Thursday, January 28, 2010

Guilty As Charged

Robert Colville has a thought provoking column in the Telegraph today all about the issue of guilt, especially in men. He quotes a study from the University of the Basque Country in Spain which asserts that men feel "too little guilt when we misbehave because we are boorish, emotionally retarded louts". I wouldn't say all Spanish men fit into that category, but...

It is, of course, balls. I'd say that there are plenty of women who are 'guilt-free zones', just as there are men. In the end it all comes down to individual personality and individual conscience. I do believe it to be a sad fact of life that those who don't feelings of guilt trouble them tend to get on in life a little better. In other words, it pays to be a 'hard bastard'. I can think of several instances in my life when, if I had been 'harder' or less honest, my life might have taken a somewhat different turn.

So, what makes you feel most guilty, most often? Here are my contributions...

1. Not seeing my parents often enough
2. The amount of chocolate I eat despite my diabetes
3. Wasting money on needless things, like DVDs I will never get round to watching
4. Losing my temper when my brain tells me to shut the **** up
5. Spending so much time on work and politics to the neglect of everything else
6. Saying no to speaking invitations

I won't make this into a blog meme, but feel free to share your own guilty secrets either in the comments or on your own blog.


Dick the Prick said...

Am pretty lucky with the family stuff.

But saying i'll do stuff for people when I know damn well i'm not going to. Have no idea why I do that...probably an idiot I guess.

Roger Thornhill said...

I have noticed that 'guilt free zones' - who I'd rather describe as sociopaths - tend to survive better in Corporations or other large entities. SMEs are more likely to eject them as living skin ejects a splinter.

It is all down to how they are run. A fish rots from the head, after all.

Unknown said...

Reading this every day ;)

Frugal Dougal said...

My daughter eats too much chocolate for her diabetes, but she's not gotten round to the guilt bit yet...

Demetrius said...

Reading blogs when I could be watching Shaun The Sheep.

Mr Jabberwock said...

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Every man has some reminiscences which he would not tell to everyone, but only to his friends. He has others which he would not reveal even to his friends, but only to himself, and that in secret. But finally there are still others which a man is even afraid to tell himself, and every decent man has a considerable number of such things stored away. That is, one can even say that the more decent he is, the greater the number of such things in his mind.

BTS said...

That whole incident involving my sister probably wasn't my best moment but suspended sentences aren't so bad I guess..

Paddy Briggs said...

It has to be not suffering fools gladly. In my 37 year business career I worked in the main with such talented people that I took it for granted. In recent times I have been around in worlds where talented people are much more at a premium - and I still haven't found a way to cope with it!

Conand said...

1. Spending too much time reading political blogs.
2. I used to vote Lib Dem.
3. I haven't phoned that company yet.
4. I broke the hinge on my brother's laptop but he doesn't know.
5. How was I to know there was a dead body in there?
6. I feel guilty and conflicted because I don't feel so guilty and conflicted that I feel I have to read, or at least buy, 'The Guardian'.
7. I feel guilty about 6. because I lied and I don't feel guilty or conflicted about that at all.

Anonymous said...

I hate cowardice. The thing I feel most guilty about is when I was a coward. Someone I cared about wanted to talk about something I couldn't face, so I kept saying it would be alright.

Charles said...

1. Systematically undermining any rival for the job I covet
2. Deliberately trashing someone I shared an office with for 15 years out of jealously
3. Sulking for a decade when I don't get my own way
4. Knowingly and recklessly bankrupting a country

...whoops sorry, must have been thinking of someone else

javelin said...

Making somebody guilty is a form of coercion.

The person being coerced has positive and dependent feelings for the other person. They don't want to leave the other person and want to please them.

The person doing the coercing expects the 'victim' to do something that is basically unjust or unfair. The coercing person doesn't have to even understand it's unfair - they could be just selfish.

The person being coerced feels (1) frustrated (2) sometimes hurt (3) used and (4) subconsciously resentful.

