Natural Guilt and Artificial Guilt

Many people seem to doubt themselves, seem to believe something is wrong with them, somehow. It is such a strong feeling, that people who appear confident and certain often impress us. And yet, just as often, when those very same confident people write their autobiographies, or sit for in-depth interviews, they end up admitting to periods of doubt or uncertainty, worrying if they could measure up. No one seems to be completely immune from this.

And to a degree, there are plenty of methods used to take advantage and exploit that feeling. Many religions saddle us with some form of worthlessness, whether they call it “original sin” or “karma” or some other religious excuse. I mean really, why would your God create a bunch of losers? Seems like a shabby piece of work for a God. Or else we had for centuries the idea that kings & queens (or tsars or sovereigns or emperors or what-have-yous) were better than us. Thankfully some of that attitude has crumbled.

But not all of the newer ways have been improvements. Recently one of my blog visitors was reading an older post, and in answer to a philosophical question I asked, added a comment explaining to me that I was a narcissist and that’s why I asked the question. He or she suggested I get help for my “problem” (although they did not seem to be getting help for their “problem.” Go figure.)

And at first I was a little upset, and gave some serious thought to the comment. Where does narcissism end and self-perception begin? Some narcissistic traits can also be the traits of self-starting success stories, too (not that I am one, yet) so who watches the watchmen who declare it an illness or a condition, as opposed to desirable traits for success? It seems to me we as a society are deigning certain aspects of personality as “problems” or “conditions.” Many people simply are who they are, and it is society’s rules and attitudes that limit them. As the “church” loses strength in our increasingly scientific world, it seems now we rely on science and psychiatry to tell us how “bad” we are. If it ain’t “original sin” making us worthless, it’s narcissism or OCD or Asperger’s or any other excuse to supply us with the appropriate feelings of worthlessness. I am not dismissing people who seek treatment for any condition that might be hampering the best possible manifestation of our lives. I think we are all fine the way we are, but there are always ways to grow and evolve.

So I am advocating we all stop beating ourselves up. Let us all (me too!) try to stop believing there is something “wrong with us.” Doing penance is way overrated. To me that is “artificial guilt.” (See below.)

Remember the mistakes, so you don’t make them again. Also remember, without occasional mistakes, how would we know we were on an appropriate path for ourselves?

Let me close with this quote from the Seth Material… (bolding below is mine)

“If you can sit quietly and realize that your body parts are replacing themselves constantly — if you tune your conscious mind into the consideration of such activity — then you can realize your own state of grace. If you can sense your thoughts steadily replacing themselves then you can also feel your own elegance. You cannot feel guilty and enjoy such recognition, however. Not on a conscious level. If you find that you are berating yourself because of something you did yesterday, or ten years ago, you are not being virtuous. You are most likely involved with artificial guilt. Even if a violation occurred, natural guilt does not involve penance. It is meant as a precautionary measure, a reminder before an event.”

The Nature of Personal Reality
Session 636, Page 152


  1. Gary… this is funny & sad… but ultimately hopefully a healing speech

  2. Anonymous says:

    Doing penance is way overrated. To me that is “artificial guilt.”

    haha, cool, Tony!

  3. This is a wonderfully insightful post, Anthony. I especially respect your way of responding to the rude heckler…working through your upset to the place where you were able to look at some basic questions.

    There are nasy people out there who apparently get some relief from their self-loathing by looking for bloggers to vent their poison on. Fact of life in the blogosphere, but never easy to handle. Donna Cunningham

  4. ilia says:

    nicely put.

    1. Interestingly, didn’t realize how true this post would become for me months later.


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