Another picture of the blue-gray gnatcatcher
I've been deeply involved with some individuals over the course of a lifetime where this aspect of their Being is absolutely overwhelming and dominates everything they do. The more so an individual is like this, the more we label them — bipolar, autistic, and so on. The afflictions and affectations are real; but the psychological and spiritual mechanisms underlying them aren't well understood. They all, I find, stem from this inherent terror we have of being seen for what we are.
The conscience knows what is true; that is its primary feature. That is to say, it is able to intuit — inwardly pay and inwardly teach — an individual what is right, measured by cosmic, rather than human, standards. Now, there are such standards, which Gurdjieff called objective standards — and those who would reason them away with constructed philosophies are lacking the organic sense of life that is needed in order to actually live.
We can't trust ourselves; we can't trust one another; and with good reason. We are duplicitous beings.
Of course, the Dharma teachings the magazine reveals say that as well, in their own way; they argue that if one peeled away enough layers one might get to the essential good at the bottom of everything. Gurdjieff did not necessarily see it that way; in the same way that he said we need to develop a soul, I think he was saying that we need to develop the capacity to be good; that is, we aren't born with it.
in any event, what matters isn't whether we are essentially good or not.
What matters is whether or not we can manifest and emanate goodness.
It ain't easy.