Monday, August 16, 2010

Guilt, a gift from our parents

Wikipedia defines guilt as "a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person realizes or believes—accurately or not—that he or she has violated a moral standard, and bears significant responsibility for that violation.  It is closely related to the concept of remorse."  This begs the question - where do we get our moral standards from.  Presumably, Robin Hood was not raised with a moral standard endorsing the concept of robbing from the rich to give to the poor, any more than Stephen Harper was, but I think its safe to say that this moral standard has evolved over time.  Moral standards that are passed on from one generation to the next through parenting often don't stand the test of time.  Where one generation may firmly believe that computers are a tool of the devil and should be restricted to tools of commerce, another generation may feel differently.  My father used to tell us that he would kill us if he ever caught us drinking or doing drugs.  As a teenager, I remember thinking that killing someone had to be worse than drinking or doing drugs.  What amuses me are people who develop a guilty conscience related to one set of circumstances in their moral code, and go through great mental anguish while being completely oblivious to the hurt they are causing by their actions towards others.  I'm not saying that parenting is easy, but when you see the innocent, trusting face of a small child and see how vulnerable their minds are to the imprint of their influencers, you can't help but hope and pray that some thought will be given to the conscience that they are given.

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