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A sense of guilt is a uniquely human experience, and a major theme in explorations of the human imagination, from Greek tragedy to headline condemnations of murderers and child abusers. A sense of guilt in the real world of moral transgressions would seem to be necessary to hold society together, but many people experience guilty feelings which cannot be explained in terms of their conscious values. Where do these feelings come from? Psychoanalysis suggest that this neurotic form of guilt has its origins in childhood and the ambivalent unconscious feelings the child has towards internal representations of parental figures. In one interpretation, guilt occurs when the child’s unconscious sexual, aggressive and destructive feelings conflict with its fear of destroying the source of love and security. The author explains the analytic ideas involved, and goes on to illuminate the consequent adult states of mind generated by neurotic guilt and its effect on society and culture.