People raised as strict Catholics talk about “Catholic Guilt”. It’s the same with Jews. However, if you probe deeper, you find it’s true with most people.
Atheists raised by leftist Democrats in Manhattan or San Francisco have it too. They’re taught to feel guilty for having too much compared to people who have less. I call that one Marxist guilt, or leftist progressive guilt. After all, leftism is a “religion” of sorts, too.
What’s the common denominator? Unearned guilt. Some Catholics and Jews have it more than others, and a few manage to escape unearned guilt. Being atheistic or agnostic does not immunize you from it, because atheists and agnostics generally subscribe to a religion of government, environmentalism and wealth redistribution.
Unearned guilt means feeling guilty for something you did not cause, and that it’s not your responsibility to fix.
It doesn’t matter whether the things you feel guilty about are related to family issues or the state of the planet. It doesn’t matter whether you feel guilty for using life-enhancing carbons to survive and thrive, or whether you feel guilty for failing to say your Rosary or for eating a pork BBQ sandwich.
It’s all the same thing.
Unearned guilt is the worst neurosis there is, in my view. And it afflicts nearly everyone — leaving aside narcissists and sociopaths — unless they take steps to correct it. Therapy? Sure. But only if therapy is based on the right idea.
The right idea is that your life is your own, that it’s an end in itself. Your only responsibility is to yourself, to enjoy and develop your talents in a way that serves your own interests and the interests of anyone you love.
Rest assured the world will take care of — or not take care of — itself. Stop feeling guilty for it all.
The world will be better off if you develop the talents that most of us have and don’t get time to fully develop for the limited span of our lives. Pursue it all guiltlessly.
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