareness’ of what is without, as from the promptings of a spirit within. But our metaphysic, too, has evolved. Then good and evil were not only add-ons or qualifiers, they were also other facts about the world; part of its very warp Man sitting meditation on seat near lake. On Eliot's comments about the way we have shifted from seeing certain abstractions as concrete towards increasing abstract. and weft; out there waiting Women touching cupboard in market place. Objects seem to be socially and culturally defined, accordingly across history they evolve. for an encounter with consciousness. Why is it we have come to give the mother’s discomfort, and the health worker’s notepad, such different ontological status?

Hamlet III i 83.

The picture was taken while on a visit to learn about health promotion work in a suburb of Bangalore.

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Saturday 27th June 2020

Murphy on duty to this site