Mal: But what do you believe?
What do you feel?
I feel guilt, Mal.
And no matter what I do,
no matter how hopeless I am...
...no matter how confused,
that guilt is always there...
...reminding me of the truth.
It just jumped out at me. Cobb is describing his Mr. Hyde. His Inner Critic is just drowning him in guilt, no matter what he does.
In fact, come to think of it, Mal is probably his Mr Hyde. She lurks in the deepest depths of his subconscious. Her name is Mal, and a good Austrian economist knows what that means. She is out to kill him and/or to convince him to commit suicide. She prevents him from seeing his children's faces, from hitting on the young sexy girl who's with him, in other words, from life's pleasures and feelings.
Did the author of the screenplay know about Dr. Rubin's psychological theory? Not necessarily. A good author, knowingly or not, weaves into his story deep elements of our lives. It's why his work affects us so.
But isn't guilt a good thing? Should you not feel bad if you sinned, did wrong, committed a crime, hurt someone, etc? Yes and no. A healthy person, realizing the error of his ways, will do what he can to patch things up, have his moment of regret, and then move on. The constant obsessing over past misdeeds is nothing but Mr Hyde speaking, finding yet another way and another excuse to destroy Jeckyl's life.
Soon we'll talk about how to be rid of him.