To establish a foundation for discussion, it is critical to explain the psychological profiles of anger and guilt with the help of examples. The development of anger is driven by a violation of autonomy norms (Doris, 2010). This means that anger is a reaction by an individual to injustice or harm that is characterized by emotional and impulsive behavior and particular facial expression. For example, the participants in one of the experiments showed “high levels of anger towards a person” who invested only 2 francs instead of 14 (Doris, 2010, p. 128). In the case of guilt, a person punishes himself/herself for violating social norms or causing harm (Doris, 2010). Guilt is a destructive emotion that provokes inner conflict and suffering for offending and harming someone important or being unable to change a situation. For example, the people who survived the bombing in Hiroshima often feel guilty for staying alive (Doris, 2010).
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I tend to believe that morality cannot exist without moral emotions due to the interdependence between them. In the first place, some norms “are enforced by anger and guilt” (Doris, 2010, p. 140). Consequently, these emotions can be identified as forces that help develop regulations to ensure safety and protect one’s individuality. At the same time, “norms pertaining to harm are important for the preservation of life” (Doris, 2010, p. 141). This statement clearly underlines a critical role of these regulations, as they have a higher intention than customs and social norms. It could be said that these concepts aim at self-improvement while norms associated with guilt and anger establish order and justice in society. Consequently, these emotions cannot be ignored since they control one’s behavior by referencing the concepts of morality and associated emotions.
Doris, J. (2010). The moral psychology handbook. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.