Antique Handcuffs – flickr creative commons

I have been thinking a lot about this lately: this country has one big, gigantic, humongous guilt complex and shame complex. People in this country and culture feel guilt over nearly everything they do.

And most especially what they enjoy doing. Rarely well you see those who engage in practices they enjoy come out and say they do them simply because they enjoy doing them. Whether its sex, drinking, smoking, drugs, sports, walking, running or what not. They always have to have some cock-a-mamie justification or excuse.  We feel guilty about the house we live in, car we drive, job we have. We are made to feel guilt about being sick or getting old, as if we had anything to do with it.

We even feel guilty about the wars we rage. That’s why our foreign policy makes no damn sense. About the only thing we DON’T feel guilty about is making money and it’s those at the top who least likely to feel guilty about it.

Not only do we go to great lengths to make others feel guilty about what they are doing, we make laws that will still allow us to engage in those things we enjoy but bury our guilty feelings. Especially the religious right, who seem to believe it’s their God-given duty to do so. Yet they seem to believe that being so damn religious and self-righteous, they have a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card. But consider this, why would one think they need a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card if they did not deep down think that they belonged in jail in the first place?

I smoke because I like it. It feels good. I don’t drink because I don’t like it. Clean, clear and to the point. And honest and I do not feel the least bit guilty.

The hardest thing is to get people to admit what they do and why. I was in group therapy a while back and one person was working on their relationship issues and sexual hang-ups. The therapist asked this person if they masturbated. It took a hell of a lot of prodding the get this person to admit that yes, they did. Now the tuffy — the therapist then asked why? After even more hemming and hawing by the person in question, the therapist got really frustrated and finally said, “You masturbate because you like it. It’s fun.” Believe it or not, the person in question STILL could not admit that that was the primary reason.

It’s this country’s puritan crap background that I think is one of the leading causes for it. From the start we are brainwashed that anything we enjoy doing is therefore bad and sinful and has to be avoided. Even after all these years we still carry around this rotten, horrible baggage. And the religious right goes completely ballistic if we admit we do what what we do because it makes us happy and feel good. About the only people who lack this guilt are Wall Street tycoons, priests and the police. We even work ourselves to death and feel guilty about not working harder.

The Germans — and most Europeans — drink hard, and smoke hard and relax but do not feel guilty about it. And yet they are healthier than us and live longer.

We are killing ourselves not by what we do but how we do it and how we feel about, which leads to over eating, over drinking and other obsessive and compulsive behaviors to feel good. Mostly about those other things we do that we like and make us feel good. WTF?

We need to give up guilt because one of the best ways for those in power to control those who are not is through guilt and shame.