Guilt! Oh woe is me I can feel it!

[a bit of flossophy, by   ~burning woman~  ]

Is there a point to ever allowing ourselves to feel guilt about anything? Modern trends is to not just downplay feeling guilty for anything we may have thought, said or done, but to declare guilt a very bad thing. Hey come on kids, we’re here for a good time, not necessarily a long time and how can we enjoy ourselves fully and freely if we have to be bothered by guilt feelings?

If we want to take those modern “thinklings” further we could parrot New Age concepts drugged out of ancient philosophies that after all, nothing is real. If I harm or hurt someone, no big deal, none of it is real. I’m not really real, neither are you so if you feel pain when I beat up on you for my own enjoyment, it’s your problem for wrong thinking. Your pain is a figment of your undisciplined, unspiritual mind. It doesn’t exist, see?

The interesting part though, is that while my victim’s pain is a figment of his imagination, my pleasure from inflicting the pain is very real and I should treasure it. I’m expressing myself in ways my self appreciates and reciprocates by making me feel good. Contradiction here? Why should there be if I choose not to see it? I make my own reality.

Obviously if I create my own reality feeling guilty isn’t going to be high priority on the list of things to do. Primarily because it is an unpleasant thing to experience and in new-think, unpleasantness is politically incorrect. There are now mantras to counter all aspects of life that could give rise to unpleasantness. Some examples, feel free to expound.

“I am a positive thinking individual. I only engage positive thoughts about myself.” “I feel good and nothing can ever make me not feel good.” “If I start feeling bad it’s a negative thing I must get rid of.” “I am the best that I can be.” “I am the best of the best.” “My life is good, great, wonderful and nothing can change that.” “I am important, special and everybody who knows me likes me.” “I am exceptional. If anyone doesn’t think so they haven’t bothered getting to know me and they are jealous.” “If something bad happens and I’m blamed for it, it’s not my fault, well, of course it’s not. If you let me tell the facts of the case as I know them to be you’ll see it wasn’t my fault.” “If you blame me it only shows your prejudiced against me.” 

We could call that the Millennial gospel. Like any gospel, it looks good in words and it doesn’t follow in real life, whatever that is.

So getting back to that nasty feeling of guilt when something inside of you says you did a bad thing and you should be at least sorry, or maybe even ask forgiveness or try to remedy the situation if possible, what does that say? Is your system turning against you? Did your karma run over your dogma? (OK, old joke and my apologies to Swami Beyondanonda) No, it’s much simpler than that. It’s your conscience reminding you that it hasn’t totally atrophied.

Conscience? What in hell is that?

OK, if you’re a millennial, or if you think like one, you could not possibly know what a conscience is so let’s describe it in terms that were once common enough.

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary (we’re still OK on what a dictionary is? If not ask Siri) Conscience definition is – the sense or consciousness of the moral goodness or blameworthiness of one’s own conduct, intentions, or character together with a feeling of obligation to do right or be good. (Can you get past the politically incorrect verbiage there?)

That’s why we used to have a conscience. It’s how we used to tell when we did something right as opposed to something wrong. It used to be a good idea to know the difference between right and wrong. Then came political correctness. Right became, well, not… and wrong became, well, not also. It’s only confusing if you insist on thinking in terms of right and wrong but if that’s a problem, you can get prescription drugs to solve it for you. (Ask Cortana)

And please remember, you’re special, just like everyone else.

42 thoughts on “Guilt! Oh woe is me I can feel it!

  1. katharineotto

    Well, haha, Sha’Tara,
    I know you went beyond the Seth series years ago, but I believe Seth made an important distinction between what he called “natural” guilt and “artificial” guilt. Natural guilt, he said, is when you regret an act and decide not to to that particular thing again. “Artificial” guilt is that imposed by society on behavior that doesn’t conform to expectations, such as the “guilt” over not going to church or the “guilt” over disappointing parents, for instance.

