Enric

The lack of shame, a modern plague?

25 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Shame (in 'shy' sense) is one of the best feelings of the human being. The modern lack of shame (media first guilties, but not the only ones) is the start of a lot of critical troubles of the modern society. Do you think the same? How to fight against this? Is it possible?

Edited by Enric
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I don't know what a "shy" sense regarding shame is. Shame to me is subjective since different things are shameful to different people. 

Are you talking about "not being shy", as in the wearing of revealing clothing should be considered shameful, or something like that?

I don't know what you mean when you say "shame is one of the best feelings of the human being". Why is it so great?

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19 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

I don't know what a "shy" sense regarding shame is. Shame to me is subjective since different things are shameful to different people. 

Are you talking about "not being shy", as in the wearing of revealing clothing should be considered shameful, or something like that?

I don't know what you mean when you say "shame is one of the best feelings of the human being". Why is it so great?

I mean the contrary of 'shameless'. An attitude. Maybe 'shy' is not the correct word.

It's important because it stops crimes, poor education, force, violence, bad attitudes, etc... And to talk with a shameless it's not the same that to talk with a person with a degree of natural shame. It's glory.

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You're looking for guilt, I think, not shame. Shame is a result of feeling guilty because people found out about something shameful you've done. 

Guilt is very important, I agree, in the proper proportions. It keeps us from doing things we know we shouldn't do, and helps us formulate right and wrong. Guilt is the responsibility you feel for your part in something, and shame is feeling guilty for being wrong. Does that make sense?

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9 hours ago, Phi for All said:

You're looking for guilt, I think, not shame. Shame is a result of feeling guilty because people found out about something shameful you've done. 

Guilt is very important, I agree, in the proper proportions. It keeps us from doing things we know we shouldn't do, and helps us formulate right and wrong. Guilt is the responsibility you feel for your part in something, and shame is feeling guilty for being wrong. Does that make sense?

That's it. Thank you.

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A sense of guilt is largely determined by the environment in which one is raised, both the close environment of family and friends, and the wider cultural environment of the society one lives in. I would argue that some of this guilt is rather trivial and silly. As an example I recall an Australian friend being deeply offended by the occupants of high rise flats in Singapore actually hanging their washing out of the flat windows to dry. "That would never happen in Australia!"

We need to be careful what we believe justifies a feeling of guilt lest we be guilty of intolerance.

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13 hours ago, Enric said:

It's important because it stops crimes, poor education, force, violence, bad attitudes, etc... And to talk with a shameless it's not the same that to talk with a person with a degree of natural shame. It's glory.

Guilt plays a less important role than you suggest here. For example, I doubt guilt stops any crimes. Good morals/ethics limit some crime. However, moral messages differ slightly from religion to religion, but needs and wants perceived to be needs often overrule morals/ethics. For example, capitalism trumpets the value of making money over all other things, and some people ignore their moral/ethical training to make large amounts of money (a perceived need). On the other side of capitalism, the homeless may aspire to make money and live the capitalist dream, but are blocked somehow, perhaps sickness, drugs, or luck. The homeless may steal food, clothing or shelter because they really need these things, but stealing is neither moral or ethical. I think the issues you mentioned are far more complex to suggest that stronger guilt, shame, morals or ethics will eliminate the crime and malfeasance as you suggested.

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12 hours ago, Phi for All said:

You're looking for guilt, I think, not shame. Shame is a result of feeling guilty because people found out about something shameful you've done. 

Guilt is very important, I agree, in the proper proportions. It keeps us from doing things we know we shouldn't do, and helps us formulate right and wrong. Guilt is the responsibility you feel for your part in something, and shame is feeling guilty for being wrong. Does that make sense?

How can somebody feeling guilty prior committing crime or other wrong thing?

Some people are feeling guilty for not doing something f.e. not helping somebody who needed it immediately, which resulted in his/her death.

But it's after the fact, not prior it.

Can you give example when somebody is feeling guilty prior event.. ?

