Guilty

Guilt is a poor, helpless, dependent being. Without the alliance of able, diligent, and let me add, fortunate fraud, it is inevitably undone. If the guilty culprit be obstinately silent, it forms a deadly presumption against him; if he speaks, talking tends only to his discovery, and his very defense often furnishes the materials for his conviction.

Metaphysical guilt is the lack of absolute solidarity with the human being as such--an indelible claim beyond morally meaningful duty. This solidarity is violated by my presence at a wrong or a crime. It is not enough that I cautiously risk my life to prevent it; if it happens, and I was there, and if I survive where the other is killed, I know from a voice within myself: I am guilty of being still alive.

But each one of us is guilty insofar as he remained inactive. The guilt of passivity is different. Impotence excuses; no moral law demands a spectacular death. Plato already deemed it a matter of course to go into hiding in desperate times of calamity, and to survive. But passivity knows itself morally guilty of every failure, every neglect to act whenever possible, to shield the imperiled, to relieve wrong, to countervail. Impotent submission always left a margin of activity which, though not without risk, could still be cautiously effective. Its anxious omission weighs upon the individual as moral guilt. Blindness for the misfortune of others, lack of imagination of the heart, inner differences toward the witnessed evil--that is moral guilt.

When you descant on the faults of others, consider whether you be not guilty of the same. To gain knowledge of ourselves, the best way is to convert the imperfections of others into a mirror for discovering our own.

We are almost always guilty of the hate we encounter.

Though the dungeon, the scourge, and the executioner be absent, the guilty mind can apply the goad and scorch with blows.

It is better and more satisfactory to acquit a thousand guilty persons than to put a single innocent one to death.

If anyone has a conscience it's generally a guilty one.

But the guilty person is only one of the targets of punishment. For punishment is directed above all at others, at all the potentially guilty.

To kill one man is to be guilty of a capital crime, to kill ten
men is to increase the guilt ten-fold, to kill a hundred men is
to increase it a hundred-fold. This the rulers of the earth all
recognize and yet when it comes to the greatest crime—waging
war on another state—they praise it!
It is clear they do not know it is wrong, for they record
such deeds to be handed down to posterity; if they knew they
were wrong, why should they wish to record them and have
them handed down to posterity?
If a man on seeing a little black were to say it is black, but
on seeing a lot of black were to say it were white, it would be
clear that such a man could not distinguish between black and white.
Or if he were to taste a few bitter things were to pronounce
them sweet, clearly he would be incapable of distinguishing
between sweetness and bitterness. So those who recognize a
small crime as such, but do not recognize the wickedness of the
greatest crime of all—the waging of war on another state–but
actually praise it—cannot distinguish between right and wrong.
So as to right or wrong, the rulers of the world are in confusion.

He who slayeth one man is as guilty as if he killed the whole human race. And he who saveth a soul accomplisheth a deed as meritorious as if he had saved all humanity.

Before we try to destroy someone else, we should first pass judgment on ourselves. Before finding fault with others, we must first pass judgment upon ourselves. Before we backbite others, we must first pass judgment upon our­ selves. Before we lie about others, we must first judge ourselves. Before we hurt the heart of another, we must first pass judgment on ourselves. Like that, we have to pass judgment on our thoughts and on all actions done by our eyes, ears, nose, hands, and mouth. The guilty ones are within our own body and mind. These are our qualities which exist in our actions. All these qualities exist within us, do they not? So we have to pass judgment on them. That is the state of Iman-Islam. That is what is called Islam. To first see the fault in yourself and then to pass judgment and correct yourself is true justice. Those who perform that justice are in the religion of truth. They are the leaders of the religion of truth. They are in the state of Iman-Islam. They are the true believers.

Children are born capable of all feelings, ranging from affection
to rage. In the beginning they respond genuinely with how they feel
-- screaming, cooing, cuddling. In due time, however, children adapt
their feelings according to their experiences. For example, children
are naturally cuddly, yet can learn to become rigid and to withdraw
in fear when someone approaches the crib. Children naturally seek
pleasure over pain, yet can adapt to seek pain, even death. Children
are naturally self-centered, yet can learn to feel guilty about wanting
anything for themselves.

Children are not born with their feelings already programmed
toward objects and people. Each child learns toward whom and what
to show affection. Each learns toward whom and about what to feel
guilty. Each learns whom and what to fear. Each learns whom and
what to hate.

Science is a subordinate category. When science offers itself as the final stage or form of knowing, it is guilty of a false quantity, in that it puts the accent, which belongs elsewhere, upon the penultimate.

Buddhist words such as compassion and emptiness don't mean much until we start cultivating our innate ability simply to be there with pain with an open heart and the willingness not to instantly try to get ground under our feet. For instance, if what we're feeling is rage, we usually assume that there are only two ways to relate to it. One is to blame others. Lay it all on somebody else; drive all blames into everyone else. The other alternative is to feel guilty about our rage and blame ourselves.

He who cackles laid the egg (he who talks first is the guilty party).

One is often guilty by being too just.

Rabbi Dostai ben Yannai said in the name of Rabbi Meir: He who forgets one word of his study, Scripture regards him as though he was liable for his life; for it is written (Deuteronomy 4:9) "But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as not to forget the things that your eyes have seen." Could this apply even if a man's study was too hard for him? Scripture says (ibid.): "Nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life." Thus a person is not guilty unless he deliberately puts those lessons away from his heart.

But this is not difficult, O Athenians! to escape death; but it is much more difficult to avoid depravity, for it runs swifter than death. And now I, being slow and aged, am overtaken by the slower of the two; but my accusers, being strong and active, have been overtaken by the swifter, wickedness. And now I depart, condemned by you to death; but they condemned by truth, as guilty of iniquity and injustice: and I abide my sentence, and so do they. These things, perhaps, ought so to be, and I think that they are for the best.

It’s better in fact to be guilty of manslaughter than of fraud about what is fair and just.