The use of Reason and reasonable argumentation, the reclaiming of the idea of Progress and the struggle against dogma. In this post-modern world, reinventing Enlightenment is of the utmost importance.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Guilt, that old puppet string.

Guilt!Used since Adam & Eve to separate good from evil and righteous from sinners.
It is rooted in anxiety at the most basic level and prevents us from feeling relaxed about some of our actions or thoughts.
It shows up every time we deviate from a set of moral rules, even when they are not our own rules.

Guilt has a role to play in our improvement as individuals. The way we build our ethical foundations utilizes a trial and error process where guilt plays the role of telling us when we are deviating from our previous code.

The downside is that this also applies with external codes of ethics such as Christian or Muslin codes . Often we see clear examples of how institutions use this emotion to control and drive their flocks.

This is done in a surprisingly simple manner. The church sets an ideal and unattainable standard of behaviour, which is perceived by the followers as the way God would always behave. This often involves quite unpleasant; painful and unnatural rules, such as fasting or abstaining from sex.
Not so surprisingly the flock will often stray from the straight and narrow and prevaricate or "sin". This will then generate the necessary guilt to keep people confused and lacking self-esteem that will make them vulnerable enough to all sorts of controls.


Blogger Inha said...


7:00 AM

Blogger A. Cabral said...

I must confess a cultic fascination with Michel Foucault. On matters of body and pleasure and their politics he is superb. There is a rarely unnoticed kind of repression (that may have been revealed by Freud) which is self-inflicted and moral.
While the catholic church talks about "love the other" its real message is "hate thyself". It teaches you that you are flawed, since the fall from eden, sinful and dirty. To be a good catholic is to fight against yourself, you are in constant strain, in constant vigilance for sin, in constant begging for forgiveness. Bliss is to hide from the world in thyself and the mortuary monasteries.

7:56 AM

Blogger Goncaluskas said...

Cabral, thank you for your comment, it adds value to the article. I find it general but largely appicable. Interesting is how the "hate thyself" is masked in popular media as " envy the other". Sometimes when we look at all the magazines in newsagents we are confronted with all these people who are better off than the majority of us. These publications show an unreal "beautifull" society which is not a true reflection of the one we actually live in and leaves us thinking we have not quite suceeded as human beings untill we drive a Porsche or go out with a model.

8:08 AM

Blogger daviduskas said...

But...In this regard I have to say three things:

We do live in a society where, to have, is to be.

However, Christians, true Christians that is, don't think like that. In general, they are into sharing and giving...

That brings me to the point: although there are several bad things in Christianity, namely its bizarre handling of sex, there are also several good ones, namely good will.

8:41 AM

Blogger A. Cabral said...

As I believe David suggests, we can distinguish the playing out of Church morality from the morality of consumption. I think the latter is more modern and more prevalent than the former. Your idea of a puppet master that rules by making up impossible ideals for people to run after is more akin to the hegemony of advertising and luxury consumption. Fashion changes with the seasons, and it break into tribes each with their own heroes, the new gods to look up to. You always try to reach it, but it keeps changing, and it is itself almost unatainable. I guess capitalism is pagan, you adore many many gods (although one is father of all others, money).

8:54 AM

Blogger daviduskas said...

Could't agree more Cabral.
You see, it must not be forgotten that just until 1990 there was a strong counterbalance to the spreading and development of the Western Market: Communism. From then on, finally freed from the fierce competition of the Communist world, the Capitalist system not only spread to virtually all corners of the globe but also no longer needed spiritual or cultural aids to account for the benefits of its free-market. The West finaly could do without Culture and Consumerism could finally become “the” value, for a society where “to have” is synonym “to be”.

And if this shit continues, eventually, we will be completely fucked, because this state of affairs, among other things, generates the politicians who are already rulling our democracies.

9:19 AM

Blogger A. Cabral said...

It also generates anxiety. It is as if you are always incomplete, you can never have enough and then you are also in danger (being unemployed, terrorism, bird-flu, panics galore). We are society on the verge of a nervous meltdown, depressed and sad.

9:43 AM

Anonymous Auroraboreal said...

Estou sem palavras.


Um beijo enorme.

12:03 PM

Blogger sonia r. said...

Boa tarde, Goncaluskas.

12:21 PM

Blogger Goncaluskas said...

Olá Boneca. tudo bem?

12:29 PM

Anonymous LUÍS MARIA said...

Epá, esta merda tá a tornar-se num match making do outro mundo!
Mas devem ter razão. Enlightenment e Amor podem e devem dar-se bem.

Luís Maria, o único, o verdadeiro, o genuíno!

1:19 PM

Blogger Goncaluskas said...

Ó luisinho, não seja ciumento que lhe fica mal.

1:38 PM


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