Saturday, May 31, 2014

On Guilt

What if you were replaced in the middle of the night with an exact replica? They would have the same body, same memories, same thoughts, etc. as you? Would you even know? Maybe it happened last night and you're the replica. You have no way of knowing whether or not that is the case.  So the universe where that happened and the universe in which we are living are indistinguishable.  But in the other universe, *guilt* makes no sense.
Why would I feel guilty about something that happened yesterday?  That was another guy.  I was just born last night. It's true that I am an exact replica of the guy that did that thing.  So I should be careful not to do the same thing as he did. But to feel bad about it (to feel like I'm "bad" because of it) makes no sense.
In fact, those who believe that there are "good" people and "bad" people are really asking for trouble.  Each of us makes millions of decisions over a lifetime.  Some of them will be "good" -- considerate, wise, or courageous.  Some of them will not.  We all will make "bad" decisions.  For those who think that they are "good" people, these "bad" decisions must build a sneaking suspicion in the back of the mind that they really are "bad" people.