C O N T R O L S Y
S T E M S
The Guilt System
updated version - Sept 2008
Most of the unpleasantness of the “real world”
– the competitiveness, hostility, resentment,
anxiety – can be traced to the guilt system.
In a sense we each created our own version of
Hell from our first encounter with guilt. The
fall from grace occurred during infancy when
we received the message (usually from our parents)
that we’re “bad” or “not good enough”. This
led to our first “bad” thought, resulting in
the Nightmare of Guilt from which we’ve
been running ever since.
The depth of this guilt shouldn’t be underestimated.
Relative to the infant’s previously innocent
universe, doing something “bad” was equivalent
to murdering all good. Not knowing how
to dispel this gnawing sense of guilt, we eventually
entered “normal society”, which functions essentially
as a guilt-projection system for recirculating
How does the Guilt System work?
We each carry a burden of unresolved guilt
from our childhood. We repress it (ie hide it
from ourselves, deny it) and we project it onto
others. This projection takes the following
form: We see ourselves in a competitive, threatening
world, but we’re not guilty of creating
this world; it’s them out there – those
bastards – who are guilty of creating the unpleasantness.
Competitive society – with its constricting
fear, pettiness and suppressed rage –
can hurt us psychologically only if we participate
in the guilt system. Our own buried guilt makes
us vulnerable to the system’s effects
– it creates an attenuated expectancy
of punishment, which makes us defensive and
easy to control.
Society’s most popular pastime is comparing
oneself to others in ways that make us seem
good-by-comparison. This is just a desperate,
unsatisfying attempt to compensate for our lingering
sense of "badness".*
You can accept the guilt-programming in your
personality if you want life-long misery, but
it seems insane to believe that a thought or
action could leave a moral taint on consciousness.
In fact, anything but a perception of your unconditional
innocence – in the present moment of consciousness
– leads to insanity.
Unfortunately, the socially-programmed personality
rejects this perspective as "immoral".
In other words, it can’t escape its evaluation
of its own guilt: it judges rejection of guilt
as the ultimate guilty act.
Guilt originally developed as a “religious”
social-control mechanism, used for keeping the
slaves and peasants in line. We can do without
it.** But, I hear someone asking, how
will people stop doing bad things if they don’t
feel guilty? Guilt probably never stopped
anyone doing “bad” things. Intelligence, compassion
and democratic laws seem better candidates for
But, but...?! I know, it’s blasphemous,
irresponsible, dangerous, etc, to think in this
way, and God will strike you down for it. Or
at least that appears to be the belief of the
“guilty” and the insane. This article isn’t
a licence to be stupid and callous, but a
licence to stop being guilty; to undo the social
fiction of guilt; to wake up from your socially-programmed
guilt-trance and feel the serene invulnerability
of your innocence.
Your innocence cannot fail
Another way to undo guilt is to stop projecting
it. We all follow destructive social programming
to different degrees, occasionally leading to
tragic consequences and large-scale suffering.
To regard people “out there” as the guilty parties
will only keep you enslaved to your own
guilt (since it reflects your decision to accept
guilt as an absolute reality). Better to innocently
unravel and expose the faulty social programming.
So entrenched is the guilt system, that it
will take more than one moment of sanity to
undo its effects. The guilt will return – as
will the projection of guilt. But every moment
of remembered innocence weakens the guilt system
and reduces its insane consequences.