Death of the Guilty Conscience

One of the themes from my second book, “Without a Pang,” addresses ideas around the value or need or even the role that a guilty conscience plays in society. Not that I have any great insight on that nor do I have an answer. The theme sort of came out in the telling and so I let it develop.

The basic setup of the book is that a device is created to ease emotional and perhaps mental imbalances that can make life a struggle. This device would replace drugs that might typically used for therapeutic purposes without the often problematic side effects.

One of the unintended consequences is that it seemed to help ease a guilty conscience, which might be good or might be bad depending on how you view the role of guilt in society. I won’t go into that here (you can read the book).

What prompted me to write this was not a desire to debate or explain this concept, but an observation that in the current political climate (and maybe even cultural climate) so may people appear to have no remorse for engaging in really crappy behavior. They don’t feel any need to apologize, whatever that apology might be driven by, whether guilt or shame or a desire to be a good human or something else that makes us want us to acknowledge that we have caused harm, intentionally of otherwise.

I’m not sure what my point is here. Not sure if it is a lament for lack of accountability for ones behavior, dislike of the gross callousness that people wear as a badge of honor, or the ditching of social responsibility in favor self-absorbed and misguided notions of individual liberties.

Maybe the point is: Be a good human. Or at least try.

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