Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lying as guilt forerunner

I've argued in previous posts that guilt as feeling badly about intentions and the internal push to come clean about one's trespasses occurs at the father complex/phallic trito. However, both Nietzsche in his Genealogy and Chasseguet-smirgel in her work on the ego ideal posit honesty and promise-making as  an earlier form of conscience. Alexander Lowen also interestingly argues that lying shows an increase in independence and separation from the parents and is an important landmark.

Lying as guilt does make for an interesting transitional stage in which one transgresses one's "word" and there is no doubt bad feelings possible about the intention to lie as well as feelings of shame afterwards.

Being ashamed of oneself is very close to guilt but decisively the feeling of equality with peers in the community isn't there.

It's also possible to see the semblance of a value system in the various promises one has made to "honor" an agreement but this is still far from the array of ideal values that are supposed to be autonomously chosen. The relations to parental substitutes and loyalty to them is what would imbue the promise with power.

More to come...

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