    Seth also has an interesting take on punishment, saying that in a universe of “simultaneous time,” punishment makes no sense, because under this scenario, it could occur just as easily before the offense was committed. Cause-and-effect falls apart in the “simultaneous time” framework.

    I’ve been reading about the stages of development of infants and children. It does seem that after a child begins to walk and talk, his world expands to include more and more others, and he is forced to learn something about give and take. Interaction with others brings lots of opportunities to see the Golden Rule in operation (or not).

  2. Sha'Tara Post author

    Yes, I did avoid “artificial guilt” as I have no use for that, in fact I’d categorize it under political correctness. I also didn’t go to the punishment aspect for ‘wrong doing’ which is usually about breaking some social tabu (law) and, depending on who you are in the scheme of things (here, white, Christian and relatively rich) will mean you will get a slap on the wrist, maybe a dismissal and if you aren’t from that side of acceptable society, will mean you will spend a good part of your life in jail for a similar, or lesser, tabu-breaking. Not that all aren’t created equal it’s just that some are more equal than others and we rely on our blind, but not colour-blind justice system to know who is who. Anyway, in my rant, no punishment mentioned – yes, I re-read it, the only “punishment” being the personal annoyance of feeling guilty. (Corporal) punishment as is applied by a society to individuals only determines how corrupt that society is. For example, how corrupt is American society, politically speaking? Answer: how many people per capita does it keep incarcerated?

    1. wolfess

      “Political Correctness” — what an asinine phrase considering our politicians are anything BUT ‘correct’ on ANY level!

      At my current advanced age I have discovered I have absolutely no compunction to be either correct, OR political so I guess maybe I have attained that most precious of feelings … a complete lack of guilt! Does that make me an ancient millennial, or have millennials simply discovered what I’ve known for decades now?

      1. Sha'Tara Post author

        Good question! However and all the rest, I see that my goal, which was to explain, not whether we should or shouldn’t experience guilt feelings, or about what, but rather what guilt feelings are meant to do, which, to recap, is to remind people that they do have a conscience and that it has a very serious purpose, namely, to allow on to correctly judge if one is doing right or wrong. I am not talking in relation to society, or any aspect of any system, just the individual ISSA (intelligent, sentient, self aware) being. What tells us when we are acting wrongly? Our conscience… not the examples or dictates of society and certainly NOT THE EXAMPLES OF ANY OF OUR SO-CALLED LEADERS!!!

  3. wolfess

    “I am exceptional.” When my youngest son was in school the then-current word to use when describing a retarded child was ‘exceptional’ — funny how different words have different connotations in different decades. Now, the reason I used the word retarded to describe Jonathon and kids like him has 2 parts: 1) before we found out Jon was retarded I had read an article about a woman who had adopted a Vietnamese baby and when she went out in public with him people would call him awful things, so she decided that if she started saying things like “Mama loves her little gook baby,” those slurs from strangers wouldn’t have such a negative effect; 2) I started telling Jon “Mama loves her little retarded boy” — I referred to him that way for both of us so that it wouldn’t hurt either of us when the neighbor kids called him a ‘tardo’ and it worked b/c Jon didn’t react and that complete lack of reaction dumbfounded the neighbor kids so they had to actually grow thru their own idiocy!

    1. rawgod

      Well, Miss Wolfess, how did that work for Jon when he was not beside/with you? You’ll never know, because you weren’t there. My little brother was born with Down Syndrome in 1954. Whether kids today are any more vicious than kids were in those days I doubt, and I also doubt few are better than they were then, if you catch my drift. Donnie didn’t know what any of the words he was called meant, he didn’t have to. He was sensitive to their tones and voices, and believe me, he knew what those tones meant. It was my job to keep him safe, but that was impossible once the door opened and he was away from the safety of home (which really wasn’t any safer, but was “done with love.” He lived in hell till the day he died.) Just saying, from a brother’s point of view, there is no safety for a Down Syndrome child.
      But that is the injured child in me talking. I don’t throw stones, only words…

