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The Culture of the Conscience

  • “One ought to examine one’s life and its context with voracious curiosity. This is especially desirable for professional researchers. They are not interested in dreams, but endeavor to obtain factual results about phenomena in life through direct scrutiny, becoming familiar with these phenomena and their interrelationships in depth. The interpretations whispered into their ears by the particular tongue of events are simply clearer and more numerous than those of dreams. To be capable of listening to such signals, it is a must to be cognizant of the environment, including both living and nonliving components. We call this ‘the culture of the conscience.’ And we will continue utilizing this term till we find a better phrase.”1)
  • “… perfect piety can be obtained by avoiding doubtful things and minor sins. In order to do this, however, one must know what is lawful and what is forbidden, and have a certain knowledge of God.”2)
  • Knowledge means comprehending or encompassing something thoroughly, while ma’rifa (the knowledge of God) means familiarity with or recognition of something-that something may be the Divine Being- in some of its aspects. For this reason, the One of Unity is called the All-Knowing ('Alim), but He has never been called the One having familiarity with something ('Arif). In addition, the exacting scholars of truth view ma’rifa, which also means information, talent, and skill, as the culture acquired by the conscience or one’s conscious nature. It has other meanings such as the ability to feel something with the spiritual faculty that humanity has been endowed with, the image of something known in the mind, and the knowledge kept in the memory which gains strength through repetition. From another perspective, it is consciousness, perception, and sufficient information which helps distinguish one thing from another.”3)
  • “If such a feeling that appears on the way to reaching the truth of something is based on the knowing of the heart or conscience, it is the culture of the conscience or cognizance in consciousness. If it is of the kind obtained with vision or insight, then it is sight. If travelers are in constant pursuit of increasing research, analysis, and synthesis, then the result is spiritual discovery and vision. Finally if they see everything annihilated in God, then their state is annihilation in God and subsistence with God, and they feel no need whatsoever for anybody else save Him.”4)
  • “It should not be forgotten that being a porter of knowledge and having an immense accumulation in this respect does not mean much in terms of servitude to God. That knowledge needs to be transformed into knowledge of God, and that transformed knowledge needs further transformation into ‘active knowledge of God.’ ‘Active knowledge of God’—although it is not a common term I do not see anything wrong with it—refers to an acquired state of the culture of the conscience, which constantly keeps boiling within and lets one soar through the horizons of loving God.”5)
  • “… what needs to be done is, having discussions, new syntheses and analyses, opening up to different horizons from the text we read, pinpointing different truths, and thus letting new fountains of wisdom flow into the culture of our heart and conscience.”6)
  • “Here, we emphasize tempering knowledge according to age by deepening theoretical knowledge with the practical one; in other words, we urge transferring knowledge to wisdom, for wisdom can carry a person to a horizon of knowledge of God. Through this process, a culture of the conscience can arise. As for the culture of the conscience, it is not the culture of customs and traditions practiced at weddings and assemblies and inherited by our forefathers, but is a completely different thing. Truly, while we go through such steps and degrees of knowledge, we call the certainty of vision, the unshakeable certainty when we hear ‘There is no deity but God,’ as knowledge of God. Such knowledge will result in affection.”7)
  • “Wonder is a very important factor in correct reading of the Book of Universe. Knowledge here does not only refer to sciences as usually used today, but refers to both extrinsic information and intrinsic ingenuity and wisdom, a little step further of which is love and longing for God. Because this is the knowledge that the Almighty guides the Messenger to ask for ‘My Lord, increase me in knowledge.’ (Ta-Ha, 20:114). Therefore this knowledge should not only be interpreted as the positive or experimental sciences but also be understood as the wisdom and culture of the conscience that guides one to the love of the Almighty and all His creation. So curiosity’s being the teacher of knowledge needs to be taken in this sense.”8)
  • “As for spiritual knowledge, it is a concept to be contemplated within considerations of perfect goodness. For this reason, a person who wishes to reach horizons of spiritual knowledge must have sound faith first, then do good deeds, and then make it into a ‘culture of the conscience’ in the long run. The most important way to attain spiritual knowledge is to observe worship in a meticulous and conscious way. If there is no consciousness in worship, it will not be possible to attain spiritual knowledge. And for a person who fails to attain spiritual knowledge, it is not possible to attain love of God and the Prophet in the true sense.”9)

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M. Fethullah Gülen, Fasıldan Fasıla-2, İstanbul: Nil Yayınları, 2008, pp. 96–97.
M. Fethullah Gülen, Emerald Hills of the Heart: Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism (vol. 1), New Jersey: Tughra Books, 2011, p. 50.
M. Fethullah Gülen, Emerald Hills of the Heart: Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism (vol. 2), New Jersey: Tughra Books, 2011, p. 136.
Ibid., p. 173.
M. Fethullah Gülen, Vuslat Muştusu, (Kırık Testi-8), İstanbul: Nil Yayınları, 2011, p. 276.
M. Fethullah Gülen, Yaşatma İdeali (Kırık Testi-11), İstanbul: Nil Yayınları, 2012, pp. 110–111.
Ibid., p. 178.
M. Fethullah Gülen, Yenilenme Cehdi (Kırık Testi-12), İstanbul: Nil Yayınları, 2013, p. 187.
M. Fethullah Gülen, Mefkûre Yolculuğu (Kırık Testi-13), İstanbul: Nil Yayınları, 2014, p. 107.
the_culture_of_the_conscience.txt · Last modified: 2022/09/26 14:26 by Editor