Guilt may be good or bad or both or neither. I’m often of the opinion that it’s good, at least my own personal guilt. Maybe its a punitive fascination. I know I’ve done something bad so feeling bad about that something serves as punishment. But this is not ideal. The something disappears into the consequent feeling of guilt. Alternatively, guilt may be more practical. The bad feeling that follows some unsavoury action moves the offender to focus on their offence and attend to any damage they have done.
But I’m here especially interested in the feeling divorced from any restorative action. Part of the problem is to call feeling guilty about something and not doing anything about it a problem. If I’m guilty and become fearful of attempting amends then I develop a second order guilt: Guilt for feeling guilty. The offender indulges in the feeling of guilt to punish their self for their actions, but, then, realising the selfish orientation of their guilt, plunges into more guilt and inaction.
Of course, action which has been lost in the process of guilt can be recovered at the point of realising this, but it requires a decisive break with the current cycle of accumulative guilt. The problem with this is that an offender familiar with their selfishness cannot source their subsequent action from the hurt of the offended; it inevitably rises out of a response to inner self-oriented guilt.
Well! I haven’t written anything so dark and existential for a while. Enjoy! Perspective matters. I’m probably completely wrong so let me know!