Remorse vs. sense of guilt

Harold

Jedi Council Member
Bud said:
Giray Khan the Brave said:
By the way, if I've inadvertently hijacked this thread I will feel remorse but I won't beat myself up about it ;D
:lol:
I agree with ya'll. I think guilt is an infection put into us to make us obedient, whereas remorse comes from the heart due to inner recognition of some undesirable something about self.

I agree too, this thread is a big help.... I think guilt is useless and that remorse is a true way to deal with ourselves. Guilt is usually an outside infection brought on by someone who wishes to have some control over us.

This thread is a great help to distinguish between the 2.
 

Possibility of Being

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Approaching Infinity said:
I don't think that's quite what Needleman was suggesting. Remorse can involve feeling bad that we hurt someone, but linked with that feeling is the fact that this act reveals who we are, our level of being. It's not that we "made a mistake" or "could have or should have done something different", but that we are not of the level of being so that our actions do not hurt others. Quite simply, we hurt others. Being aware of, and feeling, the hurt we cause others is a big part of remorse, I think. In fact, I think it's the starting point. If we just feel bad because we've "broken a rule", that's just guilt, i.e. externally determined.

That's how I understand the difference too. And frankly, feeling remorse, I mean really feeling it, is agonizing. You'd almost wish to have your old friend guilt instead. To know that you have hurt others and still do and can do literally nothing to stop it simply because that's who you are - and feeling it is like facing the abyss. Actually, it is facing the abyss. You are not who you believe you are. There is no "I won't do it any more" possible, at least no other than through a long and hard work on yourself. In this sense, that the best and who knows perhaps the only working motivation to take the Work seriously and really do it.

This passage from ISOTM comes to mind:

"Change under ordinary conditions is impossible, because, in wanting to change
something a man wants to change this one thing only. But everything in the machine
is interconnected and every function is inevitably counterbalanced by some other
function or by a whole series of other functions, although we are not aware of this
interconnection of the various functions within ourselves. The machine is balanced in
all its details at every moment of its activity. If a man observes in himself something
that he dislikes and begins making efforts to alter it, he may succeed in obtaining a
certain result. But together with this result he will inevitably obtain another result,
which he did not in the least expect or desire and which he could not have suspected.
By striving to destroy and annihilate everything that he dislikes, by making efforts to
this end, he upsets the balance of the machine. The machine strives to re-establish the
balance and re-establishes it by creating a new function which the man could not have
foreseen. For instance, a man may observe that he is very absent-minded, that he
forgets everything, loses everything, and so on. He begins to struggle with this habit
and, if he is sufficiently methodical and determined, he succeeds, after a time, in
attaining the desired result: he ceases to forget and to lose things. This he notices, but
there is something else he does not notice, which other people notice, namely, that he
has grown irritable, pedantic, fault-finding, disagreeable. Irritability has appeared as
the result of his having lost his absent-mindedness. Why? It is impossible to say. Only
detailed analysis of a particular man's mental qualities can show why the loss of one
quality has caused the appearance of another. This does not mean that loss of absent
mindedness must necessarily give rise to irritability. It is just as easy for some other
characteristic to appear that has no relation to absent-mindedness at all, for instance
stinginess or envy or something else.
 

anart

A Disturbance in the Force
In 'Transcripts of Gurdjieff's Meetings 1941-1946', Gurdjieff has this to say about remorse (he's addressing someone who says that the few times he's been able to feel remorse, it just depresses him - so it's important to have that context):

"In order to experience remorse, it is necessary to awaken real will to remember real aim. You must destroy tranquility.
When remorse comes without self-love, it gives us the desire for something better. But, when it is mixed with self-love, it weighs you down. The effect of true remorse is hatred of yourself, repugnance towards yourself. These two things make up true remorse of conscience."

What I find interesting about that is the removal of the self from the equation. As has been suggested here, 'guilt' is self-focused. Remorse is 'other focused'.
 

go2

Dagobah Resident
Do you mean "removal of self-love from the equation" rather than "removal of the self from the equation"? I do not understand how remorse of conscience can be other focused alone. It seems the focus is failure of the ideal in the self-other relationship that stimulates remorse of conscience. I feel remorse of conscience as the result of realization that I do not have compassion for others. It is the merciless hatred of self, which forces me to pay when all the self wants is to feel good.

