Guilt is a feeling we all know too well. It can come from a range of situations, like something we said to a friend that we regret or a mistake we made at work. It can be all-consuming and leave us feeling like we’ve failed our own moral code. But what if I told you that sometimes, guilt is just plain boring?
We’ve all thought about what we would do if we could travel back in time and change things we regret. But even if we could, it wouldn’t necessarily make our guilt disappear. Memories of our old actions would still be there, and we’d still feel the same way about them. We are trapped in a conundrum that our past that we wanted to change, is our future. So instead of worrying about what we can’t change, we need to focus on the real present and real future–at least until we discovered a time machine that works.
Behavioral biologist Robert Sapolsky says that our actions are influenced by more than just our conscious decisions. Our biology, environment, genetics, and past experiences all play a role in how we behave. That means it’s not always fair to hold people entirely responsible for their actions. We need to look at the bigger picture and think about what led them to act in a certain way. It could be their lack of sleep, their hunger, their dinner before, their hormones, even their genes. There is a possiblity that a tantrum is caused by one of our ancestors who was eating a wrong mushroom.
This is why punishment doesn’t always work. Instead of punishing people for what they did, we need to help them understand why they did it in the first place. By addressing the root causes of their behavior, we can work towards rehabilitation and positive change. This could include therapy, education, or support groups. Of course this only happens in a developed European country. Not many people can accept that human actually an animal that does not have that much control of their actions. There is this illusion of free will, always haunting as a hope or curse on the corner of our mind.
In the end, it’s important to recognize that guilt isn’t always the most interesting or useful emotion. We can’t change the past, but we can focus on the present and future to create a better outcome. By taking a more nuanced and compassionate approach to behavior, we can work towards a healthier and happier society. Or not. This is just me having guilt free.
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