You should not be punished for the good you do not do

Unnecessary guilt

Voltaire once said that everyone is guilty of the good they didn’t do. I disagree. Guilt pertains to the things you DID do. Why on earth should people have to feel bad for what they didn’t do?

Don’t get me wrong, I do criticize apathy, but primarily apathy towards their own power, and apathy that means you are not concerned towards your own individuality or objectivity, or apathy that leads you to indifference to tyranny. But I don’t believe this is the same as the good you didn’t do. If your moral character depends on actions you didn’t do, I can’t help but question its reason.

It’s a little like how Abrahamism tends to place unnecessary guilt on people for something that Adam and Eve did, or for perfectly normal and human desires. By applying what Voltaire said, you are placing unnecessary and frankly bullshit guilt on people who haven’t done anything wrong, just because they haven’t done much good, instead of placing guilt on those who have done verifiable wrong.

In a way, I am also criticzing the mentality of those who criticize you simply for chosing not to give to charity. I once had a friend in IT class who tried to accuse me and my brother of being “corrupt” for not giving to charity. Once again, this does not merit any guilt, and I could think of other actions much more worthy of guilt, but not non-actions. Think twice before falling for a guilt-trip, and don’t delude yourself into worrying that you are part of some problem by not contributing to solving it.

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5 responses to “You should not be punished for the good you do not do

  1. Thanks for giving me an idea for an article! For the well-formed conscience, sins of omission do exist. It’s not a matter of a “guilt trip,” but a means of honestly assessing one’s life.

  2. I agree with you that the individual every day is bombarded by demands by others to do actions that favour others rather than self, when the individual refuses to follow the demand, then they are accused of being evil or other negative accusation. On the opposite end, if it is the nature of the individual to do something like being healthy, but they follow someone elses direction which makes the self sick then it is a legitimate statement that “everyone is guilty of the good they didn’t do.”

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