I am familiar with the work you quote. Gurdjieff often uses one's self-centered relationships with father, mother, spouse or children as the lever to stimulate remorse of conscience.. Perhaps, the blood relationships still have the capacity to elicit my emotional response of remorse of conscience. The suffering of my family as a result of my irresponsible life, stimulates remorse of conscience when I see harm that cannot be fixed. I hear people say we must love our self, before we can love others. How ironic when self-love is the root of the lack of compassion I hate. Thanks...anart.
 

anart

A Disturbance in the Force
go2 said:
Do you mean "removal of self-love from the equation" rather than "removal of the self from the equation"? I do not understand how remorse of conscience can be other focused alone. It seems the focus is failure of the ideal in the self-other relationship that stimulates remorse of conscience. I feel remorse of conscience as the result of realization that I do not have compassion for others. It is the merciless hatred of self, which forces me to pay when all the self wants is to feel good.

I think it is more simple - and more deep - than that. If a person can reach a state where they there is zero inner-consideration, then they can see themselves as they have truly been with zero buffers, resulting in true remorse with no thoughts of one's own well-being at all. As long as there remains some concern, however small, for the self, remorse isn't clean (or pure). I think this is a state that most of us cannot imagine.

g said:
I am familiar with the work you quote. Gurdjieff often uses one's self-centered relationships with father, mother, spouse or children as the lever to stimulate remorse of conscience.. Perhaps, the blood relationships still have the capacity to elicit my emotional response of remorse of conscience. The suffering of my family as a result of my irresponsible life, stimulates remorse of conscience when I see harm that cannot be fixed. I hear people say we must love our self, before we can love others. How ironic when self-love is the root of the lack of compassion I hate. Thanks...anart.

As I stated in a thread where I first brought up this book:

I've been reading 'Transcripts of Gurdjieff's Meetings 1941-1946' over the past few days and I'm really rather fascinated by it. It's interesting because G is answering direct questions from his students, the kinds of questions that are often asked here, actually, and his answers are really interesting. Of course, since he's directly answering individuals, you can't really take everything he says literally - G was extraordinarily adept at crafting answers to fit a person's needs, be that matching their current understanding or pushing them into another understanding (for this reason, some of the things he says about certain topics are a little 'scandalous' -but if you look at the larger picture, and realize the audience, it's easy to navigate through those parts).

I think, to get the most out of this book, it's really important to keep that in mind.
 

JonnyRadar

The Living Force
anart said:
In 'Transcripts of Gurdjieff's Meetings 1941-1946', Gurdjieff has this to say about remorse (he's addressing someone who says that the few times he's been able to feel remorse, it just depresses him - so it's important to have that context):

"In order to experience remorse, it is necessary to awaken real will to remember real aim. You must destroy tranquility.
When remorse comes without self-love, it gives us the desire for something better. But, when it is mixed with self-love, it weighs you down. The effect of true remorse is hatred of yourself, repugnance towards yourself. These two things make up true remorse of conscience."

What I find interesting about that is the removal of the self from the equation. As has been suggested here, 'guilt' is self-focused. Remorse is 'other focused'.

Thank you for posting this anart. It is quite impactful.
 

Jefferson

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
Possibility of Being said:
[quote author=Needleman]
Metaphysically and psychologically, guilt is the opposite of remorse. Guilt is founded on the illusory premise that we should have and could have acted differently in this or that situation, with this or that person or in the light of this or that ideal. Remorse, on the other hand, is rooted in the objective perception that it is the state of our being that has been revealed, that this is what we are—contrary to what we have believed about our moral capacities.

In guilt we may vow to do better—which is often a way the ego has of "quarantining" the momentary impression of deep-seated moral incapacity and preventing it from entering into us as truth. Remorse, on the other hand, brings with it no external or internal promises to do anything, but only the profoundly sorrowful acceptance of what we are, together with the physical and metaphysical relaxation of the ego's condition of tension, a relaxation that opens the heart and the body to receive a new quality of attention—an attention, or conscious energy, that in the Eastern Orthodox tradition has been called "the attention that comes from God."
[/quote]

I stumbled upon this thread today and find it very appropriate for me at this time. In the past when I had pangs in my 'conscience' and was in pain for what I did I can see that it was guilt. Right now I am noticing a change, a shift, towards remorse - it is just my mind doesn't want to let that remorse in, as the glimpses I get are looking quite awful. For me, the movement from guilt to remorse has taken some time, and I have observed that time has been marked by an unsettling coldness and callousness in me.
 

