Higher Morality – Guilt

Guilt – I ask myself, “If I do something wrong do I feel guilty?” When I say yes to this question, I know I on am on the right moral path. I view guilt as an acknowledgement of  blameworthy deeds. There is a legal term that refers to having a “consciousness of guilt,” which I define as the realization that one is guilty of a particular deed. Being conscious of guilt is a concession of a contributory responsibility for wrong actions that deserve rebuke. Having guilt is an understanding that no wrong doing is sin verguenze, or “without shame.” It  arises from a remorseful conscience in-tune with the Natural Moral Code and Higher Morality.

Samenow maintained, “the capacity to experience guilt is an outgrowth of conscience development.” (1998) Conscience is a powerful deterrent to not harm another (ahimsa). One view of guilt is a purification coming by lamenting, expressing grief, and deeply regretting our wrongs. Acknowledgement of guilt can metaphorically give a self-spiritual cleansing. Guilt can defang the evil things we have done by showing remorse, contrition, and repentance.  Guilt can be a healing process getting us on the right moral path. Another view of guilt is that it emanates from an anxiety over the bad things we have done. Guilt can lead to making amends for the harmful things we have done. Empathy overlaps with guilt and conscience. If I have empathy for another person, it is difficult for me to bring harm to that person. Stein felt that, “guilt in a civilized man is normal and inevitable accomplishment of the violation of a relationship with one’s self or another human being.” (1965)  I welcome comments.


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