Feelings of Guilt Make you Feel Guilty
There’s been a study conducted that posits the theory that, “Feelings of guilt are a direct threat to one’s sense that they are a moral person and, accordingly, research on guilt ﬁnds that this emotion elicits strategies aimed at alleviating guilt that do not always involve undoing one’s actions.” This isn’t really anything new. In my opinion it’s the basis for quite a great deal of the mental disorders on the books. It’s my opinion that mental disorders are caused when something is “missing” in a person’s life and they fill that spot with something else. For example, using a Freudian example, someone may have grown up without a father or with a cold and distant father. Because of that they are missing the spot in their psyche that would have been filled with the normal affection and guidance associated with that relationship in a healthy state. They grow up and attempt to fill this hole with other relationships in an attempt to provide for themselves what was missing. Since they may not know this is what they are doing, or since the thing desired may actually be impossible to achieve they engage in a series of behaviors that will never actually succeed in giving them what they want. Healthy individuals succeed in coming to terms with what they will never have or manage somehow to fill the fractured gestalt in a way that satisfies the need.
Virtue Signaling as a Means to Reduce Guilt
Now days we call this phenomenon “virtue signaling”. That’s a great name actually. It’s just what it sounds like. The individual demonstrates support for a cause as a way to show their own virtue and goodness to others. “Look at me! I’m kind, loving, caring, empathetic, understanding!” Those should all be familiar words by now when taken in context of leftists and millennials. The study found something very interesting, “The more guilt over one’s own potential complicity, the more desire ‘to punish a third-party through increased moral outrage at that target.'” This is saying that when you hear a young white college student yelling at another white college student to “check your privilege” it means they actually feel guilty for their position in life. The story uses the example of someone who goes on a crusade against sweatshops because they feel guilty for buying clothes made in one.
What this does, according to the study (and in my experience) is reduce the individual’s guilt. They shout, they organize, they convince others. Upon doing so they can then feel secure in the knowledge that they have “done” something. A problem exists in the world and they have stood up and shouted against it. Never mind that they didn’t actually change anything, they did their part.
This is also true, this guilt reduction, if the thing being done and the thing they feel guilty for are not the same things. They feel guilty for cheating on their exam then go out and protest against building a wall on the border and they feel better. They did something and so they are good folks after all. Sure, they are a cheat but they will tell everyone how bad cultural appropriation is. Now they don’t feel so bad about themselves.
Now, here’s the important bit: in so doing, this allows them to continue with the behavior for which they feel guilty. Starting with a fresh canvass they are able to paint on it some more. Think about climate change for a moment and apply what you hear there to the psychology presented in this study. Carbon credits anyone?
The Guilty Gather
Birds of a feather they say, flock together, and so do people who share a feeling of guilt and can’t find a healthy and productive way to address it. While this helps them feel better, misery loves company after all, it doesn’t actually address the underlying reason for their guilt or what’s missing in their life. While protesting may be therapeutic it’s not therapy. It’s not a goal oriented and directed method for actually solving what is really bothering them. But gathering creates a protective barrier that pushes the anger, hatred, and guilt backwards. As much as they shout out to others it produces no satisfying results. Think of the actual sound wave of their voice.
When a sound wave hits an object it bounces and returns to the sender. You’ve heard the expression, “it’s like talking to a brick wall” and in this case it is. The virtue signaler shouts how bad you are and what a terrible person you are. Sending this out assuages their guilt. However, you, like a brick wall, don’t care. You don’t agree. You don’t have the same guilt as they do so you have nothing to compensate for. Either because you aren’t guilty or because you don’t feel guilty, either way, the result is the same, you do nothing. You don’t change and you don’t join. When you stand as that solid brick wall, secure in your own attitudes, the guilt they are trying to get rid of bounces right back at them. They are doing all this to feel better about themselves and if the guilt returns or if the wall suggests perhaps they aren’t even shouting a valid concern, well, that certainly comes back hard against them. Their guilt becomes frustration and frustration is one of the most powerful human emotions. That quickly turns to anger and rage and hatred. For what reason? Because they feel guilty for something. Because they are seeking for meaning in their life to fill a void they may not even know exists.
This is an old idea. If you want to discover what someone does in the name of guilt just ask someone who believes we are responsible for Adam’s original sin and spends a lifetime trying to make up for it. To them man is born guilty. It’s an unearned guilt that they accept as their own anyway. So to the leftist who takes the guilt of the past (slavery, colonialism, war) on their shoulders even though they weren’t even alive at the time. No wonder they are frustrated.
Leftism is a Mental Illness
Yes, I said it. Though I don’t actually mean it literally. What I’m indicating by that trite and, admittedly incorrect phrase, is that leftism is a symptom of mental illness. In 2012 a study was published that stated conservatives were prone to being psychotic. The left jumped on it and newspapers sited it. There was one problem, they were siting it wrong. “The American Journal of Political Science published a correction this year saying that the 2012 paper has “an error” — and that liberal political beliefs, not conservative ones, are actually linked to psychoticism.” (New York Post)
Listening to people like Rosie O’Donnell is this really a surprise to anyone? Seeing people dress as vaginas or take off their tops and paint words across their body, is that a surprise? Seeing people beaten because they support Trump, things lit on fire, neighborhoods burned, Pelosi lead singing time, Obama standing in front of Greek columns like some god in a temple, snarky and puffy college girls saying they didn’t see a thing when someone is assaulted right in front of them with a sick grin on their face, Bernie Sanders calling things free that aren’t, and rights that aren’t, abortion being celebrated, teachers calling for muscle, and genders galore, is it any surprise these people suffer from a mental illness?
