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Author Topic: Why do humans feel guilt?  (Read 1183 times)

Offline Pseudoscience-is-malarkey

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Why do humans feel guilt?
« on: 27/04/2016 00:21:35 »
Humans are the only known specie to feel guilt. Why is this? It is not necessary for our survival at all. It is good in that it keeps most of us from purposely doing bad to others, BUT it gives us bad feelings and causes many of us to drink, use drugs and other things bad for us.


 

Offline evan_au

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Re: Why do humans feel guilt?
« Reply #1 on: 27/04/2016 22:23:04 »
Quote from: Pseudoscience-is-malarkey
Humans are the only known specie to feel guilt. Why is this?
Because we hardly know what it is in humans.
We would really struggle to measure it in other species.

Probably relevant is an excerpt from "Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?"  by Frans de Waal.
 

Offline Atomic-S

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Re: Why do humans feel guilt?
« Reply #2 on: 01/05/2016 07:30:11 »
The phenomenon of guilt is, I opine, another exhibition in the way human intelligence is superior (in most respects) to that of other species. Other species, whatever their unique abilities we may not possess, don't have the capacity to contemplate issues at the philosophical depth that would judge certain of their behaviors or characteristics to be inconsistent with what ought to be expected of them.
 

Online puppypower

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Re: Why do humans feel guilt?
« Reply #3 on: 01/05/2016 13:37:01 »
Guilt causes one to extrapolate the impact of our actions, before and/or after we act. An animal will act on instinct; impulse, without thinking about the impact of its actions. This is fine for an animal because its instincts are natural and the product of eons of natural selection. It actions have been optimized by nature, so there is no guilt for or when acting.

Humans have free will and choice, therefore our actions can be subjective and unnatural, and therefore may not be based on any natural utility. Guilt is a way to help humans differentiate natural from unnatural actions, so we can evolve free will and make free will  subject to natural selection. For example, humans can use free will to invent and extrapolate nature; farming. Guilt is there to weigh the impact of this free will action, to make sure it is part of natural selection; farming that blends with nature.

The next part is from religion but is relevant to the discussion of the history of guilt.

In Christian tradition, Jesus was a sacrifice for sin. The sacrifice for sin, meant one was no longer under law and sin, but under faith. Law restricts behavior; restricts free will, whereas faith allows more freedom for free will. Faith allows one to depend on their own inner voice more than the outer voice of law. The forgiveness of sins meant it was OK to practice free will, because even if you make mistakes, that are against the laws of man, there was no sin.

An analogous example is a musician. He/she might practice free will, and form a new genre of music. This music comes from inside him/her. Nobody taught them this new style, from the outside. It came from the inner man/woman. The law would be analogous to the cultural traditions of music, which may only allow certain acceptable styles of music; music PC.  It would be a cultural sin, to change the traditions, by adding this new music style. In someone tries to change the traditions, the purist will try to create hell on earth as punishment for their sin; protect and boycott. Forgiveness of sin meant, it was OK to practice this free will; creative, because one was under faith and not law. Forgiveness of sin made it easier to try, and gave one the faith to endure. 

One problem that the forgiveness of sins created, was guilt began to multiply. Even though forming a new style of music was sinless, it can still cause guilt, because one is doing something that culture and law deem is wrong. With law one will never get this far before you need to abort But with forgiveness of sin, one can go very far until the backlash is stronger. The backlash this can create, even if irrational, can make you feel guilt; empathy for others.

This extrapolation of guilt can inhibit people from practicing their free will or taking it to the limit. They will think, if I follow my inner voice with faith, even if done with good intent, it can place me against cultural law, traditions and expectations. Guilt causes one to take a step back, to make sure intensions are honorable, or whether your intensions are subjective, ego-centric, or just plain  dishonorable.

Speculation;

Although the following is not taught in traditional Judeo-Christian religion, symbolic evidence suggests there will be a guilt sacrifice, much like there was a sacrifice for sin. Just as the sacrifice for sin made provision for free will; faith in the inner voice versus the outer voice of law, the sacrifice for guilt will legitimize both natural and unnatural free will. Without guilt to weight actions before and after, and no sin for acting, after the guilt sacrifice people will follow impulse without thinking. The result will be a polarization of behavior.

Within the polarization of behavior caused by free will (sinless) and no guilt (guiltless), two types of people will differentiate. There will be those who represent natural selection, and those who represent unnatural selection. The darkness of unnatural selection, which is more diverse, will dominate. This is symbolized by the latter days, where world chaos organized due to lack of sin and guilt, with humans almost exterminating itself. Within in the darkness, as small light of natural will appear.

