Don't count on guilt

When someone does something "wrong" like cheating or lying, he/she always feels guilty and confesses to it - at least that's what happens on TV.

As always, reality is far from what we watch on TV. Not everyone feels guilty. E.g. Many people feel that cheating on one's partner is wrong while other feel that there's nothing wrong with it and don't feel guilty about doing it.

On TV, guilt eats people up on the inside and they feel that they must confess.
The other reality is: not everyone confesses when questioned.

Society and religious teachings try to create this thing called guilt in us to discourage us from doing the "wrong" things but it doesn't work on everyone.

A woman, Suzuka Hatakeyama, was convicted for murdering a 7-year-old schoolboy. She admitted to it. Now, you would think that she felt some guilt and remorse, wouldn't you? But she said, "The Yoneyamas still have two children. I don't know why the parents are angry." There are other murderers who show no guilt for what they have done. There was one (whose name I can't recall) who even said that we all have to die someday anyway! Such people are called psychopaths but in between "normal" people who feel guilt about doing "wrong" things and psychopaths who feel no guilt, others exist. Among the "normal" people, definitions of "wrong" and "right" varies. Definitions of "wrong" and "right" change with time and situation, e.g. during a war is it wrong to kill an enemy soldier who breaks into your home?

Perhaps some thing are "wrong" but we lie to ourselves and one another that those deeds are justifiable. Or perhaps some things are not "wrong" at all but certain groups of people argue and managed to convince most people that the deeds are "wrong". Whatever it is, don't count on guilt to right wrongs or to get the truth because sometimes guilt simply doesn't exist.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree!
Even thought many people choose to believe guilt exist, and i do experience guilt, life experience have thought me, there are just some really evil people out there.

David said...


This provacative post should create many comments.

You are correct on most every point. But some need further examination in an attempt to get to reason that some people carry out horrible actions without guilt.

Indeed many are psychopaths and also sociopaths.

These are defined further-

Antisocial Personality Disorder is also known as psychopathy or

Individuals with this disorder have little regard for the
feeling and welfare of others. As a clinical diagnosis it is usually
limited to those over age 18. It can be diagnosed in younger people
if the they commit isolated antisocial acts and do not show signs of
another mental disorder.

Antisocial Personality Disorder is chronic, beginning in adolescence
and continuing throughout adulthood. There are ten general

Not learning from experience

No sense of responsibility

Inability to form meaningful relationships

Inability to control impulses

Lack of moral sense

Chronically antisocial behavior

No change in behavior after punishment

emotional immaturity

Lack of guilt


One of the major differences between a Psychopath vs sociopath,
Psychopaths appear normal in their social relationships. Sociopaths are unable to maintain normal relationships.

Read more: Psychopath vs Sociopath - Difference and Comparison | Diffen

For such individuals they only wrong they will admit to is being caught. Socio/psychopaths rarely feel remorse or guilt as they live in a world with no sense or morality save their own.

Mass murders, rapist, and pedophiles often have most if not all the traits described above.

Many who can emotionally or physically abuse another are boderline members of this group of misfits.

Your sagacious thoughts will be appreciated!


It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.

-- Ursula LeGuin

boh.tak.chek. said...

can't count on people having conscience these days. The 包青天 era is over. The mantra for today's state is " You can do anything you want, but don't get caught"

Zen said...

I choose to believe that morals are subjective. It's just doing what the majority do even though to some, it might be considered wrong. Who's to say what's right and wrong. What makes us wrong?

How about us having the death penalty while other countries condemn this? To us, it might be the right way to deal with offenders but to others, they do not think it's our right to take lives away no matter how sinned the person is.

There has been a recent debate going on in the US, about how they are always thinking that their views and actions are superior to other countries and will always enforce their beliefs onto others. Some US citizens question themselves if they should start to respect practices of other cultures.


David said...


IOW you believe in sitional ethics?

BTW, in the United States, individual States decide whether to have death penalty. I live in Michigan and there is no death penalty. For severe offenders there is life imprisonment without parole.

Approximatley half of the States have a death penalty.

Even here the death penalty is a topic with many POVs.

In terms of right an wrong do you see shades of gray? That is in one situation an action might be morally unacceptable and in a different situation the same action would be acceptable?

Morals might appear subjective, however morals do not just appear out of thin air.

Some parts of the world, despite international laws to the contrary, still allow one human to enslave another.

In both SG and the States one can read about ethnic and racial discrimination despite decades of efforts to educate people that being different is normal, and that in fact all human's have more in common than not common.


The art of love... is largely the art of persistence.

-- Albert Ellis

Yu-Kym said...

Anon, the more I read about psychology (such as information in David's comments), the more convinced I am that some people are "wired" differently. We are not born as clean slates to be programmed by the environment. Some people are just born that way.

David, thanks for the information about the psychological disorders.

boh.tak.chek., somehow I believe that what goes around comes around. Even with little things like recycling and wastage affects me ultimately and the whole balance of life.

Zen, I agree that what's right and what's wrong is not fixed. In fact, even if everyone thinks something is right - it doesn't make it right.

For my views on the death penalty, see this post: