Monday, May 24, 2010

Guilt is a Useful Emotion

At one time or another we've all experienced that sick feeling known as 'guilt'.  Guilt may be a negative emotion but feeling guilt can have positive results.  Feeling guilt stops us from doing things that are harmful to us, or at least, stops us from doing them again.  But rather than embracing the positive effects of guilt society tries to eliminate guilt.  We've been told "if it feels good do it and if it doesn't feel good do it anyway."

Over at The Corner, Denis Boyles writes:

Maggie Gallagher's question, "If we had truly separated sex from reproduction, why would we need abortion?" begs another.

Many years ago, I was a contributing editor at Playboy, giving it up when my pretty, new, blonde wife insisted on giving me nothing but daughters, and I found I couldn't leave my work laying around the house. I remember chatting one afternoon with an editor who had been at the place for a long time. "We thought we were doing something noble when we helped separate sex from guilt," he said. "But then we realized that we'd helped separate sex from responsibility." Not so noble, of course. I think this may overstate Playboy's influence, but not the Pill's. (emphasis added)
Have we really separated sex from guilt?  Not judging from the women I know.  They often don't call what they feel guilt but regardless, the result is the same.

If two consenting adults can't have sex without at least one of them feeling that they might be doing something wrong maybe the relationship, or lack thereof, should be rethought.  The pill may have separated sex from responsibility but not from consequences.  And that is where guilt can come in very handy.

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