stellar

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
anart said:
I think it is more simple - and more deep - than that. If a person can reach a state where they there is zero inner-consideration, then they can see themselves as they have truly been with zero buffers, resulting in true remorse with no thoughts of one's own well-being at all. As long as there remains some concern, however small, for the self, remorse isn't clean (or pure). I think this is a state that most of us cannot imagine.
This thread has certainly triggered a new understanding of my pain over the past may months. I have kept it to myself because I did't really understand what was happening or how to ask questions about it. So thank you for the clues. :-[

By the time I got through the Wave series, SHOTW, books on psychology from our recommended reading list, following the forum threads etc, I have only read bits and pieces by G. Now I am starting on his books, finally. Maybe the pain I have been going through has been a lead-in or preparation of sorts in order to be able to understand what information I will be coming across.

For years I lived with the guilt of what I had put my family through, especially my children and my husband. I relive in my mind, daily, various times of my actions and how I deliberately used them to my ends. I live with the pain of how my children have turned out with now their own woundings and that there is nothing I can do about it. I have passed on that burden selfishly and knowingly, at the time. I lived in wishful thinking that if I manipulated situations to how I wanted them to pan out, I could control the outcomes. So stupid! I thought I knew how things should be - for everyone. All I really did was practice inner-consederation and nothing more.

I lied to myself and all others that I was the victim so that that would take away the responsability of my doings. All those attempts at suicide now seem like ways of running away from those responsabilities and making everyone else feel guilty or responsible for my actions. Sure, I was wounded as child as are we all in some way, but that does not excuse that deep down 'I knew what I was doing and kept trying for my own outcome!' In saying that I wanted the best for my family it was only saying that 'I wanted what made me look worthy and looked up to.' It did not go that way. I was not in control, just my many programmes.

Now when I wake up every morning, I do so with great pain in my heart. Another day of facing what I had done in the past, playing out in the present, as I
a probable consequence. I try to share these thoughts with them but it's 'what's done is done' scenario from them. I don't see that. I see their actions as a result of my past actions and the emotional hardships they go through as a result of the programmes I (did) may have helped create.

The EE and diet has helped me to deal with this reality but nothing can take away the pain right now. Maybe it is as it should be for some time to come. I could say that I may be paying my dues but that is not what I relly think. I think this will remain with me as long as I live for a reason. Maybe to forever remember the lessons I have learned and acknowledged so far. Maybe I am the only one in my family to be waking up for this reason. These were my lessons to learn and my own 'shocks' to face.

I have certainly changed as a person in many ways; a different mother/wife/daughter perhaps than what I was many years ago - two years ago, even. But what do I do with this knowledge now other than live for external consideration and service to others, at least to the best of my knowledge. There is nothing more I want in life for myself, many of my illusions have truly fade to nought but this time it is not a wish to die, just to be here for those who need me. Really. Nothing more.

Sorry to have dragged out this post, but I had to convey my thoughts before I got too emotional, again. :rolleyes: :cry:
 

Harold

Jedi Council Member
stellar said:
anart said:
I think it is more simple - and more deep - than that. If a person can reach a state where they there is zero inner-consideration, then they can see themselves as they have truly been with zero buffers, resulting in true remorse with no thoughts of one's own well-being at all. As long as there remains some concern, however small, for the self, remorse isn't clean (or pure). I think this is a state that most of us cannot imagine.
This thread has certainly triggered a new understanding of my pain over the past may months. I have kept it to myself because I did't really understand what was happening or how to ask questions about it. So thank you for the clues. :-[

By the time I got through the Wave series, SHOTW, books on psychology from our recommended reading list, following the forum threads etc, I have only read bits and pieces by G. Now I am starting on his books, finally. Maybe the pain I have been going through has been a lead-in or preparation of sorts in order to be able to understand what information I will be coming across.

For years I lived with the guilt of what I had put my family through, especially my children and my husband. I relive in my mind, daily, various times of my actions and how I deliberately used them to my ends. I live with the pain of how my children have turned out with now their own woundings and that there is nothing I can do about it. I have passed on that burden selfishly and knowingly, at the time. I lived in wishful thinking that if I manipulated situations to how I wanted them to pan out, I could control the outcomes. So stupid! I thought I knew how things should be - for everyone. All I really did was practice inner-consederation and nothing more.