This will not be about good and evil, or guilt, since both have sacrifices. Rather is will be about a natural process driven by the inner voice in all of humanity; those who have faith to the end will be saved. It is driven by evolution; neutral.
 

Online puppypower

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Re: Why do humans feel guilt?
« Reply #4 on: 03/05/2016 13:10:54 »
The foundation of guilt is connected to law. Law is a unique type of memory. Being unique it is treated differently by our animal brain. When memory is created, aspects of the limbic system, in the core of the brain, will assign an emotional valence to the memory, when writing the memory to the cerebral matter.

For example, if an animal eats a new object and it is good or bad for them, the brain will assign a positive or negative feeling to the memory. The next time they see the object, the feeling is triggered. This feeling speeds up the process of assessing the object for action.  If it is good they eat and if bad they avoid.

In terms of humans, our strongest memories will have the strongest emotional valence attached to them. These memories could be connected to graduation, marriage, birth of a child or even something negative like an accident. The strength of the emotional valence  defines the memory priority, which may be different for each of us, in terms of the same event. Traumatic events can have such a high emotional priority these become hard to ignore. This can cause people to dwell on them. For other glory days can have such a strong feelings, they like to dwell there.

Law memories are unique, in that they are a binary memory, at the level of emotional valance assignment. To know a law, such as thou shall not kill, we need to know both the good and bad behavior and the consequences of each; carrot and stick. The result is the brain will assign two emotional valances to law; good and evil. Because of the practical instinctive conflict between polarized emotions, the brain will store law memories, as two separate, but connected memories; good and evil emotions.

In other words, if the animal saw the food object and felt the object was good and bad at the same time, he would not know what to do. This is wasted motion. The brain solves this problem by separating the law memory into two separate memories, so one can act based on which is conscious. Today they may eat and tomorrow avoid it.

Without law, your brain would assess any situation and assign good or assign evil, depending on the circumstances. Then it would maintain that. Once you learn law, your brain will now need to assign good and evil to the same situation. PC law is a good example. Things that were not bad yesterday are now bad today, so which is correct? The rational person is sort of stuck trying to figure out logic s they can decide which is right. 

Since the emotions are conflicting, the brain resolves this by assigning half of the law in two separate locations. In bible tradition, heaven and hell symbolizes that all the good emotional aspects and all the bad emotional aspects of law are grouped in two places. In one place, the good side of law; righteous, has emotions of happy, love and peace; while the bad side; transgression, is a place full of fear, anger, pain.The main point of this symbolism, was the ancients projected law memory as consolidated into two places  based on emotional valence; good or evil, law.

In tradition, once Adam and Eve eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; law, they became unnatural animals and death appears.  The polarization caused by the binary memories of law; knowledge of good and evil=Law, impacted the natural animal brain in an unnatural way. The reason is, humans tend to be conscious of only emotion at a time; clarity. It is hard to have clarity with conflicting emotions. This means we can only be conscious of one side ay a time, with the other side becoming unconscious. This is where problems begin; compulsions and guilt. 

For example, the self righteous will often see themselves as good. The bad side of the law is repressed because all this evil is not felt to  apply. But since law is both, the dark side is unconscious. One can begin to unconsciously do the very things they complain of as being evil. In the Salem witch trials, a witch was called evil. The unconscious compulsion coming from the repressed side of the law, make the self righteous the Puritans kill. Since they were only conscious of the good, even killing a witch was defined as good. Or a person who is a junkie, who steals and assaults, may nevertheless have a very caring side; unconscious good becomes manifest as he shares with his friends.

Jesus understood this, which is why he became a sacrifice for sin. Sin is not imputed when there is no law. By doing away with sin he also did away with law. The idea was to remove to the polarization of human psyche that is induced by law. Original sin was connected to the original polarization induced by law. Living by faith, returns one toward a single valence memory, instead of the binary state induced by law.

Although this could change the future, humans still had original sin from the past, or we still have memories from the past that create a fountain of polarization. This foundation of polarization was the fear that makes people afraid to remove law. If we remove law, the unconscious dark side of law will begin to act more freely. Guilt comes from this unconscious consolidation of evil memory, which can still act similar to instinct; compulsion.The guilt sacrifice, would be about making this dark side of law conscious, by allowing it to become expressed, so it can runs its course and lower potential; return to single valence of the natural animal memory. 

Quote
As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we preached among you, Silvans and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No; but in him it is always Yes.

In my own experience, working with the unconscious mind, the polarization due to law runs deep. It goes beyond one's own learned knowledge of law from childhood and beyond. It is also interwoven into culture, which itself is built upon history where law reigned. As you dig, you end up going back into time.
 

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Re: Why do humans feel guilt?
« Reply #4 on: 03/05/2016 13:10:54 »

 

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