An overdeveloped conscientiousness or a overactive freudian superego is not a pleasant acquisition. Yet what strikes me about guilt as i experience it is how salutary it is. In that it allows me to both experience compunction and feel good about it. After all the fact of one's moral probity, however protean it by be, is a necessary faith and belief. It can lapse into self congratulation but it can also transmute into a quickening of empathy so that one is impelled, both by the reactivated fibres of one's natural feeling and by a sense of doing right, to fruitful action.
Guilt lacerates and diminishes joy many times. It becomes an incessant self admonition that, ironically, performs a palliating function. In propitiating the deity of self reproach i feel affirmed in my goodness. This does not undermine the piquancy of the guilt or the genuine remorse i experience so precipitately. It does, though, in accompaniment to this necessary self examination, confer a moral high ground which, in partaking of reproachful bad conduct or thought , affirms, through that very reproachfulness, a certain irreproachability. Though i speak for myself only.
To encounter disparate and contradictory propensities in myself often necessitated a certain resolution, a certain tilt towards, a repudiation of, something or the other. But i now enclose these contradictions in me as a mosaic of life's complexity, as an embodiment of what i can know and of how much i can't. The awareness of incertitude makes me humble or , at any rate, less prone to grandiose assumptions of unimpeachability. Such failures in sustaining self regard, such puncturings of solipsistic proclivities, heartens and ennobles. But, as i said, implicit in such an admission of indeterminacy, for me, is the discernment of some depth of life's unfathomability.
Guilt can be an indulgence, a cycle of ceaseless self denigration. Guilt can be be an assuaging of one's unconscious amorality. Guilt can, in a space of existential void, be the only reason to exist in a way that feels vital. But guilt can create opportunities to breach the impenetrable barrier of one's egotism, to reach out, proffer an apology or regret sincerely so that one's interlocutor may discern the pulsations of empathy. Guilt can translate into purposefulness, acts of altruism, through sublimation. Guilt can both negate and affirm, sometimes enervating the will through their inveterate overlap and elsewhere prompting action, emergent from expediency but benefitting something larger than the self. It is the direction guilt can take one to that determines ,presumably, one's coexistence with and assimilation of this indubitable impulse within all of us, to then ,to either be hemmed in or strike out.