 

Majority of crimes, or other wrongdoings, are accidents. f.e. argue is getting out of control, resulting in fight between people, there is escalation (especially dangerous in environment with easy access to firearms), and in the worst case ending up in somebody death. Intellectual part of brain didn't manage to calm down emotional part of brain.

Minority of crimes are planned a long time prior event.

 

I believe so intellectual people are less violent, than emotional people. It's correlated to education of people.

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2 hours ago, Sensei said:

Can you give example when somebody is feeling guilty prior event.. ?

The pragmatic solution to a difficult problem may require that I lie. Since this is counter to my preferred behaviour I shall feel guilty in advance. 

I know people who, on a diet, cannot resist eating cheescake. They feel guilty before, during and after.

Many more examples exist.

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Posted (edited)

One obvious example: The current US President and those closest to him appear to feel no shame or compunction whatsoever about lying and telling blatant untruths. This erodes our ability to communicate using a common set of facts, fractures our sense of community, and harms our democratic institutions.

More broadly: We seem to care less about someone's behavior or speech (or lack of morality) if we feel they are part of "our tribe," in part because these feelings and reactions are tied up deeply within our sense of self and identity.

Research shows consistently that we're more likely to rationalize what immoral actors and tellers of untruth are doing and saying if we happen to feel that they're "one of us." Brain scans even show the critical thinking centers and BS-detectors in our brains become more heavily activated if we identify that person is an "other." We tend not to impose penalties as readily on people "like us" as we do on people who are "different," so those people "like us" ultimately have no reason to self-censor or change their approach via feelings of shame.

The logic is simple. If the community around us refuses to hold us accountable for our words and actions, then why bother feeling any shame? What we're doing is supported and even sanctioned by our tribe, however shame is generally about protecting our position and acceptance within that tribe (it's basically a mechanism to ensure we're not ostracized and don't face a loss of resources or potential mates). If what we're doing doesn't cause a loss of group acceptance, access to resources, or mating opportunities, then why bother feeling shame or changing our actions and words at all?

That said... I suggest that the loss of shame is just a symptom. It's the loss of accountability and social norms that is the real problem with which we must grapple.

 

Edited by iNow
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4 hours ago, Sensei said:

How can somebody feeling guilty prior committing crime or other wrong thing?

I see my father's face (not the smiling one) anytime I even think about doing anything illegal. 

Guilt is what you feel whether you've done the wrong thing or only thought about doing it, but shame is what you should feel when you've done wrong and get caught. Shame leads to remorse, and that's what many courts look for with regard to sentencing. Are you ashamed of what you've done, and wish you hadn't done it? If you're not, you don't deserve leniency.

I would suggest it's hard for the ultra-wealthy to feel much guilt or shame. Money helps make things not illegal, it pays for spin to justify your means, and cushions you from the reality most of us face when we break the law.

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While I agree with Phi for All and iNow i also wonder if my feeling aren't naive. Like the saying "the one who loves least has the most control in a relationship". Many societies throughout history succeeded by shamelessly or guiltlessly exploiting others. History is written by the winners so to this day we celebrate many murderous sociopaths as great leaders. Lying, manipulating, and being cold blooded enough to murder innocent people has been an extremely useful evolutionary trait it seems. Seems all our "great" societies were built on great deceptions, crimes, or betrayals.

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"the one who loves least has the most control in a relationship".

lol that hurts

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2 hours ago, Ten oz said:

While I agree with Phi for All and iNow i also wonder if my feeling aren't naive. Like the saying "the one who loves least has the most control in a relationship". Many societies throughout history succeeded by shamelessly or guiltlessly exploiting others. History is written by the winners so to this day we celebrate many murderous sociopaths as great leaders. Lying, manipulating, and being cold blooded enough to murder innocent people has been an extremely useful evolutionary trait it seems. Seems all our "great" societies were built on great deceptions, crimes, or betrayals.

In wars where leaders have a more ruthless yet legal set of rules, the cause for guilt from aggressive actions is removed/reduced. But I think this ruthless aggressiveness is less necessary and more harmful as nations grow bigger and more sophisticated. I think we've grown past the point where it's an effective trait for society as a whole, since modern relationships between nations are so much more complicated. 

