Conscience is all encompassing and a threat to our very soul. How so? We cannot go against our inner beliefs, no matter how hard we try. They have been engrained into us as surely as rings in a tree. It weighs on our heart and is permanently marked. We cannot function without being truthful.
I think an early act of conscience might be something like pouring you and your sibling a glass of milk and you put a tad more in one glass. Childishness or greed would be taking the tad more for oneself. Conscience would give the fuller glass to your sibling. You just do the right thing.
Let's bring it up yo an adult situation. You see a woman standing on a street corner with a sign asking for help. Your inner voice kicks in and you feel an uneasiness in the bottom of your stomach. Your first instinctive reaction most likely is compassion. Conscience comes after compassion, as you're waiting at the stoplight for the light to turn green, your mind flashes hunger, kids, no place to stay, hopeless and you try placing yourself in her shoes and feel what she must feel. That would be begging on a street corner. How terribly sad! Your conscience immediatly floods your mind to please help her. As you leave the stoplight and no longer can see the poor unfortunate soul you console yourself by thinking what if she is just a meth head begging for more meth to further end her existence. Your conscience has reacted twice in this situation by first asking what if I was in her shoes and then rationalizing it out in such a way to remove guilt by not helping her.
Many years ago as part of my job I would have to visit an area of a large city where the bums or beggars frequented. They walked the neighborhood and asked for handouts. I was new to this type of behavior and was took-a-back at it. I saw Lincolns and BMW's and beggars walking the streets asking for change for food. In the beginning I would give them something, was it pity or conscience? I was advised by the business to ignore them and not to give them anything. At first I thought how cruel! My conscience felt for them, it was literally a way of life for alcoholics and people with mental problems. It tends to toughen your heart for ones that might need a helping hand. Your conscience never leaves you even as you try to tune them out. I cannot imagine life without a conscience, can you?