Conscience describes both the process of ethical decision making itself and a person’s connection to and awareness of their ideas about what is good and right. Although conscience is sometimes seen as similar to a ‘gut instinct’, it’s more than that. It’s basically our ‘moral muscle’. It informs us of our values and principles and serves as the standard we use to judge whether or not our actions are ethical. Our conscience enables us to be ethically self-aware. In Ancient Greece, the entrance to the Delphic Oracle was emblazoned with the words “know thyself” – words which apparently inspired Socrates to spend his life seeking knowledge and wisdom. A conscience which is both well formed (shaped by education and experience) and well informed (aware of facts, evidence and so on) enables us to know ourselves and our world and act accordingly. The medieval philosopher Thomas Aquinas believed our conscience emerged from synderesis [sin-dee-ree-sis] – the ‘spark of conscience’. He literally meant the human mind’s ability to understand the world in moral terms. Conscience was the process by which a person brought the principles of synderesis into a practical situation through our decisions. This suggests there are basically two elements to conscience (and the related concepts different philosophers have used):ethical awareness and ethical decision making. Awareness speaks to our ability to recognise ethical values and principles. Decision making is about our ability to make practical decisions in light of those values and principles. Both these elements are crucial to living an ethical life. The idea of conscience not as an intuition or gut instinct but as a process of decision making is also present in the writings of Aristotle. He described phronesis [fro-nee-sis], the goodness of practical reason or the ability to evaluate a situation clearly so we would know how to act virtuously under the circumstances. Seeing conscience in this way is important because it teaches us ethics is not innate. It requires us to continuously work to understand our surroundings – to be well informed.
Conscience Art has always existed in all artistic forms of creation, Music, Fine Art, Literature, a. o., because Conscience is eternal.
It is the part of art, which treats the questions regarding life and death, and thus appeals directly to our sentiments, to our soul.
Conscience Art takes us beyond our material life on Earth, like the Requiems of the great composers, the aptly named Soul Music of Mahalia Jackson a.o., or the Pietas of the Masters of Fine Art.
In the year 1980, Anna Chromy created the foundation for what she called afterwards “Conscience Art”, her painting “To be or not to be”. It shows for the first time the image of what would become the “Cloak of Conscience”.
Professor David Punter from Bristol University in the UK compares in his book “The Literature of Pity” major representations of the theme of love beyond death by Michelangelo, Van Gogh and others, and comes to the conclusion that Anna Chromy’s Cloak of Conscience is the most logic interpretation of Pity for our contemporary world (www.annachromy.com/david-punter).
Besides the Cloak Anna Chromy has declined the philosophy of Conscience also in her other works.
In Drawings in Madame Butterfly, Tree of Life a.o.
In Paintings: After a first period, which borrowed from surrealistic and visionary tendencies of the time, Anna’s works evolved in Chromatology into a more specific way to tackle the main problems of today in ethics, science, the environment, spirituality and social development.
In Sculptures: In Myths of the Mediterranean the way how this formative period of our European culture affects until today the way we think and interpret ourselves; In Music of the Rivers by using the universal language of music for a dialogue among civilizations.
Promoting a Culture of Peace with Love and Conscience
The preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of humankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people.” Moreover, article 1 of the Declaration states that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
The task of the United Nations to save future generations from the scourge of war requires transformation towards a culture of peace, which consists of values, attitudes and behaviours that reflect and inspire social interaction and sharing based on the principles of freedom, justice and democracy, all human rights, tolerance and solidarity, that reject violence and endeavour to prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation and that guarantee the full exercise of all rights and the means to participate fully in the development process of their society.
Conscious of the need for the creation of conditions of stability and well-being and peaceful and friendly relations based on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion, the General Assembly declared 5 April the International Day of Conscience.
The General Assembly invited all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, as well as the private sector and civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to build the Culture of Peace with Love and Conscience in accordance with the culture and other appropriate circumstances or customs of their local, national and regional communities, including through quality education and public awareness-raising activities, thereby fostering sustainable development.
The Conscience Project
“I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals himself in the lawful Harmony of the World”. Albert Einstein
The Conscience Project encompasses the following elements:
THE GLOBAL CENTER OF CONSCIENCE
A Spiritual Center, not related to any particular religion or philosophy, which will radiate its harmonizing energy to a world badly out of sync.
The Cloak, with its lightly flowing folds in shining white marble, is the physical image of the spiritual Harmony between Man, Nature and all Created. Born with the heavenly melodies of Mozart, conceived in the constant presence of Michelangelo’s master works, inspired by the writings of Einstein’s genial spirit, I dedicate the Cloak to the Great Men and Women who have shaped human civilization with their creative and perceptive personalities.
The Center will include besides the Monumental Cloak
- The Chromatology Paintings with their explanation
- Photos and Videos on the Creation of the Cloak and its Conscience Message
During the preparatory stage of the Center a Touring Exhibition will project the concept in Major Museums world-wide, with a smaller Cloak in bronze replacing the Monument.
THE GLOBAL CONSCIENCE NET
A string of smaller Cloaks in bronze or marble, installed in symbolic locations around the World complements the large Cloak at its center, in order to allow everybody to live the Cloak’s message first hand. They are all visible on Google Maps or similar sites.
The first two Cloaks of the Network were installed 20 years ago in front of the Prague Mozart Opera and in front of Salzburg Cathedral. In Prague, the Cloak represents the Commander in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, who resurrected to avenge the misdeeds of Don Giovanni; in Salzburg it is a Pieta, the mother mourning her lost son, two situations intimately linked to our conscience.
Since then many other Cloaks have followed and more are to come.
EXHIBITIONS OF CONSCIENCE PAINTINGS AND SCULPTURES
Major annual exhibitions of sculptures, oil paintings and drawings, in Museums and other public institutions help to promote Anna Chromy’s peace and conscience message to the world.
The empty headscarves of the sculptures remind us of the energy of the Cloak contained in its void.
THE CHROMY AWARD AND OTHER EVENTS
Every year outstanding personalities, who exemplify the values represented by the Cloak receive this precious Award In the form of a small Cloak covered by a translucent pyramid. At global Events, like the Venice Biennale, Climate Summits a. o., floating or flying Cloaks in dimensions up to 20 meters remind the public and the media of the values represented by the Cloak.
THE WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA
www.annachromy.com is a comprehensive website featuring all of Anna Chromy’s artworks, exhibitions and other events, Public Sculptures installed all over the world, Chromy Award Laureates, and more.
The message of the Cloak and its day-to-day application is widely present on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube (with over 30 videos) a. o.
Small Cloaks for the home in different materials and sizes, in the national colors of the Nations of the world, “The Essence of Conscience”, the most exclusive scent ever developed, “Chronochromy”, integrating the voices of the innocent (children and animals) into an “Ode to Conscience”, and many other creative and educational products, will keep the Cloak and its message constantly in the public eye.