  4. jim-

    I like an Alan Watts segment where he teaches us not to feel guilty for feeling guilty, where embracing the fact we have guilt as humans shouldn’t make us feel bad about ourselves, but a normal part of the experience. Roll with it

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks for commenting Jim… but beware of New Age gurus, most of them are just failed religious types and full of it. That said, I would “respectfully” disagree with Mr. Watts. If you have an active conscience, part of the package is to experience guilt feelings. OK, that said, why guilt feelings? Not just to “roll with it” but to learn from it. If you stub your big toe and it throbs like hell, would you accept some “nothing is real” bloober if he told you it’s your false perception of reality that makes your toe hurt? However, it might tell you that in such and such situation, steel-toed boots would be a good idea, or simply being more careful of where, and how, you place your foot. If you don’t experience guilt feelings your conscience is dead. You could sign up to become an SS guard, or join Trump’s inner circle of brain dead monsters – they don’t have guilt feelings, only fear of being exposed AND convicted for their many crimes. A person who experienced guilt feelings for lying, for demonizing, for attacking honest and innocent individuals, would not work for the orange turd. Point: guilt feeling have a serious and positive purpose.

  5. rawgod

    To Ms Sha’Tara,
    What is the solution? Maybe I missed it, twice. Was there one?

    When you get right down to it, neither guilt, shame or conscience do anything for anyone. (Consciousness does, but that has nothing to do with those three!) Once an act is committed, in reality or in the mind, it is done. End of the line. It cannot be undone. However, if done in the mind, at least no one knows they were hurt. If done in what we call reality, someone was hurt, and we are pretty sure we know it–even if they don’t. The fact of the matter is we want them to know it, why else did we do it? Game over.
    The question is not can we make up for it, apologize and make it go away? So if you think you can, try it and see. Is it forgotten, or does it linger in the mind long past the time it should be a mere memory? To quote some old honest person long forgotten, What’s done is done and cannot be undone.
    But is that our only choice. Does admitting we did or tried to do harm to someone put an end to the matter? For me, (as you hinted) that is the end of it as long as I learned from the experience not to do it again, even if it was unintentional the first time. We’ve all done things we wish we hadn’t because we didn’t think things through to their logical or illogical end. Why be guilty about it, and hang on to it as a treasured character flaw? If it is a flaw, change it, not repeat it. It belongs to who you once were, but you’ve changed since then. Forget you ever did it, and there will be less chance of ever doing it again.
    If you once were a smoker, hanging onto to that thought will eventually make you back into a smoker. Until you forget what that cigarette did to you, it is on your mind, whispering how good it seemed. Forget you were ever a smoker, and you won’t be one ever again.
    It’s worth a try!

    Luckily I forgot what I really wanted to say…

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks for commenting. I think if the “essay” is re-read it will be easier to realize it wasn’t about providing any solution to guilt feelings and there was no intention to delve into lingering guilt feelings after an event. It was about conscience, and whether or not we are using it. Guilt is how an active conscience makes us aware that we are moral beings and we have to make choices on how we react to our own thoughts, words and acts. If we look at the current situation of our civilization globally we can readily see that “morality” is no longer a guiding principle. A sense of morality, or right versus wrong, was what kept us from overwhelming corruption. The system itself can’t see how it is driving individual Earthians into exponential degradation of mind, spirit and body. While I have personally given up on any hope this civilization isn’t heading for its extinction event I can’t stop pointing out the whys and wherefores of it, and sometimes explaining how this extinction could still be prevented. I know, beyond any doubt that society will NEVERMORE listen to any common sense voice exhorting it to turn from its “lemming migration” and live, but the voice must still make itself heard: it’s what it must do. So I thought that using the concept of guilt would explain how society has deadened its ISSA conscience, devolving its membership to possibly the lowest level its ever fallen. So to recap, I am saying that a guilt feeling is a trigger to remind us we have a moral conscience and, as intelligent, sentient and self aware spiritual beings we are designed to live the dictates of that conscience. Once we lose that, we lose every reason we can have for sharing life with other lifeforms. We become a completely illegitimate, purposeless destructive pathogen.

