Pain May Ease Guilt

Morality, goodness and guilt appear to me to be mixed together. Regular run-of-the-mill guilt might help regulate our actions and make us more ethical. Over-sized guilt might lead us to act out against ourselves or others. So, is this University of Queensland study good news or bad news? Researchers report showing that “(e)xperiencing pain as a penalty can cause people to feel that their guilt is resolved and their soul cleansed.”

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One Response to Pain May Ease Guilt

  1. Kiesa says:

    The study’s silly. Sixty-two undergraduates put their hands in cold water and this is supposed to be analogous to what? I mean, think about it. Expiating guilt in this research context has no real-world antecedent. Sticking a hand in cold water after writing about a past wrongdoing isn’t intrinsically meaningful.

    Does pain expiate guilt? I suppose we could ask the self-flagellating monks in the Middle Ages or maybe the girls who scar their arms in bouts of self-injury why they did it and how long it helps. I think this study demonstrates a waste of good money that could have been spent alleviating pain rather than inducing it in meaningless ways. It reminds me of the silly study about whether fish feel pain. Geez Mareez. Do they? Well, yes, they do, and some group of fellas got good money to give little electrical shocks to fish’s lips to prove it. Argh.

    Tucson — I’m praying for everybody’s healing on this. It does rather raise the question: Did anyone provide help to the young man who’s a suspect, in the times that he was thrown out of places for being odd or scary? He’s getting so much attention now. What if he’d gotten a little attention before the incident — maybe even a tenth of this amount, a hundredth of this? What is the appropriate response to a warning sign?

    Thanks for creating a forum for comments on goodness!

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