Guilts vs. Responsibility

The jackal is aware of guilt and wrong-doing and will either fight against it or accept the verdict along with a punishment.

The giraffe is aware of their responsibility. The giraffe is aware that all her actions have consequences and cares about those consequences. Both before and after an action. The giraffe will learn from past actions and adapt future actions on the basis of past experiences, to not repeat acts that do not fulfill needs.

I find it helpful to see that those two concepts are constantly used without clarity and differentiation in jackal. People say “You are responsible.” and others hear it as: “You are guilty.” And many variations of this confusion may arise.

For example:
Russian vblogger Konstantin, when telling his Russian compatriotes that they they are co-responsible for the consequences of the war against Ukraine of their government, noticed that they get angry and ‘deny their responsibility’.

What can I do? (sigh)

So what would be the difference?


We are responsible for our INTENTIONS and our ACTIONS (thinking, speaking, hearing, acting). With our intentions and actions we cause consequences in the world, in nature or in human relationsships. We are also responsible how we respond to the consequences of our actions. How do we feel, when we see that our actions have caused harm to nature or other human beings, especially to loved ones or friends?


Guilt implies some wrong-doing. This maybe a legal guilt or an emotional guilt. Perhaps the most important aspect of guilt is that it is deserving of punishment. And a judge decides if there is a wrong-doing. This judicial instance maybe an outer-world or an innerworld one. So here we are “interpreting” some action as wrong and then we say someone deserves punishment for that wrong-doing. Go to prison, pay some fine, do some kind of pay back, say sorry. All of these elements are absent from the giraffe understanding of responsibility.