It's still a mindset that's used quite often, but I think it's almost always used to satisfy a narrow group agenda that requires force as opposed to appealing to moral stances the majority of us might have. A lack of shame/guilt may cause more rapid advancement of a certain cause or movement, but over time guilt often forces a society to acknowledge their weaknesses and work to overcome them.

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32 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

In wars where leaders have a more ruthless yet legal set of rules, the cause for guilt from aggressive actions is removed/reduced. But I think this ruthless aggressiveness is less necessary and more harmful as nations grow bigger and more sophisticated. I think we've grown past the point where it's an effective trait for society as a whole, since modern relationships between nations are so much more complicated. 

It's still a mindset that's used quite often, but I think it's almost always used to satisfy a narrow group agenda that requires force as opposed to appealing to moral stances the majority of us might have. A lack of shame/guilt may cause more rapid advancement of a certain cause or movement, but over time guilt often forces a society to acknowledge their weaknesses and work to overcome them.

It is all perspective though isn't it? Who writes the legal set of rules often determines who views those rules as fair. The U.S. is 5% of the world's population and consumes 25% of the world's resources. Some around the world consider that shameful or something to feel guilty about. The top 10% of wealthiest families in the world own 92% of the world's stock markets; "greed is good". Trump Twitter trolled his way to elected office and the GOP got themselves a lifetime SCOTUS appointment after shamelessly blocking Obama's pick for a year. 

 

I agree with you in spirit. I certainly wish what you are saying was absolute but it doesn't seem to be. Those without shame, without guilt, and etc certainly seem to be reaping the benefits of it. 

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I don't think it's a lack of guilt or shame. It's justifying that guilt and shame, avoiding it and deeming it as something else. It's so easy to justify guilt when you are a believer of yourself, saying "if they were in my place, they would have done the same thing." 

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Another force at work here may be the "scales of justice" justification. Shameful actions become justified if the perpetrator is wealthy enough to escape the mob, and has also done a great deal of perceived good in perspective. The worst polluters on the planet often are praised for the jobs they add to the economy. In their minds, it probably all balances, or even tips in their favor.

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On 8/8/2017 at 2:12 PM, Enric said:

I mean the contrary of 'shameless'. An attitude. Maybe 'shy' is not the correct word.

It's important because it stops crimes, poor education, force, violence, bad attitudes, etc... And to talk with a shameless it's not the same that to talk with a person with a degree of natural shame. It's glory.

Guilt doesn't stop crimes. Or poor education. Or force. Or violence. Or bad attitudes. Or much. 

The majority of things happen because there is a force driving it. Rage, passion, anger, need, hunger, hopelessness, depression, etc. Guilt is something that happens as a result. A result can't change the event. Event then result. It can however, influence future events. But then, that depends on the level of guilt. And believe plays an important role too.

Take a school student who is feeling guilty about failing an exam.

Actually, two.

1. The student feels guilty, but knows he could do better. So he studies more and gets a better grade on the next one.

2. The student feels guilty, but has been raised to believe he's stupid. With no hope, he doesn't study more and doesn't get a better grade on the next one.

 

I see it time and time again around me. It's expectations. And not "Do this or I'll get mad at you" expectations. I mean genuine disappointment because you actually expected better. So it's a lot more then just guilt.

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On ‎8‎/‎8‎/‎2017 at 10:29 AM, Enric said:

Shame (in 'shy' sense) is one of the best feelings of the human being. The modern lack of shame (media first guilties, but not the only ones) is the start of a lot of critical troubles of the modern society. Do you think the same? How to fight against this? Is it possible?

Enric;

I agree that this is a problem, and it is a modern problem. "How to fight against this?" I think the first thing to do would be to determine what the problem actually is -- to define it. I put a + on your second post because you did a better job of explaining the problem as you see it.

