Showing posts from June 10, 2015

Gluttons for Guilt and Shame

guilt ɡilt/ noun 1. the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime. “Guilt is the interest paid on a debt you never owed in the first place.” That was my grandfather’s response to a question during a chess game over five decades ago.  “Regret and remorse are necessary to our repentance…but not guilt” , he said, “total waste of time and effort”. Naturally, I didn’t believe him. After all, I was 8 years old and knew everything by that time. Checkmate! As the years slipped by, and him long dead, I've changed my mind. Gramps was right. Guilt is the bastard child of regret and remorse. How else can you explain criminal, psychological, political and religious guilt as powerful motivators for good and evil? How else can you explain the ravages of ‘shame’?  Guilt is the broken record of conscience. It goes round and round stuck in a groove between regret and remorse. Worse, it is often confused with having a conscience.  Mahatma Gan