They feel (1) frustrated because they are trying to build a loving relationship and the other person is playing unfair.

They feel (2) hurt because the person doing the coercion is supposed to love them, and they feel it "sometimes" because the person being coerced can't believe the other person doesn't love them and goes off on tangents trying to find a rationale why they are really loved.

They feel (3) used because they give in to the other person to stay in the relationship and do things that are basically unjust or unfair.

Finally, they supress the feeling of being used and don't do other nice things for the person, but are often unaware of their supressed (4) resentment. So find their relationship is ebbing away.

Guilt is the process of feeling bad about yourself for letting this happen. Smoetimes you even feel guilty about the relationship ebbing away.

... now to deal with the situation where there is only one person (ie. human body) involved. It is quite simple to imagine the siutation where one aspect of the mind (the I - a more basal and instinctive part of the mind) desires something of another aspect of the mind (the self - a more cognitive model of the I). However the self is trying to be a good citizen for the I. But the self becomes coerced and the self goes through a similar process of feeling guilty.

In the case of chocolate. The 'I' desires it, but the 'self' (a cognitive model of the first person) understands it shouldn't have it. But the self is a creation of the 'I' so wants to please it, so the cognitive self sets out to achieve the goal of the more basal 'I'. The self wants to please the 'I' and goes through the process of being rationalisation, feeling used and eventually resenting (or even desparing) with the I for trying to get it to do things.

It's when you can't bring yourself to express what you are feeling guilty about (i.e supressed resentment) that you need to deal with it.

Unknown said...


What is the most abused word in the English language?

Is it the 'n' word?
Is it the 'p' word?
Or even the 'c' word?

None of the above.

It is: 'they'

as in...

"They are like this..."
"They are like that..."

Who, exactly, are "they"?

Blacks, homosexuals, disabled people, women, men, short people, tall people, fat people?

Whenever I hear statements that begin with "They..." my hackles go up.

Everyone is an individual. You cannot group them into convenient groups and address them as "they".

Alex said...

"sociopaths - tend to survive better in Corporations or other large entities. "

Trtue up to a point. Senior management aren't stupid and can judge characters well. A few sharks in the pond makes things lively, but if you go high enough in most large organisations, it is surprising how many well-balanced individuals there are at the top.

Anonymous said...

I've tried to systematically erase guilt from the set of emotions that I feel, especially where business is concerned. Having been brought up in a rather hardcore religious background, I felt constantly guilty about everything, but was also continually aware of the fact that - as Iain says - the 'guilt-free zones' had all the fun in life. Once it became obvious that guilt was holding me back rather than helping in any way, I decided to shed it if poss.

It's not easy, but it's revealed a few things about guilt:

- people wallow in it, self-indulgently. A bit like misery. One occasionally wonders if they like it.

- it's habit-forming

- guilt can be a form of conceit. It allows you to remind yourself of what a fundamentally decent person you are deep down - you must be because you have the morality to feel guilty. An amoral person wouldn't feel guilty, see?

- social guilt can be a form of arrogance. People probably don't care about you enough to have noticed.

- self-righteousness nearly always conceals guilty feelings.

- the only real way to attain the magical 'guilt-free' status is to develop a mephistophelian glee in devilment and the devilment of others.

Taking it one day at a time....

Anonymous said...

Astonishing that no-one has mentioned anything about sex or fidelity.

Is this because everyone on here are either angels or asexual? Or just that so many people are doing that nowadays that no-one feels guity any more?

Dimoto said...

Alex said:
"True up to a point. Senior management aren't stupid and can judge characters well. A few sharks in the pond makes things lively, but if you go high enough in most large organisations, it is surprising how many well-balanced individuals there are at the top".

Hmmm, you must have been working in very benign organisations.
I stopped paying attention to Dilbert when I heard Scott Adams say that the cartoon was aimed at middle management , who are stupid, whilst the board and senior execs are mostly clever and sensible - but then, he did work for ITT.

Senior managements are, with very few talented exceptions, ruthless middle managers who got lucky.