      1. rawgod

        I don’t believe conscience is natural. It is a man-made construct. Consciousness, on the other hand, is a consequence of trying to improve humanity, and thus life, by learning how to stop hurting others, particularly intentionally.
        A wise man once told me, Never bring a knife to a nuclear war, you are going to lose. One of the takeaways I got from that is never bring up an issue without offering a solution, and I still believe that. I am not saying that offering a solution will change anything, but it could start a nuclear reaction that starts with an idea that gives another mind an idea that down the road might bring a solution. All it takes is one good idea to start the chain.
        I place conscience up there with guilt and shame, all things that happen after an unchangeable action or event. the action/event is unchangeable because it is part of history one second after the fact, or less. The only possible corrective action is to change oneself, which one must be willing to do. It does not matter why one makes a change, or even how, as long as the same action/event is never repeated. That is how we build a better world, a better life.
        I don’t particularly care if anyone believes me, who am I to say it. Yet, as you just said, one has to try, and this is my trying, because you said something that started a reaction in me. Hopefully now someone will hear me, and think about change, and write it down somewhere it can be read by others. We are all part of that nuclear reaction, whether we want to be or not. We are all a part of life.
        Be guilty, or be change.

      2. jim-

        ”I don’t believe conscience is natural. It is a man-made construct”. This would imply that man is not natural, but created? I get your point, but guilt is an emotion tied to morality which is learned through social settings and our desire for fair treatment. A monkey, on the other hand, can learn social morality as well as other animal structures, but they don’t appear to feel guilt. They just make the adjustments to get treated fairly. Guilt is odd. I felt guilt when I had my awakening and wanted to apologize to everyone I’d ever tried to convert (some successfully that are still in faith) so I can’t really pinpoint guilt as a strictly religious phenomena, but a human one.

      3. rawgod

        i can only go with what I found within myself, Jim, and that is guilt feelings about things taught to me as being wrong while still a child. I listened to my parents, I had no choice but to listen, and they taught me to feel bad about harming others, or not doing what others told me to do.
        Why should “I” feel guilty about doing things others told me to do to others. I’m not saying I am without blame for some things I did when younger, but the guilt itself belongs to them, not me. I was their tool, and that is exactly how I was used. The older I grew, the more I learned who I was, and the more I was able to create my own “rules for life.” I don’t call them morals, though some others might. Now I don’t want to hurt others because I have decided “I” do not want that responsibility. MY CHOICE! No one else’s.
        I know this doesn’t really respond to your statement, but I am not in good health these days and am finding it hard to stay focussed. But still I want to give you something to go on. No one else can make me feel guilt, I have taken that power back to myself. Conscience, I threw that away decades ago, it did not belong to me.
        Consciousness, that is a whole nother ball game. That belongs strictly to me, and my spiritual self.
        For what it’s worth.

      4. Sha'Tara Post author

        I know the comment was addressed to jim, but I thought I’d throw this bit in at least. I am very much saddened to hear that about you current health problem. And I do understand what you are expressing about guilt, conscience and consciousness as it applies to you. What’s that they say about being true to yourself?

      5. jim-

        I agree. Liken in the cases of feral children, if they don’t learn empathy or guilt, as well as language by a certain age it cannot be learned. Nor can they unlearn the morality of the pack, herd, troop, or whatever host animal cared for them. So much for these qualities being imprinted by god.

      6. rawgod

        Just like ferals being imprinted by their protectors, so human children are imprinted by their (so-called) protectors. But we can unimprint ourselves if we wish. And we can still be nice people, because we choose to be.

