Sunday, 13 September 2009

The Guilt Industry

Christians say we're born with original sin but in my experience sin is quite difficult to achieve. Sin take some organising. Sin requires a separate credit card and a post office box. Sin requires the ability to lie under pressure.

It's more likely we're born with original guilt. Guilt is easy.

Your average person spends most of the day bathed in non-specific guilt. That's why we all flinch when we see a police officer. We can't precisely recall being part of a major bank robbery, sometime in the previous 20 minutes, but in the back of our minds there's a suspicion we probably were.

The world conspires to make us feel guilty. For every person who is peddling sin, there are 10 who are peddling guilt.

Just the other day, researchers in London accused fat people of causing global warming. Those of us with a few extra kilos are now to blame for the death of the planet. Up to now, we'd merely been blamed for adding an unattractive element to the streetscape. Suddenly we're to blame for the disappearance of the street itself!
It was like being called up before a magistrate and finding your crime had been suddenly upgraded.

"But I thought I was charged with littering..."

"No, sorry lady, it's now the destruction of all humanity. Now, how would you like to plead?"

The Guilt Industry also offers bucket-loads of official advice, all of it designed to make us all feel like failures. One example is the new recommendation on wine: drink more than one glass of wine in a 24 hour period and you'll die young. It's an unlikely piece of advice which, if followed, would bankrupt the Federal Government, so I'm guessing they don't expect people will actually do as they are told.

It's not only the wine. The Guilt Industry believes you need to spend at least an hour each day exercising, 8 1/2 hours sleeping, 8 hours working, 1 hour meditating, 10 minutes teeth cleaning, 3 minutes teeth flossing, 1 hour reading to your children, 1 hour eating dinner together in the European mode, 3 hours enduring public transport, all finished off with 20 minutes of vigorous daily sex.

By my calculation, you need 48 hours in every day just to lead what the various experts consider an acceptable life.

Just one question: if I manage to get through all 48 hours of tasks, could I at least have a second drink?

Jesus, they say, died for our sins. Shame he couldn't have also snuffed out some of the unproductive guilt!

We were not feeling at all guilty when we were barging in France in July 2008!


HappyOrganist said...

no no no Peggy. Sin IS easy (you must have a gift if you don't know how to do this) ;)

i'd explain more - but would hate to come across as preachy.

Cherio amiga!

HappyOrganist said...

I will agree that guilt is easier, though ;)

HappyOrganist said...

you're so funny. I just read the rest of that post. You're hilarious =)
love that list of hours to do those tasks. (especially the teeth. love that)

I wouldn't worry about 'death of the planet' (global warming or cooling).
I'm pretty sure the Earth, like all of us, has its purpose/mission (which it is doing a marvelous job fulfilling) and yes, it may die.
But I wouldn't worry about it. ;D

Evil Shannanigans said...

I don't believe in sin actually. What is moral to one person is immoral to another.
Guilt on the other hand is very real and I feel it every day about something or another. Love the pic, you look like you are having a blast!

HappyOrganist said...

ah Shannon,
your beliefs look so good on you ;)

Nina P. said...

Guilt; it's the should of, could of, would of, shouldn't have, "I'm Sorry" disease. I suffer from this disease as I tend to say I'm sorry for things I couldn't have changed or sometimes, things I have nothing to do with... The "I'm sorry" pop's out even before the finger can point in mine or any other direction. How did it get imbedded into my vocabulary so firmly? I don't know and I'm not going to stress over it. Or suffer guilt over it. Instead, I'm learning to avoid saying it. (Unless I really need to). You're post parallels this as I do believe it stems from the "Guilt" gene.
Now sin... that's another story.... It's impossible to be perfect so there's the rub. Sin is a part of life but we can certainly avoid most of it. It's almost like there are rules to sin and Guilt, well, it's a free for all.... It Could also be that one is more of an act so it's easier to define and the other is a feeling of not measuring up, doing something wrong, etc... Wonderful thought provoking post... "I'm Sorry" I get so wordy(smiles)... but you bring out the best in me!... Oh that's right, no more "I'm sorry's" :-D
I love the photo and all the good antioxidants you all were partaking!! Hears to your Health! Love and Light, Nina P.

Chapter Forty said...

I tell myself frequently that the things that dont go as well as planned for my kids will actually do their character some good later in life. But that is my guilt trying to make me feel better. My guilt also tells me to leave stuff in the past and move on....lifes too short. Nice holiday snap, you must smile with memories everytime you see it.

Mark Cowell said...

Didn't original sin come from the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Without that knowledge, we would be able to define sin, wouldn't be able to make others guilty or be guilty ourselves. We are able to create hell out of our world because we have become a species of judges, juries, and executioners. The way back would then, naturally, be through unconditional love. That's my Cliff Notes synopsis of the Old and New Testaments.

Mike Smith said...

20 minutes of vigorous sex? Is that the definition of optimism?

Renee said...

Peggy I absolutely love this post. How fantastic. I weigh 217 pounds so I must be guilty of double the killing of the ozone.

Love the post.

Renee xoxo

Christine said...

so I guess guilt keeps us on our toes and prevents us from sinning too much?

I think nice people suffer more guilt because they care and have a conscience.

Jan said...

Lots of interesting thoughts here. I subscribe to the "Original Blessing" theory. That we came to this place (however that happened) through blessing, from the divine act of creation for the purpose of living our goodness. We come from ultimate Goodness and we are that. That is our true nature.

Any guilt or perceived "sin" is only a result of our humanity, characterized by our ego self. And that's only a system of messages (you provide some of the language of that here, "should" "guilt"). Most of this is culturally pressed upon us. These messages are not sourced in our true nature, our ground of being, our essence, Buddha-nature, whatever you wish to call it. Underneath all the crud and choices (that some may call sin - not a word I use, by the way) is our true God-self nature: peace, love, joy, gratitude, generosity, kindness, etc. This is who we really are....We just need to dust it off...

ok, enough preaching to the choir.