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[Possibly my question is too cryptic for a FAQ, and it is not even accurate in the sense that I do not feel guilty for being here, but I am sorry the chain of events, below, occurred. I welcome an edit!]

I was doing a web traversal and landed here after reading Dr. Diana Hsieh's post on honesty in workers. I thought that that post was nice, but it did not discuss possibly one of the hardest aspects of the issue: apparently rapidly changing values. Here is my statement of the problem.

When I am tired, my brain does not work as well. I can still perform some things superbly, but other tasks deteriorate, including self-monitoring. So it happens to me (a lot less than it used to) that sometimes that I say something that I almost instantly appear to contradict.

Tonight, I said I would be somewhere, at a group class for which I paid a pretty penny to attend. One of the hosts is also someone I consider a personal friend, and I told her I was tired but I would show up.

I did not. Instead, I took a nap and I realized I did not want to attend this first part of the class. I feel guilty for appearing to go back on my word, but I'm very glad I did not go.

How do you judge me? Is there more for me to do than make a small apology [which I did, via email] and of course always I try to think of new ways to avoid such cases. I was too busy this week and the details of the class had never been sent to me. So unlike usual there was only a too-short time to noodle out all the logistics.

[I'm posting because I think this is a fertile area for discussion, less than because I really need an answer. I think that's ok? Also, again please feel free to help me edit and make this overly long item more succinct and helpful!]

asked Dec 03 '10 at 21:46

ElizabethLee's gravatar image

ElizabethLee
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Are you sure you want a candid answer to this?

(Dec 04 '10 at 01:11) Mindy Newton ♦ Mindy%20Newton's gravatar image

This question raises a wide-ranging and important topic: how to deal with guilt. The basic Objectivist approach to guilt can be stated in general terms as follows (in my understanding of Objectivism):

  1. Do not try to avoid guilt by avoiding the principles that logically imply it. Suspending concern for principles is counter-productive. It leaves one without the long-range guidance that one needs for living across the span of a lifetime. (This doesn't stop a great many people today from trying it, however, and perhaps even being able to get away with it for awhile in the short run. Also, this is a general comment, not intended to imply that the questioner is avoiding principles, although the questioner does seem largely unaware of how to reduce guilt to underlying priniples, yet learning and striving to learn.)

  2. Do not accept unearned guilt. This presupposes that one has sufficient knowledge of underlying principles to be able to recognize and differentiate between earned and unearned guilt. To the extent that one lacks such knowledge, one should strive to learn it.

  3. Strive to rectify earned guilt, and to follow a better course of action in the future to prevent recurrences of earned guilt.

I'm happy to see that the questioner is already doing most of this:

Is there more for me to do than make a small apology [which I did, via email] and of course always I try to think of new ways to avoid such cases.

The question also explains:

I'm posting because I think this is a fertile area for discussion, less than because I really need an answer. I think that's ok? Also, again please feel free to help me edit and make this overly long item more succinct and helpful!

One particularly noticeable area that would be helpful for further clarification is the following:

[A]fter reading Dr. Diana Hsieh's post on honesty in workers. I thought that that post was nice, but it did not discuss possibly one of the hardest aspects of the issue: apparently rapidly changing values.

What does "apparently rapidly changing values" refer to, here? Why only "apparently"? Whose values are "rapidly changing," and why? What values are changing, i.e., from what to what? (Is this, perhaps, a roundabout and apologetic way of saying that one's own values are changing repidly as a result of increasing awareness of Objectivist principles?)

answered Dec 05 '10 at 01:20

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦
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Asked: Dec 03 '10 at 21:46

Seen: 1,436 times

Last updated: Dec 05 '10 at 01:20