I believe that we’re much healthier if we think of our selfishness as sin. Which is what it is: a sin. Even if there is nothing out there except a random movement of untold gases and objects, sin still exists. You don’t need a devil with horns. It’s a social definition of sin. Everything we do that is self-indulgent, and that is selfish, and that turns us away from our dignity as human beings is a sin against what we were born with, the capacities we have, what we *could* make of this planet.
Our whole age has taken the line that if you feel bad about yourself, it’s something that you can be relieved of by your goddamn analyst. Psst!—it’s gone! And then you’ll be happy, you know?
But that feeling is not something you should be relieved of. It’s something you should *deal* with. And there’s no remission for what I mean by “sin,” except doing something useful. The confessional does the same thing as the shrink, rather more quickly and cheaper. Three “Hail Mary”s, and you’re out. But I’ve never been the kind of religious person that thinks saying “Hail Mary” is gonna get me out of it.