Ive been finding that I havent answered certain fundamental questions about the way things work. Specifically, how do you react when you realize youve made a mistake?
This is really about guilt. Is guilt ever justified?
Take the following situation for example:
A father tells his child not to eat cookies. The child knows he shouldnt eat cookies but does anyway, and the father finds out. The child knowingly made a mistake. He knowingly did something he knew to be wrong. How should the father react? How should the child react?
Knowingly doing something wrong feels "bad' to me. Something that you dont want to do. Its like you are inconsistent, you are insane. It seems like something to be feared, something to be resisted. If you look at it deeper, knowingly making a mistake is tantamount to saying "yes" to something you know to be false. Believing in something you know not to be true. Its insane. And then there is guilt from having done such a thing. But at times a powerful desire to do something may overcome you and even though you know you shouldnt do something, you do so anyway (take addictions for example). How to react?
Taken from a higher perspective, I dont think its possible to really make a mistake in the first place. Who is making a mistake? The mental idea of "I". I have an idea of myself as a person who doesnt make mistakes, who does what is right. I believe myself to be that--the idea of a person who shouldnt make mistakes. If I make a mistake, that threatens my self image and causes me pain/suffering. But really there is no mistake being made. You act and your actions cause responses. If your actions were out of alignment with the situation and your intended goal was not reached-- that is not a problem, thats the way it is. You acted and produced this response. If I acted on an impulsive emotion and did something I knew to be wrong-- thats not a problem, because thats just what happened, it is how it is. I shouldnt feel good, because I know I am acting foolishly, but there is no guilt because it is just YOU who is responsible for having acted this way and produced this consequence. There is no blaming your "self" or anything because YOU acted the way you DID. It is how it is. The idea of myself as a person who doesnt make mistakes is shown to be illusory. Thats not really who I am. The REALITY of who I AM in this moment is someone who acted on an impulsive emotion and did make a mistake. I DID eat the cookies. To resist that fact is to want reality to be different from how it already is right now. Which is insane.
What do y'all think? Does guilt make any sense when you realize that every moment is how it is and to resist that is insane. If your insane.. should you feel guilty?
2012 is shaping up to be prettyyy crazy so far.
I look at it as first order, second order and third order drives, competing with each other.
The initial tension in life is between first order impulse and second order discipline, and for a child, the frontal cortex of the parent is responsible for constraining the impulses of the child, with greater or lessor intent, with greater or lessor effectiveness.
At some point, the additional tension of third order empathy comes into play.
An effective FWAU quickly dismisses second order slips, and more reluctantly dismisses third order slips, but you shrug your shoulders and accept that you are fundamentally an asshole, and try to do better next time.
You have to keep trying, because regardless of the mental gymnastics you do, feedback on your third order mistakes is inescapable.
I can see myself make a third order error, brace myself for feedback, ride it out, don't paper over the pain with vice...just take it like a man, try harder next time
Eyes forward, not in the rearview mirror
12 step thinking applies to this. The framework for AA apparently was conceived by Jung.