I have finally come to the point of deleting them without guilt, although it's taken me some time.
To be perfectly honest there is very little I still use email for. Most of the people I know, and keep in touch with on my computer, use Facebook and it's internal messaging system. There are a few hold outs and generally these emails come from them.
As I said these are folks I love. I just hate the emails. I don't understand why people still send them. Maybe they enjoy getting them...or maybe they are in the same position I am. Someone special has sent them and they feel compelled to send them back out. Either way I've decided that to simplify my email I'm going to give myself permission to simply delete them. I'll still respond happily to personal email. But the chain email guilt replies are over.