      7. jim-

        Nice people can believe ridiculous things. Changing your consciousness is nearly impossible without changing beliefs.

      8. Sha'Tara Post author

        Well at least it isn’t as if you tortured those people while keeping them in dungeons for life because they wouldn’t accept God’s unconditional love and free grace.

      9. Sha'Tara Post author

        Thanks for commenting, rawgod. If you mean that I failed by not offering a solution, my point would be, there is no solution involved in this discussion. It’s just a question of cause and effect, i.e., guilt feelings relating to conscience. Whether man made, God made, or alien programming, conscience is an absolute necessity to the mentally and spiritually evolving entity. Earthians no longer value conscience because they have been brainwashed into ignoring any guilty feelings they may feel for personal wrong doing towards others (any and all OTHERS). Therefore man’s entire civilization is toppling into the proverbial toilet. You see, guilt feelings, shame, and conscience combine to create the ISSA being. By simple observation we can readily see (though we no longer want to admit it) that we are neither natural creatures nor evolved animals. It doesn’t work that way. We are different, and not only different, but entirely different in our experience and understanding of the life we share with others. I can share a house with ants and spiders. That does not make me an ant, a spider, nor better than they are: just different, so different that there can be no meaningful communication between us.
        As for solutions, I shouldn’t need to remind anyone reading this blog that I have been proposing the most elegant solution to ALL of man’s problems for years now. I call it compassion. If we would understand why we experience guilt for wrong doing – and I certainly do – all we need do is begin to express ourselves compassionately to all and sundry. That is your solution, not denial, rawgod.

    2. Sha'Tara Post author

      If you remember, rawgod, say it later. Anyway, as I already explained, yes, these “annoying” feelings of guilt and shame for personal wrong doing coming from within one’s sense of self (as opposed to those inflicted by religion of fake governmental justice) possess a salutary purpose. They can help us change our very inner nature if we pay attention; if we determine not to “do that again” because it hurts others. That pushes us towards the selflessness that describes a true human being. All these thing we’ve been egged on to reject as negative are designed to push us up the path of mental and spiritual evolution. Yes, evolution. I know, I don’t believe the evolution theory but that’s as far as the physical world is concerned. The physical world adapts to change, the mind and spirit are the aspects of us that evolve or devolve. Why are we experiencing so much mental devolution in these times?

  6. franklparker

    The most worrying tnhing for me is the way politicians not only deny their guilt but actually trumpet (pun intended) with pride actions about which any decent human being would feel guilt and shame.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks for that Frank. You get my point exactly. There is nothing I need to, nor could, add to what you say here. Our political leaders make my skin crawl.

  7. Hyperion

    I have definitely noticed the trend to shift blame, engineer excuses and justifications with scanty word gobbledygook. Without the conscience to identify right from wrong or to feel the pain we cause in others is not how humans improve their humanity. It seems to me, that is how humanity is destroyed. I could be wrong. I’m growing more befuddled with each passing year.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks Daniel. You also get my point. We need some sort of powerful compass to steer us through the doldrums of putrefaction the “modern” world has pushed our ships into. Do we have to lay there and rot? Who shot the albatross?

      1. Hyperion

        This post resonated powerfully with me. I went wilderness hiking and camping this weekend. Driving 30 miles on old dirt roads cut through the forest during the late 1700’s and early 1800’s for the settlers going west and returning, it was mile after mile of beer cans, bottles, and trash thrown out onto the road at the edge of the forest for all the critters to deal with. I was appalled that anyone in this day could be so thoughtless. But there it was, proof that moronism is at a zenith. No guilt felt, but lots of hate given. I do hope Canadians are a higher level being. I’d like to visit some day and imagine the national parks as pristine wilderness, not the garbage dumps we have here.

