I recently made a major mistake in life, I defaulted on most of my major virtues by initially accepting an unearned guilt. From there I lost all sight of rationality and was being totally guided by my emotions (a frame of mind I had prior to becoming an objectivist and found it disturbingly easy to fall back into). This lead me to act in a way contrary to my character. I hurt a few people I cared deeply about and also hurt myself. I have since spent a grueling amount of time correcting the mistake within myself and ensuring it never happens again. I have in effect come to understand first hand precisely WHY virtue is so important. I have also made ammends to the best of my ability.
I would say, as it stands, I am back to being objective and infact a better objectivist than I was before. However, my previous actions have marred my character to some people I do care about.
I guess what I want to know is, whether or not it is possible to gain that kind of redemption? Is it worth pursuing if those people didn't take into account that those actions were outside my character norm? Would I be better off cutting my losses (those people I care for) and moving forward, or is that just really cold?
It will probably take time, patience and persistence on your part to show others what kind of person you really are. If they've been "burned" once, they will probably be cautious about letting it happen again. You will need to decide how badly you have hurt them and/or hurt their appraisal of you, and what level of effort on your part might be warranted by the value that you see in them and can demonstrate to them in yourself. Simply "walking away" without even trying to rectify a past wrong seems counter-productive, but it depends on their standards and values as well as your own commitment and determination to do better consistently. Without knowing more of the specifics of what happened and to whom, it's hard for an observer to judge this definitively.
The term "redemption" also sounds a bit religious. There is little or no mention of it that I know of in the literature of Objectivism, although Objectivist writings do mention "earned guilt" in at least one place that I know of: "Introspection" in The Ayn Rand Lexicon:
A major source of men's earned guilt in regard to philosophy—as well as in regard to their own minds and lives—is failure of introspection. Specifically, it is the failure to identify the nature and causes of their emotions.
But as long as you haven't committed an act of irredeemable evil, you probably still have a chance to "make amends" for what you did, whatever it may have been.
answered Jun 23 '12 at 02:46
Ideas for Life ♦