In a Sorry State

“Guilt trip” is a phrase of the 1960s counter-culture that went mainstream as part of the psychobabble of the 1970s.  Trip originally meant a hallucination, since the “tripping” on which this metaphor is based was “tripping” on psychedelic drugs.  Hallucinations of guilt were said to result from ingestion of the false rules of the obsolete “bourgeois morality.”  Thus, for instance, if a square remonstrated with a dude that it was not cool to seduce his girlfriend’s best friend with the aid of his girlfriend’s stash of reefer, the dude would dismiss the square’s scruples as a risible attempt to send him on a hallucinatory “guilt trip.”

Obviously, the concept of the guilt trip could only arise in the context of a general moral revolution, since it justifies repudiation of the dominant morality by a counter-culture. The lineage of the concept goes back to the Marxist notion of false consciousness, since to be taken in by the hallucination of a guilt trip is precisely equivalent to being taken in by the false consciousness of an ideology.

False consciousness makes you consent to exploitation; guilt tripping makes you consent to repression.

The concept also has obvious links to Freud’s theory of the superego and repression.  Without going into too much detail, Freud taught that guilt originates as an indefinite psychic uneasiness. He said that this “guilt feeling” is caused by renunciation or frustration of a man’s instinctual drives, with the result that a sort of pressure develops in his psyche.  This pressure can be reduced by a more permissive morality, but it can never be altogether eliminated, and so must be accepted as a natural byproduct of human existence.

Notice how Freud turned traditional morality on its head.  He tells us that guilt does not arise from the evil deeds we do, but rather from the “evil” deeds that we naturally wish to do, and yet do not do. This is Freud’s reality.  But over this reality, Freud says there is always the culturally-constructed appearance that guilt is caused by “evil” deeds that are done.

This appearance is a guilt trip that constructs the natural byproduct we call guilt into a useful instrument of social control.

On Freudianism, every man naturally feels bad because his sex drive and bloodlust are unsatisfied. Society can adjust this guilt feeling by demanding greater or fewer renunciations from him, and it can also put this guilt feeling to work by associating it with deeds the society hopes to proscribe as evil. Since no deed really causes the guilt feeling, it follows that any deed can be made to appear as the cause of the guilt feeling.

The only question for a society is which deeds to poison with this powerful disincentive.  The only question is which guilt trip is the man going to take!

Guilt is, thus, a strategic natural resource. Wars are fought over guilt and with guilt.  Anyone who has eyes to see must understand that the postmodern humanities are essentially programs in guilt engineering, technology and management, their whole purpose being to perfect and maintain the postmodern guilt trip of racism, sexism, homophobia and climate-change skepticism.

On Freudianism, there is also what we might call an economy of guilt, for guilt is a natural resource that must be manufactured into something.  This is why the new social guilt trips are most fully developed in populations where the old sexual guilt trips are most fully decayed.  A feminist professor doesn’t need adultery or Sabbath-breaking to explain why she feels bad.  She can explain that unease and foreboding with global warming or white privilege.

But back when she started a life of adultery and Sabbath-breaking, she sure needed global warming and white privilege.

I was not being rhetorical when I wrote that wars are fought over guilt and with guilt.  Our society has a new class of official guilt managers who control the general intensity of our guilt feeling, and who tell us what this feeling means.  Our old guilt managers were trained in seminaries and were called priests.  Our new guilt managers are trained in humanities departments and are called journalists.  But they in either case tell us that we feel bad because we do particular bad deeds.

There is one last thing to note about the Freudian theory of guilt.  A guilt trip interprets the guilt feeling as a dread of punishment for some evil deed, but this dread surrounds the deed and does not merely follow it.  This means that I feel guilty when I merely consider an evil deed, because I even then foresee the punishment that would follow if I did anything more than consider it.  Thus, our guilt managers are able to paint even consideration of evil deeds with a repellant horror.

To wage war with guilt, hostile aliens must take control of a society’s guilt management, and then paint with repellant horror consideration of the deeds that would be necessary for that society to survive.

And this is precisely what globalists do with their guilt trips about nationalism.  There is, of course, no hope for a nation that feels repellant horror when it merely considers itself.

7 thoughts on “In a Sorry State

  1. Pingback: In a Sorry State | Reaction Times

  2. As always, you offer fresh perspectives on questions like this. It always struck me as odd that, the advent of the culture of therapy that vowed to root out guilt was accompanied by a cadre of various ideologues who saw it as their first responsibility to inculcate a sense of guilt in target groups, beginning with “cis-gendered” Caucasian males. Strangely enough, there almost seems to be a tacit cooperation between these two groups: the guilt-denying therapists and the guilt-inducing ideologues. If one pushes back against the guilt inducers (e.g., the Gillette ad that wagged its shaming finger at men), then the inducers double down with accusations that one is “part of the problem.”

    • When I was growing up in the 1970s, all the talk about overcoming guilt and hangups was naturally appealing. But then I saw that new forms of guilt were emerging, just as the old forms went away, and I began to think that eliminating guilt was like stepping on a wrinkle in a warped carpet. Push it down here and it pops up over there. The final, paranoid step, is to see a hidden hand behind all this. Guilt not only has no fixed object, but there is a purpose in the design it fixes on at any given point of time.

      This is more apparent if one is a dissident who is out of step with the zeitgeist. For instance, if one is not disposed to feel guilty about the Crusades.

  3. It is known that Sigmund Freud was a freemason (that is, a satanist), and many of hiw writings were in fact prepared by the lodged to which he belonged.

    That should explain a few things.

  4. Great article. I have been thinking about guilt lately. I mostly wonder whether conscience is nature with nurture or only nurture. What do you think? I think your writing is ambiguous about that.

    “I began to think that eliminating guilt was like stepping on a wrinkle in a warped carpet. Push it down here and it pops up over there.”

    What is the origin of guilt? Does the feminist professor feel guilty because she is adulterous and then rationalizes it into global warming? (so adultery would produce the guilt). Or is it that guilt is completely neutral and the guilt because of adultery and the guilt because of global warming are only learned?

    Maybe if the feminist professor has been raised in a society that sees adultery as good, she would feel good when being adulterous? (Of course, such society does not exist, it is only a mind experiment).

    What do you think?

    • Thanks. The traditional doctrine of guilt is that the human conscience is “hard-wired,” although it does not operate very well in some people and can be deadened by regular violations. I’d guess there is some truth to this, even on strictly secular grounds, since traditional morality tends to improve group fitness, and everyone has personal experience with the rationalization of vice. So I would say that some or all of the psychic unease that we call guilt originates in sin, by which I mean violations of the natural law. We feel bad when we act bad (although we can easily grow hardened). But I see no reason why this psychic unease could not be explained to us in any number of possible ways. If I have a bellyache, the doctor could diagnose it as gas, constipation, a tumor, a psychosomatic complaint, etc. So, I could feel bad in a psychic sense because I’m a bad man in the traditional sense, but our postmodern guilt managers could tell me its because of my white privilege, or something like that. I don’t have to accept the first part of Freud’s theory to accept the second part.

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