Freedom and guilt
Author: P. Fernando Pascual, L.C | Source: Catholic.net
Being free implies being responsible. So when someone asks us why we did something, our answer implies taking responsibility.
This fact explains the phenomenon of guilt. Someone is guilty of a harmful act precisely because he may not have committed it, because he was free.
In the theories of determinism, there is no guilt. One does what it does because it is determined by its neurons, or by its hormones, or by social pressure, or by its psychology, or by destiny.
On the other hand, in theories that admit that every human being, at the beginning of his full consciousness, can act from the intelligence and the free will, then there is guilt.
Personal experience and social life are closer to theories that admit freedom than to theories that admit determinism. It is enough to see how the legal system works and the praises or reproaches we make about others in order to ascertain it.
That is why it is important to recognize that deep nexus between guilt and freedom. Because only freedom allows that we act responsibly. And only a responsible act can be good or bad, worthy of praise or deserving of contempt.
Of course, talking about guilt implies talking about merit. If you are guilty of serious harm in family life, you can also be praised when you ask for forgiveness and repair the pain caused in others.
Recognizing human freedom in its ethical dimensions, and seeking a responsible exercise of it, will lead us to become aware of the seriousness of each of our options, will depart from guilty acts, and will drive us to invest time and energy in Meritorious, fair and beautiful.