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Last Hallowe'en I was The Pope - this is what I learned about guilt
 
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Published: 18 years ago
 
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Last Hallowe'en I was The Pope - this is what I learned about guilt


Last Hallowe'en I was The Pope. The costume was very convincing, and a lot of people approached me as if I were THE POPE! This experience allowed me to see the true depth of human guilt in the general population (of my town in Canada, anyways). The Pope has a tough job. Why? Because ___People Feel Guilty___! I'll say it again: people feel guilty. They feel regret, self-reproach, a feeling of disappointment or distress about something that they wish could be different. These are very nice people, but they want the Pope to forgive them.

I spent the entire night telling people "Hey, don' worry about it!", but that never satisfied them, they wanted something else, some way to atone for whatever they felt responsible for. So I told them to buy me a drink to pay for their sins. It worked. Normally the Pope gives them some spiritual "work", like a bunch of hail Mary's or whatever.

The point is, you have to give your head a shake and realize that everybody with a normal sense of conscience feels the same thing you feel, and often it is just a free-floating sense of guilt, with no anchor or reference. Maybe this kind of guilt is just part and parcel of being a human with a conscience. We have an instinct to guilt, and in the abscence of a good reason to feel guilty, we have to rummage around in past lifetimes for something to feel guilty about.

Just be happy you aren't a sociopath, who generally has a lot of real reasons to feel guilty in this life, but doesn't.

 

 
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