I lied to myself and all others that I was the victim so that that would take away the responsability of my doings. All those attempts at suicide now seem like ways of running away from those responsabilities and making everyone else feel guilty or responsible for my actions. Sure, I was wounded as child as are we all in some way, but that does not excuse that deep down 'I knew what I was doing and kept trying for my own outcome!' In saying that I wanted the best for my family it was only saying that 'I wanted what made me look worthy and looked up to.' It did not go that way. I was not in control, just my many programmes.

Now when I wake up every morning, I do so with great pain in my heart. Another day of facing what I had done in the past, playing out in the present, as I
a probable consequence. I try to share these thoughts with them but it's 'what's done is done' scenario from them. I don't see that. I see their actions as a result of my past actions and the emotional hardships they go through as a result of the programmes I (did) may have helped create.

The EE and diet has helped me to deal with this reality but nothing can take away the pain right now. Maybe it is as it should be for some time to come. I could say that I may be paying my dues but that is not what I relly think. I think this will remain with me as long as I live for a reason. Maybe to forever remember the lessons I have learned and acknowledged so far. Maybe I am the only one in my family to be waking up for this reason. These were my lessons to learn and my own 'shocks' to face.

I have certainly changed as a person in many ways; a different mother/wife/daughter perhaps than what I was many years ago - two years ago, even. But what do I do with this knowledge now other than live for external consideration and service to others, at least to the best of my knowledge. There is nothing more I want in life for myself, many of my illusions have truly fade to nought but this time it is not a wish to die, just to be here for those who need me. Really. Nothing more.

Sorry to have dragged out this post, but I had to convey my thoughts before I got too emotional, again. :rolleyes: :cry:

All the reading, all the guilt. I really relate to that Stellar. Thanx for sharing. I look at all my drug overdoses as attempted suicides. That we can find healing through EE is amazing. I have a guilt complex with my family too. I used to have suicidal thoughts too.

Diet and EE has helped me too in so many ways.

I see self preservation along with balance and harmony with those around me as a sort of goal these days. This way I can take the past into consideration as well. It helps allot with family stuff. It has helped at work too. Not to have entanglement is freedom in many ways. :)

I appreciate your courage to share. :thup:
 

Possibility of Being

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Jefferson said:
I stumbled upon this thread today and find it very appropriate for me at this time. In the past when I had pangs in my 'conscience' and was in pain for what I did I can see that it was guilt. Right now I am noticing a change, a shift, towards remorse - it is just my mind doesn't want to let that remorse in, as the glimpses I get are looking quite awful. For me, the movement from guilt to remorse has taken some time, and I have observed that time has been marked by an unsettling coldness and callousness in me.

It's good to remember that between a feeling/emotion and an act of naming/explaining it, a "reader" comes into play. It's role is to translate that feeling into words, find its source or a cause, and place it somewhere in one of our numerous "drawers" - a lot of room for programs, buffers, and/or wishful thinking to interfere. What I've found is that it usually pays to question the interpreter before coming to a conclusion on new/ changing emotions and the way it feels.

This may or may not apply to what you've been experiencing Jefferson, so fwiw.
 

beetlemaniac

The Living Force
Possibility of Being said:
Jefferson said:
I stumbled upon this thread today and find it very appropriate for me at this time. In the past when I had pangs in my 'conscience' and was in pain for what I did I can see that it was guilt. Right now I am noticing a change, a shift, towards remorse - it is just my mind doesn't want to let that remorse in, as the glimpses I get are looking quite awful. For me, the movement from guilt to remorse has taken some time, and I have observed that time has been marked by an unsettling coldness and callousness in me.

It's good to remember that between a feeling/emotion and an act of naming/explaining it, a "reader" comes into play. It's role is to translate that feeling into words, find its source or a cause, and place it somewhere in one of our numerous "drawers" - a lot of room for programs, buffers, and/or wishful thinking to interfere. What I've found is that it usually pays to question the interpreter before coming to a conclusion on new/ changing emotions and the way it feels.

This may or may not apply to what you've been experiencing Jefferson, so fwiw.

That's a great tip. The incisiveness of your writing makes all that fuzzy psychic activity come into focus. As I keep reading more posts I am astounded by how similar all our experiences are, as though we were all one.
 

Joe

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I'm not sure I agree with Needleman. For me guilt is generally self-focused, while remorse is largely other-focused, i.e. the source of the feeling of remorse is an awareness of the effect of our actions on another and the hurt or pain caused to that person. Remorse by definition includes empathy, while guilt usually does not.
 
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