In the first chapter of the Bible, Genesis, it mentions that Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and they realized their nakedness and did not dare to face God and hid from Him. Did Adam and Eve felt guilty for their disobedience or did they feel shame for their nakedness? Guilt and shame has been such closely linked words. Both words express our sorrow in situations or towards people.
However, these two words are different in many aspects. Guilt happens when we feel bad about our actions, while shame is when we feel bad about ourselves. This essay will focus on the topic of guilt and the different types of guilt. Guilt is the fact of having committed a specified offence or crime; or a feeling of having committed wrong or failed in an obligation. (Oxford) There are different types of guilt we experience at difference situations in our life; “essential guilt”, “self-generated guilt” and “borrowed guilt”.
The first kind of guilt is “essential guilt”, which occurs when we disobey commonly acknowledged code of conducts; such as laws created by the government that regulate the society. It is linked to illegal or immoral acts. Such guilt prevents people from breaking rules that keep our society in structure and helps the survival of human race. An example of someone experiencing “essential guilt” is Marmolejo, a 16 years old student who have stabbed his principal, Suzette York, to death (Tenn, 2013). He apologized and pleads guilty after the incident, expressing his repentance for the incident. The essential guilt Marmolejo faced has caused him to make amendments and reform. However, the world have transformed where people are less affected by “essential guilt”. Serial killer, Robert Pickton, who was convicted with six counts of murder and is believed to have caused the death of dozen more, filed statements of defense from the maximum security prison where he is serving life sentence. (Keller, 2014) Despite the finding of the DNA remains of the six female sex workers and 33 other women, Pickton has repeatedly denied responsibility for these killings and gave vague denials and suggested that someone else did it. Lack of “essential guilt” may threaten the survival of mankind, where criminals may commit crimes without any sense of remorse and repeat such acts.
The second kind of guilt is “self-generated guilt”, such guilt are imposed by ourselves by our own expectations that we have. Things such as self-imposed deadlines may cause this form of guilt, where we set a deadline for us to complete our work and feel guilt when we overshot the deadline. It may also be caused by incidences where we impose blame...