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Alan Watts said you should never feel guilty. I couldn't disagree more.

"You're trying to make me feel guilty." Is an absurd sentence. If I feel guilt and I look into it and it is invalid, it is easily dismissed.

"You're trying to make me feel guilty," is often a defense of someone who feels guilty already, and you've simply trodden too close to an inconvenient or uncomfortable truth, often accidentally or inadvertently, and that's why such sentences can seem to not make so much sense from those who shout them unexpectedly.

The things I felt guilty for have been signals for behavior that is unacceptable in myself and that I must change. It's non negotiable change.

This can be confused with living in shame for a year, or year after year, decade after decade subsequent to the guilt, which is certainly of no value.

When I feel guilty, that is a signal that I'm not being entirely honest with myself. Whether consciously or subconsciously, if I have actually ignorantly transgressed in a way of which I am not yet aware, there's something more here, and it shouldn't be dismissed or swept under the road.

Now, in some socially constructed contexts, guilt is again often conflated with shame. "If you do a job for the sole purpose of making money you are absurd." Now, on this point universal agreement. Peer pressure and societal hierarchies can indeed induce both guilt and shame around who is "pulling their own weight," and who isn't.

The movie Parasite does a magnificent job of looking at this, in terms of who are the parasitic elements of society, really? The rich or the poor? Or is there a vastly more nuanced understanding of the abundance that provides for all of us that obviates the need for this finger pointing in any directions whatsoever?

Wouldn't that be something?

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