Questions about guilt
Can guilt and the stages it comes in (contemplation, execution, reflection) be negated because of our contemporary understanding that morals are sustained only subjectively? In another sense, what are the objective repercussions of “sin” ? It would be a horrendous lie to say that the majority of us have never failed to adhere to the moral sanctions of mankind and in a more contextual sense; of society. We have always rebelled for pleasure. Doesn’t it often come at the cost of transgressing some rule of the society? Depending on where you are, society, for an individual, changes meaning. Society is your hometown, your workplace when you are at work, it is a group of people out of many, an individual in a group and ultimately your society is you. You live with yourself. My question regarding guilt takes its form here.
I would argue that a person with a heightened predisposition of enquiry will begin to question the legitimacy of a divine judgement given that they have not outright rejected it already. It would be wise to bring up now that, Atheism is a small part of what is at play here. The obvious disparity in our society is enough to let one know that the world is hardly perfect and it is the same with people. Horrible things happen everyday. People killed in secret, announced murders, corruption and the toll it takes on millions of unsuspecting nobodys. Who keeps the record? Why then am I held up and compared against morals by myself when the rest of the world turns a blind eye to the “immoral” acts perpetrated by the rest of the world? This refines my question and makes it a matter of what holds a person from breaking bad?
For a man who is an Atheist, the thing that obliges him to live and act a certain way primarily would be the law. For a religious individual, their morality would be derived from the divine literature of their distinct faith. But, the legal code is the all applicable mandate for law and order; or in other words, to keep morality intact. Pick pockets are put away, embezzlers are defended by lawyers relentlessly and are then put away but who/what puts away the masters of the complex art of deception?
A teacher who cracks jokes to entertain himself and the rest of the class at the expense of the most subdued student in class but immediately ceases to do so when he realises that he is being observed, is a plausible example in this case. Being insulted in front of an intimate collective of one’s society leaves an utterly bitter mirror which is often repressed. A destitute shoplifter who has just stolen milk for his son and a chep drink for himself can be put under the microscope here. Given his condition, half of his theft seems justifiable from a humanistic point of view. His society knew that he had a son, society knew that he was broke so the shared nature to protect one’s offspring balances the beam to some extent. But his dubious filching of alcohol throws that humanistic perspective into a fit. I think this helps to bring in mind that morals aren’t always exempt from double standards. Theft of articles that belong to someone else is naturally against the truth and we realize that it makes us feel like something is off. Such arbitrary and often collected individual judgments don’t take a tangible shape until the law labels them a misdemeanor and a felony. But apart from the law of man, wrong and right always remain arbitrary. Guilt or admission of oneself to the wrongness of an act in planning or execution is received from the outside as well as realised from the inside. When it overlaps with legal boundaries the guilt, if any, is induced by the outside world and is internalized by the condemned. It is unbearable when every face in the courtroom is yours.
Why was Kim Jong-Il not put to trial by himself as he was feasting on the finest food while the people of his country did not even have the fortitude of a bowl full of rice? Was Kim Jong-Il subject to a flaw in his mental apparatus that kept him in the shadows from the neuromodulator molecules that cause guilt? Was he aware about the disdainful taste an average person has regarding such dictation of their fate? If he was aware, how could he have slept a peaceful sleep since inheriting absolute power? If he wasn’t aware, what does that say about faith in justice? Arbitrary entities seem to always carry a dichotomy. Can a person reject morality without feeling a hint of guilt? The law will be there to apprehend criminals but what if a criminal blind to guilt is never caught? So what is really holding everyone back from descending into a hysterical riot? The concepts of good and evil? What ties us to good so very much? A blissful childhood or instilled guilt? If we get away from mortal apprehension, is this life cosmically inconsequential? Is unbearable guilt the mechanism against self criminalization?