  8. Sha'Tara Post author

    Make no mistake, Canadians are no better in the least. The only reason you find less cans and bottles here is the 10 cents deposit, but it doesn’t help the trash problem. If the parks are cleaner it’s because staffing is better funded here. Publicly, brain dead, irresponsible yahoos rule and they won’t be touched by law enforcement because they are the oligarchs greatest and most reliable supporters,and great consumers of dollar store trash. Many Canadians are wannabe Americans.

  9. deteremineddespitewp

    My contribution is is probably way off kilter but kind of inspired me.
    As Jill knows I often hike off to my allegorical tall, lonely windswept tower where the weather is always stormy winter, walk along the outer parapet , place my hands on the wall and stridently say ‘fools’.
    Recently I wrote this long piece on Face Book encouraging Opposition Party followers to stop arguing and vote solely to get the current government out. Some hapless youth (anyone under 50 is a youth…yeah?) ‘Wrote TLDR sorry boomer’ which apparently translates in ‘Too Damn Long Didn’t Read, sorry person over 60’, since he didn’t contribute anything to the post other than that he had the attention span of a gnat, he came into my sights and even if he did try to defend himself got shot to bits. Now maybe my conscience, or mortality or whatever should have restrained me into trying to engage in a mature debate on the subject matter…It didn’t work…I notched up another ‘Don’t cross me sonny’ on my Face Book Wall.
    Colour me Grouchy Old Socialist.
    (Damn, but this General Election of ours is Invigorating)

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Mature debates can only be engaged with mature individuals… few and far between and each year the number gets smaller. I think it has to do with some proportional exact opposite to population expansion. In the world of Earthians, quantity trumps quality in increasing measure.

      1. Sha'Tara Post author

        Idiocracy: you would recommend that film? I read up on it and concluded it would not be something I need to watch. I mean, haven’t we already lived it?

      2. deteremineddespitewp

        When it came out first a few kindly folk were a bit unsettled about what they thought was a hint of mocking elitism about the script.
        Now folk write about how prescient it seems.

      3. Sha'Tara Post author

        The prescience thing, sure. But anyone who seriously followed the trends for the last 50 years could arrive at a similar conclusion. Example, “On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. – H. L. Mencken. We know Mencken died in 1956, so this statement had to have been made before that time. We know of at least two certifiable morons in the white house in recent times: Bush “the shrub” and “The Orange Goo”… Some white house incumbents of the time must have set Mencken to think that. Well, in any case, he was right. How are you guys doing with Boring Johnson?

      4. deteremineddespitewp

        ‘How are you guys doing with Boring Johnson?’
        Now there is a question redolent with possibilities.
        This depends on
        1. Whether you embrace the joint ideas of
        (A) The forecasts of the Opinion Polls and (B) the concept of Devine Retribution for whatever injustices we got up to in the previous centuries as an imperial power.
        In this case Johnson winning the election makes sense as the majority of the folks who voted for him will deserve whatever is coming.
        2. Or strategically. To paraphrase a commentary on Hannibal’s victory over the Romans at Cannae….
        ‘For a feckless idiot like Johnson to win a General Election you need the inadvertent assistance of an incompetent argumentative opposition like The UK Labour Party’ .
        Or 3. To re-use an old British soldier’s song from WWI….’Blame me mother, me sister or me brother, but for Gawd’s sake don’t blame me!’ (the word ‘send’ being replaced with ‘blame’).
        As Karlyn or Arketre would tell you:
        ‘We’re scraithed’
        Now Labour winning.(with the aid of other parties)..…..
        Who knows?

      5. Sha'Tara Post author

        “Oh frib!” That doesn’t sound good. You could always move to Canada except that would be like moving to Vienna in 1938 t avoid the Nazis…

      6. deteremineddespitewp

        Funnily enough back in the mid- 1970s when we were starting out we did toy with the idea of such a move, but the practicalities didn’t pan out.
        Anyway, I am going to stay here and be difficult in my own small way.
        To quote from (ironically) General T J ‘Stonewall’ Jackson on the confederate army
        “Raise the black flag. No quarter to the violators of our homes and firesides”

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