Sunday, December 30, 2007

Guilt, the Promethean Way

 
by Lawrence H. Staples

We have to sin and incur guilt if we are to grow and reach our full potential. That’s the central message of this book. It is a message that is inspired and informed by the myth of Prometheus. Myth tells us Prometheus stole fire from the gods and made it available for use by humans. He suffered for his sin. Zeus had him chained to a rock where an eagle pecked and tore daily at his liver. But human society would have suffered if he had not committed it. Thus, the life of Prometheus portrays a mythological model for guilt that is different from the conventional view. The Promethean model of guilt suggests the importance of sinning and incurring guilt in order to obtain needed—but forbidden things.

The conventional view of guilt is that it helps us remain “good”. Guilt keeps us within boundaries deemed acceptable. It helps us resist doing things that would disturb or harm our individual and collective interests. It can remind us of the apology we should make to help repair a harm we may have done. This conventional view of guilt has an important role in the maintenance of conventional life.

The conventional view, important as it is, also creates an enormous problem. It can deter us from being “bad” when that is exactly what is needed. While the conventional view is part of the truth, it is not the whole truth. The meaning of sin and guilt is far more complicated.

If individuals could not sin, and then suffer the subsequent guilt, they could not fully develop themselves and their gifts. If individuals could not develop fully, neither could society, as society is a sum of the individuals that comprise it. If, however, individuals could sin and not suffer painful guilt for their sins, they might well just be selfish beings that refuse to share their gifts with the community. They might keep the fire for themselves.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Good Guilt. . . What is Good Guilt?

 Good Guilt is the guilt we incur for the sins we need to commit, if we are to grow and fulfill ourselves. This paradoxical “twist” to the conventional meaning of guilt is the seminal idea behind my soon to be published book, Guilt with a Twist: The Promethean Way.

In common parlance, the words “good” and “guilt” don’t belong together. They appear to be contradictory. Personal and clinical experience, however, has repeatedly confirmed for me the useful role of sin and guilt in personal and psychological development. I began to notice that there are times in our lives when the experience of guilt actually was a signal of having done something good, even essential to nurture us. While the guilt probably did not feel like “Good Guilt” at the time of transgression, the “sin” that caused the guilt is sometimes viewed in retrospect as having brought something valuable to our life. Examples might include divorces, separations from partners and friends, giving up family-approved or family-dictated careers, or even marriages that are opposed by one’s family on the grounds of race, religion, gender, or social status. It might also include the expression of qualities previously rejected as unacceptable, like selfishness or the contra-sexual sides of ourselves. Later in life we may look at guilt thus incurred in a different light.


Published by and available from Fisher King Press ISBN 13: 978-0-9776076-4-8 
To order your copy call 1-800-228-9316. International orders call: 00-1-831-238-7799

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Fisher King Press to publish "Guilt with a Twist" by Lawrence H. Staples

 We don’t have to read books to learn a great deal about guilt. It seeps in through our pores, our eyes and our ears. Not a word has to be spoken. We can remember 'that look' we got from our elders and the shock waves of humiliation and pain that suffused our minds and bodies. It would have been easier and less painful if we could have learned it all by just reading. The reading comes later when we are trying to understand and comfort the pain.
A refreshingly unconventional look at the role of sin and guilt in our lives, Guilt with a Twist: The Promethean Way is the result of more than twenty years of thought and writing. It is also the result of many years of clinical work by a 76 year-old psychoanalyst who is still practicing. Lawrence Staples concludes that we must eat forbidden fruit and bear guilt if we are to grow and achieve our full potential. His unorthodox view has the potential not only to change the way we look at guilt but also to soften its effects and heal us.

The conventional view of guilt is that it helps us remain “good.” It helps us resist doing things that would disturb or harm our individual and collective interests. This view of guilt has an important role in the maintenance of conventional life. Yet, the conventional view, important as it is, also creates an enormous problem. It can deter us from being “bad” when that is exactly what is needed. The contribution virtue can make to society must be acknowledged. There indeed are sins that are destructive; there also are sins that benefit. While the conventional view is part of the truth, it is not the whole truth. The meaning of sin and guilt is far more complicated.

After receiving AB and MBA degrees from Harvard, Lawrence spent the next 22 years with a Fortune 500 company, where he became an officer and a corporate vice president. When he was 50, he made a midlife career change and entered the C.G. Jung Institute, Zurich, Switzerland, where he spent nine years in training to become a psychoanalyst. He is now a licensed psychoanalyst (Jungian) in private practice in Washington, DC. Lawrence has a Ph.D. in psychology; his special areas of interest are the problems of mid-life, guilt, and creativity.


Published by and available directly from Fisher King Press ISBN 13: 978-0-9776076-4-8. 
To order your copy call 1-800-228-9316. International orders call: +1-831-238-7799