Don’s Diary

Apart from our Masonic ritual, I do not know of any theatre that so concisely provides a guide for our morals and behaviour. It’s beautiful prose appeals to our emotions and reflects accurately our own life’s experiences. However, the feeling of remorse that the majority of us will have experienced is not addressed. It could easily and legitimately been have been included in the story of the ruffians when they were found, when we contemplate steering the barque of this life and in similar passages.

Remorse is a feeling of deep regret or guilt for a wrong or an act felt to be shameful, uncaring, hurtful, or violent that you have committed or action that you should have taken to avert this situation: contrition, repentance, sorrow, shame - self pity, reproach accusation and condemnation. It can happen in relationships that should be important and close to you, where trust has been betrayed, and sometimes as a result of situations in commercial arrangements. It is not regret because you have been found out or caught. Deep remorse can hang like a dark cloud over your happiness for a lifetime.

A person who is incapable of feeling remorse is often said to have an antisocial personality disorder. I have read where such psychopathic individuals are best known for their flagrant disregard for social and moral norms. They have dysfunctional personal relationships, characterized by violence, philandering and exploitation of a sexual nature often preying on the young, naive and homeless. Emotionally, they are incapable of feeling guilt or empathy, they respond abnormally to fear and pain, and other emotions are shallow compared to population norms. Psychopaths refuse to adopt social and moral norms because they are not swayed by the emotions, such as guilt, remorse, or fear of retribution, that influence human beings. They do not apologise for their behaviour or even see the need to do so, withdrawing within their cocoon and possibly creating their own reality by using drugs. In a rare moment of personal reflection they may be suicidal.

It is said that psychopathic individuals often have superficial charm and show insincere signs of affection. Many share certain characteristics such as a callous-manipulative interpersonal style, impulsivity, the need for control and an inability to establish and maintain a marital relationship. I read where positive correlations have also been reported between psychopathy and narcissistic, borderline, paranoid, and schizoid personality disorders, panic and obsessive–compulsive disorders, but not neurotic disorders in general, schizophrenia, or depression.

So if you know someone who does not seem to display remorse, there may be a lot of serious issues underlying his or her personality and help should be sought as soon as possible.

Yours fraternally,

Don Paterson