We won't dwell on the passing of Tess the Lunatic Hound for much longer, except to consider the mourning process (yes, she was a beloved pet) for a little bit, and especially guilt. It seems that dealing with guilt is a mandatory part of losing a pet, or a person. The bad part is that handling guilt is a learned ability; it's not something that you acquire naturally without some effort. Guilt itself is an advanced concept which can only be disentangled or even experienced by creatures with intellectual and emotional memory, after all. It's an artefact.
Much like support groups, or so I see in fictional stories, it seems as if there are several stages to dealing with guilt (grief is different). First, there needs to be some acceptance that we're not in control of most of the things that happen around us (a sense of scale), then a bit later there needs to be a sincere apology to the victim of the perceived guilt (even if they don't recognise that there was a problem), and then you need to apologise to and forgive yourself (reach acceptance).
Isn't it strange that one of the things you have to do when you feel guilty about something is to apologise to yourself? Isn't it interesting? Why should it be? As far as I can tell, having worked through this not at all, and now merely grasping my way towards certain truths, it seems that the apology is part of a social contract: A forgiveness must be preceded by an apology, or nothing changes. Does that make sense? Sometimes, you can't apologise to someone involved because they've moved on, and all you have left is to apologise to yourself and pledge to try better in the future. Even if your interlocutor (oooh, unnecessarily fancy word!) is around, their forgiveness is nothing in comparison to your own, although it is a necessary part of the process. Perhaps people need there to be a God-type figure purely for some notional absolution to come from somewhere?
Whatever the truth about life may be, guilt can only be recovered from with forgiveness. If the people of the world forgave themselves a little more, perhaps we wouldn't be living in quite so much irrationality and madness? Of course, the world might also improve if people actually thought about what they were doing instead of just stomping around and behaving habitually... I wonder where the most enlightened society in the world might be at the moment. Would it be very interesting or very boring to live there?
We need self-awareness, and the ability to manage ourselves. Self-awareness will unlock the future of the planet Earth, and of our exploration of the universe, if we only permit it. If we're going to go out there, perhaps we will have to learn to forgive ourselves as a species and go out and make friends withs the stars.
It's time for 'Star Trek'.