There is actually no evidence about Russia. None. There’s not even really a charge if you think about it. The media keeps saying “Russia, Russia, Russia” but they haven’t actually stated what Russia did. She talks about evidence. There isn’t any. When people see evidence where none exists that means something, they are delusional. Is there any difference between Rosie and her “evidence” and the schizophrenic on the street talking about how the aliens have implanted a device in him so they can monitor him? Not much of a difference. They are both making up realities.
This is why subjective thinking is so important to the left. If reality exists, if it is what it is, then they must admit that it isn’t what they want it to be. If reality exists they have to understand the hard truth of life that the rest of us accept everyday, if reality exists – you must face it. They do all they do so that they don’t have to face reality. Leftism is a coping mechanism designed to excuse them from life.
Jokers to the Left of me, Jokers to the Right and Here I Am…
The right has its share of this as well. It’s just that on the right it tends to be easier to detect. That’s because the brand of hate on the right tends to be wrapped in hate. The hate on the left is wrapped in love. When the hate produced by mental illness is about being a racist, accepting Nazi ideas, or KKK ideas, it’s easy for us to recognize it as lunacy. The right is just as prone to mental illness but in my opinion the causation is different. Rather than stemming from guilt it stems from a buried feeling of inadequacy and helplessness.
Not Everyone is Crazy
Okay, maybe everyone is just a little crazy. We all have issues to deal with on one level or the other if we are honest in our self assessments. If left to my own devices I fear I would be a rather lazy addict of Netflix and would consume mostly pastries for sustenance. However, because I am aware of this, I am able to confront it. That’s how most people are. They are able to be honest with themselves and engage in self-improvement.
When I talk about the insanity on the left and right I’m not using this to dismiss anyone. I’m not saying that anyone I don’t agree with or who doesn’t agree with me is insane. There are people who honestly think paying for everyone’s healthcare is a good idea. They find it hard to understand how that could be a bad thing. These people can understand through reason they just need to stop and think about it. A few questions can draw out their thinking. They may not become instant converts, few ever do that. My current thinking took years to arrive at and is still being refined. No, not everyone who thinks a strong federal government is good is insane. But the loudest ones are, the violent ones are, the militant ones are.
What to Do
Probably the notion that these people suffer from a mental disorder isn’t really news to you, or at least isn’t a great surprise. We tend to know from our observation of a person’s behavior. You’ve seen enough of it to recognize it and there’s a natural human instinct that triggers your flight response. They are naturally repulsive. They seem to be the loudest voices though. There comes a point where the normal people can’t be heard.
What do we do?
Some therapists, also shocked by Trump’s victory, have decided the thing to do is confirm their patient’s fears and echo them. This of course violates their ethics and is likely to harm the patient. They won’t think there is anything wrong with them if the therapist is sitting across from them telling them they feel the same way. Therapists, you see, can also suffer from mental illness. “A number of surveys, conducted by Guy and others, reveal some worrisome statistics about therapists’ lives and well-being. At least three out of four therapists have experienced major distress within the past three years…” (Psychology Today) That really is a case of the fox guarding the hen-house!
What do we do?
We can’t cure them, their therapists are joining them, they are getting louder and more unhinged the more reality creeps in on them. It puts the sane among us in a quandary.
- Admit they have a problem – If you question the validity of what I’m saying think about what you have seen from the left. Not just recently, but throughout history. Socialism has always lead to horrible things. The kind of things only a sociopath can justify.
- Admit you can’t change them – This is tough with any mental illness. We want so much to help. To be the white knight that rides in and “fixes” all their problems. But you don’t even know what their real problem is. The woman wearing a vagina on her head likely has some deep issues she hasn’t come to terms with yet. You aren’t going to that for her.
- Admit that they are worthy of love – I realize to some that might sound trite, or even too difficult to manage considering what this group has put the country through but if they feel bad and guilty and are trying to assuage that guilt, help them do it. But instead of destructive methods, do it though showing them they have nothing to feel guilty for and that whatever they are carrying around they are still worth caring about. I suggest if you don’t feel they are worthy of love that you have an issue of your own.
- Admit that they have a right to be insane – That’s a tough one as well. As long as they aren’t actively taking away your rights, don’t actively take away theirs either. Liberty is founded on rights. Letting them be (in terms of rights) will also give them one less reason to get angry and frustrated.
- Admit we’ll have to leave them behind – What I mean by that: we will have to move forward, as the adults, as the sane ones, with the things that have to get done. How do we know we are right and not insane? We don’t try to control everyone and everything but rather allow for liberty. If you are always thinking about what rights people have and not violating them it’s hard to go wrong. If they don’t want to be a part of that, then do it without them. Let them stand in the rain and rant and let them have their psychosis.
I’m sure you can think of some other avenues to deal with the issue of crazy leftists and crazy right wingers and maybe don’t agree with my suggestions, and meager they are. But I hope that you at least are able to objectively see the behavior on display and, if not admit it’s a symptom of mental illness, at least see it and say, “something’s wrong with that person.”
That leads me to the most important thing we can do, we can recognize that there is such a thing as “normal” and give that word back the meaning it once had. We can only know the abnormal when we know the normal. Regardless – buckle up butter cup – we’re in for a bumpy ride.
Getting outraged on others’ behalf often isn’t about altruism but soothing personal guilt and asserting one’s status as a good person.