Kokoro – Natsume Soseki


Guilt. It is one of the strongest and most destructive feelings a man can taste. Some have lived their whole lives with it. Some are just beginning to get to know it. Either way, it is a horrible, devastating feeling produced by cowardice and fear. We, humans, are the greatest predators that have ever lived. The greatest manipulators, the most vicious beasts. We are capable of terrible deeds and, the worst part is, we don’t know the limits of our rottenness.

It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day can change the course of a whole lifetime…

This is the cruelest sentence I have ever read. It is also completely true. What is the price of being good? Doesn’t matter. Do it. Be good and honest at any cost. Because, if you don’t, you’ll be stuck with harrowing guilt for the rest of your life. And, you don’t want that. Trust me. Every time you think: “Hey, I think I’m done with this; I’m ready to start a real life and do it right this time”, it’ll just say: “What makes you think you deserve a fresh start? What makes you think you deserve anything?”

You’re stuck between wanting something better and sabotaging yourself, because you know you haven’t earned it. You know it’s all your fault. You know you’ve made so many people suffer, you’ve ruined their lives and you don’t even deserve to live, but you’re too much of a coward to do anything about it, so you just hide in your little hole, hoping to never get discovered. Plenty of times you’ve wanted to make it right somehow, you’ve wanted to confess, but couldn’t. You know how they’re going to react. You know they’ll destroy you before you have the chance to destroy yourself. And, you know you had that coming. It’s your fault. There’s no one else to blame. And, you go on like that, ripped from the inside. You live a cursed life. You know it’s never going to get any better and still, you go on, because you remain hopeful that some kind of a miracle will come and save you. But, it never happens. As time goes by, you either go mad or take your own life.

Have you ever done something so gruesome, so terrible that you know you could never forgive yourself? It’s tearing you from the inside, you want to scream and confess, but can’t, because you’re too much of a coward? It’s a feeling I wouldn’t wish to anyone. People think they know about it, but they don’t really understand that kind of excruciating guilt, the one that doesn’t wane, but only deepens as time goes by. And sometimes, it’s too late to go back and make all the wrongs right.

No amount of after-the-fact sorrow could ever atone for joy taken in destruction.