Guilt with a Twist: The Promethean Way
by Lawrence H. Staples
“Our hunger for the forbidden fruit grows as we get older and our need for it increases. By midlife, we often sense that something important is missing. Then the “unacceptable,” “sinful” parts of ourselves that have been rejected begin to clamor with ever greater insistence to participate in our lives.” -Larry Staples, Ph.D., Jungian Analyst and author of Guilt with a Twist
Promethean guilt is the guilt we incur for the sins that we need to commit if we are to achieve, both for our selves and for our society, some of the social, political, economic, scientific, psychological, and other changes and developments that we most deeply need to sustain and nourish us. Myth tells us that Prometheus stole fire from the gods and made it available for human use. He suffered for this sin, but human society would have suffered if he had not committed it. There indeed are sins that are destructive to society, but the paradox is that there are also sins that inure ultimately to society’s benefit.
With a spirit similar to what moved Galileo, Copernicus, Socrates, Rosa Parks, and Susan B. Anthony to violate conventional boundaries, Guilt with a Twist: The Promethean Way suggests that ‘Good Guilt’ is incurred for the sins we need to commit if we are to grow and reach our full potential as individuals, as well as a society. “‘Sins’ that benefit us,” Staples claims, “could not be committed without a creative, Promethean spirit that is supported by an obstinate and irreverent insolence toward authority that is informed by a love of freedom.”
Lawrence Staples shows us how guilt may not particularly feel so ‘good’ at the time of a transgression, yet in retrospect the perceived ‘sin’ that originated feelings of guilt often turns out to be of great value materially, as well as spiritually. This timely publication sheds light and brings valuable meaning to feelings that for ages humanity has deemed ‘bad’ and undesirable and will benefit many who suffer from life’s existential pains brought on by divorce, separations, addictions, and a host of socially imposed rules that crush the spirits of those who challenge prejudice attitudes toward race, religion, gender, and other social norms.
Life inevitably confronts us with the Promethean dilemma: Do we live our lives without fire and the heat and light it provides or do we sin, and subsequently incur guilt, in order to obtain for ourselves and for society those important changes and developments that we need?
After receiving AB and MBA degrees from Harvard, Larry Staples spent the next 22 years with a Fortune 500 company, where he became an officer and a corporate vice president. When he was 50, he made a midlife career change and entered the C.G. Jung Institute, Zurich, Switzerland, where he spent the next nine years in training to become a Jungian psychoanalyst. After graduation, he returned to the United States and opened a private practice in Washington, DC, where he continues to work as a licensed psychoanalyst (Jungian). Lawrence has a Ph.D. in psychology; his special areas of interest are the problems of midlife, guilt, and creativity.
Title: Guilt with a Twist: The Promethean Way
Author: Lawrence H. Staples
Paperback edition: 256 pages
Publisher: Fisher King Press (March 15, 2008)