Sekatsky Alexander: The Guilt Complex as an Existential Problem in the Modern West

Speaker: Sekatsky Alexander, St. Petersburg State University, Russia, PhD in Philosophy, Associate Professor of the Department of Social Philosophy and Philosophy of History, Institute of Philosophy

Topic: The Guilt Complex as an Existential Problem in the Modern West

1. The presumption of the unconditional rightness of the Other as an inevitable result of the crisis of the Faustian civilization. Nietzsche's ressentiment included four major lines of the spectrum: Guilt, envy, jealousy, and offence. Through the efforts of social engineering, the basements of the collective and personal unconscious were thoroughly cleaned up; one might say that a simplified assemblage of the subject turned into an ongoing replication process. The only thing that has been significantly strengthened is the presumption of guilt. Now the formula for civic initiation sounds like this: You are guilty of the fact that you are healthy, educated, and that your childhood was not spent in the slums. And if, in addition to that, you are heterosexual and white, you are double guilty.

2. The guilt complex undermines the right to being in the first person. At the existential level, this means lack of demand for the most important existential dimension of a human, and at the socio-psychological level, a strange atmosphere of collective masochism is established, deeply hostile to the production of humaneness in a human.

3. Today we are witnessing not just the triumph of minorities, we are witnessing a real triumph of all those who are not self-actualized, who failed, and also the decisive cancellation of those who claimed victory – and even more so of those who achieved it. This also applies to repressions against the dead, against those to whom monuments were erected, who wrote books in a state of inner freedom, without fear of inadvertently offending someone. Today is the time of posthumous censorship.

4. The collective guilt complex that has emerged is also looking for the “true culprit”, i.e. anyone who dared to commit a historical act, someone who is not going to vindicate oneself or repent before even starting to act. And here the possibility of manipulating public opinion has reached an unprecedented level.

5. Nietzsche’s thesis is more relevant today than ever: “Creation should be preferred to compassion!” And this creation should include the full cycle of human dimensions, including a personal ethnogram, history, and the will to renew the world.