Re "Feeling Guilty Can Be Good" (May 2): I do not think instilling guilt does any good whatsoever, especially in the young. Occasionally I recall some piece of cruelty inflicted by me as a young immature person. I could wallow in guilt, but I don't. The past is past and I can not change it or atone for it by word magic.
I simply recognize that I was certainly doing the best I could at that immature stage in dealing with the host of problems that confront youth and dismiss it from my mind as a natural event that happens to all sometimes.
Certainly everyone experiences the feeling of regret. Guilt, no.
In response to the article praising the beneficial qualities of guilt, let me just say that, yes, perhaps guilt can be viewed as a good thing by some people--as, similarly, people are benefited by believing in demons. One's sense of guilt is built on the metaphysical premise that one could have acted differently from the way one actually acted. Such a premise can only be taken as true by an act of faith, for there are no means to recreate an event as to time, place and circumstance, to determine whether there could have been a different outcome. More simply stated: What's done is done, and no one can prove that things could have been done otherwise.