Although guilt is definitely associated with shame, it does not always cause shame, nor does it cause shamelessness, so this is not the problem. I suspect that the problem is cultural, and it is caused by a dependence on objectivity for truth, and a dismissal of subjectivity. In my opinion there are two direct causes for this dismissal of subjectivity and dependence on objectivity. The first is media, which gives an objective view of things and has become a very influential part of our lives. The second is that we are mixing truth and fact. We all know that facts are determined by what is objective, but lately we have started to confuse truth and fact, seeing them as the same thing, and forgetting that truth is essentially subjective.

Shame, in my opinion, is extremely subjective. It is caused by a denial or betrayal of the truth of who we are in the eyes of the self, or of family, or of friends and associates. It is extremely intimate and is felt when we betray someone who is very close to the truth of who we are, or who we are expected to be.

The closest feeling, in an objective sense, might be embarrassment. When we are embarrassed, we are shamed in an objective way, so that others are privy to our shame. Embarrassment is to be avoided, so what does this mean? Do we avoid anything that might be shameful, or do we just not get caught?

I think this might be the problem, the dismissal of subjective truths causes truth to be judged objectively, so it does not exist unless it is witnessed. So being shameless does not really matter because it is not known objectively; and therefore, does not really exist. Just like humility does not actually exist, nor does integrity. 

I have seen many internal subjective truths being set aside over my lifetime. It is amazing that these internal subjective truths can not be heard, seen, or felt, but when they are not there, we notice. When they are there, we also notice.

Gee

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I agree with many of the previous posts. Many of the people in power in the US at both federal and state levels are corrupted by big money from the super wealthy. These "leaders" are stealing from the general population legally because our laws are perverted by greed. Shit flows downhill, so our culture has become corrupt. If we can pass an amendment to remove big money from politics, the people can take control again and make fair laws, and justice can flow down hill.

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6 hours ago, EdEarl said:

I agree with many of the previous posts. Many of the people in power in the US at both federal and state levels are corrupted by big money from the super wealthy. These "leaders" are stealing from the general population legally because our laws are perverted by greed. Shit flows downhill, so our culture has become corrupt. If we can pass an amendment to remove big money from politics, the people can take control again and make fair laws, and justice can flow down hill.

I very much doubt justice has an uphill trajectory, since the predominant culture, of the west, is revenge; the two are very uncomfortable bedfellows...

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8 hours ago, EdEarl said:

I agree with many of the previous posts. Many of the people in power in the US at both federal and state levels are corrupted by big money from the super wealthy. These "leaders" are stealing from the general population legally because our laws are perverted by greed. Shit flows downhill, so our culture has become corrupt. If we can pass an amendment to remove big money from politics, the people can take control again and make fair laws, and justice can flow down hill.

What's so sad is that nearly everyone acknowledges this but still votes against their own self interest out of bigotry and or self righteousness. As dimreepr said we are a culture fixated on revenge. Many people vote in a vengeful way with the intent on hurting, not improving, things. 

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59 minutes ago, Ten oz said:

What's so sad is that nearly everyone acknowledges this but still votes against their own self interest out of bigotry and or self righteousness. As dimreepr said we are a culture fixated on revenge. Many people vote in a vengeful way with the intent on hurting, not improving, things. 

Anger finds an outlet. Perhaps if we remove a source of anger, the corruption, people can be gentler. We must try to break the circle of violence. Once before during the great depression, the people voted resoundingly for a progressive candidate, Franklin D. Roosevelt. I'm afraid it will require similar circumstances, and automation is rapidly eliminating jobs. If there are Hoovervilles again, I believe the voters will overthrow the oligarchy.

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1 hour ago, EdEarl said:

Anger finds an outlet. Perhaps if we remove a source of anger, the corruption, people can be gentler. We must try to break the circle of violence. Once before during the great depression, the people voted resoundingly for a progressive candidate, Franklin D. Roosevelt. I'm afraid it will require similar circumstances, and automation is rapidly eliminating jobs. If there are Hoovervilles again, I believe the voters will overthrow the oligarchy.

Segregation, Japanese interment, and etc existed under FDR. Anger still had its outlet. 

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