Bringing the Text to Life
It's pervasive. It's persistent. Worse than a summer cold, more annoying than seasonal allergies and completely unresponsive to the Paxils and Prozacs provided by modern medicine, this condition grips you like a free-floating sense of worthlessness or an existential dread. It burrows deep down inside you, an agonizing writhing of conscience permanently lodged in the soul.
In his book, Infinite Desire: A Guide to Modern Guilt, Paul Oppenheimer believes that modern secular guilt squats inside us constantly, unrelieved and unarticulated, growing ever more rancid. He writes that millions of seemingly innocent people feel guilty. Yet they have committed no crimes, done nothing truly shameful. "Nonetheless their guilt persists, at least in their own eyes," he observes, "and often neatly folded away, though it cannot help but inject their other emotions and acts with unmentioned pain."
Where does this guilt come from? And what does it mean? Oppenheimer suggests a number of possibilities. ...