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Why Is Shame So Powerful?

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posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 12:42 AM
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Sometimes, in my more histrionic moments, I think the greatest fear mankind has, is not the fear of death, but the fear of shame.

Altogether, of course, the happy person thinks about death and naturally becomes startled. It's a grueling contrast, the happiness will come to an end. And then what?

Granted, that's a scary thought. But it's scary only from the general context of "feeling happy". The happiness like a stained glass window gives the 'color' to the perceiving mind. And that color tends to be fear and anxiety.

But shame, too, works up us in incredibly powerful ways - and so much more effectively than death, because it's meaning constitutes the 'gap' between what we allow ourselves to think and what we allow ourselves to feel.

I started this thread because I just finished watching a 9 minute preview of Naomi Kleins documentary "this changes everything".

I found it curious, my response. I essentially believe and can logically see how what Naomi is talking about, as seen by me, is logically correct. Yet, in listening to her voice, how she speaks, and the interviews she sets up, by and large, can come off as "cheesy". When we say "cheesy", we mean it makes a feel a certain way. And the 'way" were referring to is embarrassment, that is, a type of shame.

Watch here if you want:



So much of our assumptions about the world - how we feel - is completely "structured into us" by our immediate family dynamics and our relationship to the wider society. This gives any emotional response the quality of being 'arbitrary'. Having bad habits, so often in today's day and age, is naively taken as a "core" part of who one is. This of course is completely contradicted by the science of brain functioning. What we see of the world happens the medium of the brain. And since the brains dynamics follow in the footsteps of our attending mind, if we allow ourselves to think something differently, we will. And if we do it enough, our relationship to the experience will change overtime. New meanings will 'moor' new affective and bodily responses to replaced old conditioning.

That's the logic for why I psychologically, and intellectually, resist enacting the shame I feel.

I don't know why I feel shame. I'm assuming it has to do with my relationship with my mother and the control she wielded over me, psychologically, emotionally and physically. It eventually "moved" the system of my mind towards a state of anxiety and tension in moderately stressful situations. Having never been treated in a way that would encourage the growth of an '"agentic" mind, attuned to it's emotional states and feeling what we call a "self-concept" or an "ego". This really is a skill that is gained via a system of relationships that provoke state organizations in other minds.

Yet, again, when I feel that shame, I feel this "shadow" of a feeling in me reminiscent of the voices and views of the guys I grew up with. Words like "gay" kept popping in my mind. That's sort of the word my generation used for "stupid", "lame", "exaggerated", "liberal idiocy", "bleeding heart liberals". And with these sorts of thoughts, I can feel a "projection" of a phony strength into where the implicit shame resides.

Why do people always enact this feeling? Why, when they feel shame, do people immediately overlook it, so quick, literally a .100 millesecond quality of experience - the veritable smallest "cycle" of neuroelectric rhythms - and immediately "take in" the socially learned response of, "that's gay"?

People often have no awareness of how cliches and habits of thought and experience are used by the self-system to defend against the negative feelings we experience.

The Mind Is Pragmatic



The body is pragmatic. Everything about it reflects what the organism as a whole does. Organisms are essentially a collective 'memory' of interactions between an acting self and the environmental forces that impinge on its existence. In this way, every chemical element in the environmental surround and every chemical that makes up the biochemistry of an organism has "evolved" together. And at every level of 'evolution', a new property "emerges" at a higher level, yet remains entirely dependent on the conditions which subtends their existence.

If you follow this process long enough, the logic of an atmosphere that allows "autopoeisis" - or the development of self-organized life - leads to 'higher levels' of a similar organization, from single cells to multi-cellular, from multicellular to social, from social to symbolic. The dynamics are essentially the same: with evolution, "new" and more "complex" organizations come into being as 'expansions' of previous models.

This level can only be appreciated ontologically. And it can be demonstrated most plausibly in how the human mind 'builds itself'. The mind is basically designed to be just as pragmatic as the body. Just as we have an immune system that "learns" the bacteria and viruses outside of us, so too do we have a mind that responds in instinctive ways to the presence of certain feelings.

It's hard to really experience this, because we aren't as a culture particularly attuned in this way. But basically anytime we find our minds moving "this" way, it is often related to a feeling that signifies some -"negative", to the + "positive" of the enacted motion. Emotion might as well symbolize Enactive MOTION. The motion begins from within as a 'targeted' lens of thought. A particular subject matter, let's say.

