The Roman Philosopher Lucius Seneca once said, “Every guilty person is his own hangman, ” and his choice of wording was spot-on. The thing that maintains our humanity and morality is our sense of righteousness and our ability to know the difference between right and wrong. It is that little voice in our head that keeps us on track, and even if we tend to ignore it a lot, the fact that we can still hear it means that our humanity is still intact.
Some psychologists tend to refer to people who suffer from Antisocial Personality Disorders as “Sociopaths.” Those are the people who have a condition of a missing conscience. It happens at a time we lose the feeling of guilt when we hurt someone, the feeling of remorse when we commit a crime, or the feeling of sympathy when someone dies; which is when we have then reached a dangerous place where we can no longer hear that little voice in our head.
“Every man is guilty of the good he did not do,” (Voltaire). Believe it or not, there are murderers who can still access their conscience, they show remorse in the way they kill their victims; either by covering the victims’ eyes, or positioning them in a certain way after their death, burying them, or closing their eye-lids. Yes! It is shocking that someone who is capable of taking a life can still be called “humane”. Instead of giving up on those people, psychologists found out that they can still be saved from themselves.
“A guilty conscience needs to confess, a work of art is a confession,” (Albert Camus, French philosopher). Artists tend to express their guilt in their own way; many drawings, sculptures, paintings, and movies turn out to be a confession by the artist. The same thing can be said about poems and novels. We all commit crimes, some bigger than others, and for most of us, we feel so guilty that we need to let it out before that guilt explodes within us.
The next time we are about to do something and we hear that voice that tells us to do otherwise, we should probably give it more of our attention because believe it or not, it is always right. Every time we choose to ignore it, our moral compass loses balance. Today, I’ll find some cash and won’t try to find the owner, tomorrow I’ll borrow some money and not give back, the next day I’ll steal a few bucks from here and a few from there; our actions develop and escalate depending on how we direct them.
Today I find myself in a place I would’ve never imagined being in a couple of months ago. When I’m doing something wrong, I feel guilty every single second, but that sense of guilt fades away when I become used to doing the wrong thing. So my advice to myself and to you dear reader is to listen to that voice; you hear it in your head but it comes from your heart. It’s a gift to have it on our side and let’s hope none of us ever lose it.
Hamda AlHashemi is a 20 something year old interior design graduate, and an SZHP employee. She appreciates art, food, psychology and culture. For her, Arabic calligraphy is music for the eyes; beautiful and calming. She thrives to become an entrepreneur of her own furniture line and aims to get her Phd on the long run. Hamda’s articles revolve around how our psychological thoughts influence our actions, and how to use them to our advantage.