Ayn Rand on Guilt

Galt’s Speech, For the New Intellectual, 176.

It is not any crime you have ever committed
that infects your soul with permanent guilt,
It is none of your failures, errors or flaws,
but the blank-out by which you attempt to evade them
It is not any sort of Original Sin or unknown prenatal deficiency,
but the knowledge and fact of your basic default,
of suspending your mind, of refusing to think.

Fear and guilt are your chronic emotions,
they are real and you do deserve them,
but they don’t come from the superficial reasons
you invent to disguise their cause,
not from your “selfishness,” weakness or ignorance,
but from a real and basic threat to your existence:  
fear, because you have abandoned your weapon of survival,  
guilt, because you know you have done it voluntarily.