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On Guilt
by Melissa Oringer
(c) Melissa Oringer, 1997-2000, All rights reserved

Bragi wrote:
>Maybe we should all talk about this anger, give it some context
>within our own unique Pagan paradigm. Turn rants into reason
>or invectives into inspiration, so to speak. Hope this makes
>some sense.

Hmmm... perhaps anger and frustration is generated when the collective we that is humanity commits acts of stupidity, horror or out and out madness. The individual feels shame and guilt for being of this collective, and anger at the people who have made them guilty by association. It inspires a person to split themselves into an "us-them" approach and to view their own self as an enemy.

Underlying it is an encroaching hopelessness, the feeling an individual cannot truly influence the collective that is humanity coupled with a sense of fear and helplessness. So the anger and frustration and grief may channel in other directions, like blame and hate. And the split between identities (us-them) increases.

My brother likes to point out that guilt is useless and I agree. It's a self-perpetuating syndrome that leads to stasis or shifting of blame. To me, it's ultimately impossible to divorce myself from the rest of humanity - I *am* "them". And we do some really awful things sometimes because the awareness of us-them is habitual and necessary for our current state of interaction. I also believe that blame is useless. Grieve, then go on.

The reverse is to absorb the truly incredible, beautiful, amazing and hilarious things the we that is humanity do. Hope is probably the single most difficult thing to kill and in some ways it is the root of magick. Hope, embedded in the core, the truth that I embody as Ma'at.

Ultimately, I feel that our (humanity's) function is to be the mind of the planet which is seeking to know itself. We spend our lives learning, studying, observing, creating, exploring - busy, busy, busy, mapping out everything our senses can reach. In the process, we learn our limits and we learn how to get around these limitations to go still further without killing ourselves.

Overall, I like us pretty well. :) When I feel that sort of oh-boy-we're-in-trouble-we-have-to-do-something-NOW feeling, it's that affection that ultimately gets me back into perspective and into a place where I'm useful again.

Laughter and music,
-M

(c) Melissa Oringer, 1997-2000, All rights reserved


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