Let's say we were all together and we were watching Naomi Kleins 9 minute introduction to her soon-to-be-released documentary. How many of us would cringe with discomfort? And for those of us who do, would we ever care to probe the significance of a feeling that calls into being thoughts that challenge our open curiosity? Curiosity is broken down by these emotions when people - the very "milieu", or "logic" of the feeling of shame - are around us. It takes a great deal of self-awareness, a mind that trains itself to align it's experience to a "truer" - and more compassionate - view.

Part of the depth of shame is how symbolic it is. Kleins voice is so soft, womanly, tender. It also can come off as 'irritating' and 'weak' and 'pathetic sounding'. I have these emotions and I can see that they are "emergent properties" of the logic of my past relationships. But I think if I really want to realize the uniqueness of human experience, I should disidentify - sort of like going online to find the cheats for a game you're playing - and by doing so, exercise 'frontal lobe' authority over subcortically driven neural dynamics.

Were born with defensive minds, and enter a culture that only reinforces these habits. But the logic of the nervous system - and the molecular dynamics of cellular/epigenetic gene regulation - tells us that these dynamics are truly nothing more than "creations" of an unreflective minds. Just knowing, as we now do, that "relational" experiences influence how genes express themselves, flips the whole genetic causation argument on its head. It is now squarely and more properly the human mind, and how it relates with it's experience - either known, or not known, whether there will be mindful reflection on the 'object' of it's experience, or not (which simply ignores the logic all together) - that decides how the future will be.




posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 12:53 AM
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Shame is wired into our brains as an evolutionary safeguard for maintaining social cohesion. Only psychopaths are completely free from it. And experiences in life can strengthen the shame pathways strongly.

However, we have been given the power to change our brains and minds, but it requires time, effort, concentration and meditation. To gain freedom from shame, one should focus on it, trying to see it as it truly is, when it is seen, accept it, and then let it go. It will never be permanently gone, but when it is let go once, the process becomes far easier. It is a game of perspective. Once you realize your place in the universe(you are very small) you realize shame has no power, after all it's is a lower feeling of a very small being, and therefore has no power in the grand scheme of things.



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 01:04 AM
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a reply to: Astrocyte

Why is shame so powerful? Imagine a human world with absolutely 0 shame. The concept of monkeydom pops into my head. Then we see why shame is so powerful, important and desired. It is pretty much like electrified guard rails, shame being opposite of pleasure more on the side of pain, which as an experienced feeling burns itself into our memories, in which we then relate that bad feeling towards contexts which may result in that bad feeling, so that we may attempt to steer clear from such contexts which may result in the painful experience. So shame, it seems to me, is a tool used for human betterment. To aid in our feelings and achievements of responsibility, progression, goodness and order.



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 01:43 AM
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Shame is a basic fundamental element of humanity, that more than likely developed along side the capacity to love. Without it we would not experience love, or happiness. Shame allows us the opportunity to acquire more love and happiness through the pain of accepting we are not perfect if not, it keeps Grace at bay, waiting for your love and forgiveness. Shame is like a naughty child waiting for a hug. Give it and be done with it.



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 01:46 AM
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I think the other two posters summed it up rather well. I like the visual of an electric fence. We form certain limitations on socially appropriate or inappropriate behavior, and our instinctual drive towards belongingness makes us jump back from those as if we were zapped.

That is useful…. As long as you don’t change societies or culture! I still struggle with my own set up “fences” that are in different places than those of my current environment.

I feel shame for things those around me don’t, and they feel shame for things I don’t.
That changes slowly, as experiences in interaction are repeated, but entails actually doing the targeted action repeatedly and recording in memory the reactions of others.

This is also one of the ways being bilingual ends up creating a sense of two ego’s or selves- they literally have different boundries, and you have to move into one or the other depending upon environment. I cannot act the same with French and Americans.
Had a bit to drink at my brothers wedding, and some French type humor came out, but all it did was piss off my cousin, who didn’t “get” it. I try to avoid drinking alcohol around others now- my two personas tend to bleed into each other.

Now I sound schizo! But the reality is, the actual feeling of shame arises within certain contexts, around certain people, and then become inexistent around others! So they are not impossible to move.

edit on 30-4-2015 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 03:33 AM
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a reply to: Astrocyte

S&F. (If I could get it to work).

One of the best threads on here today. Thanks for putting up Naomi Klein she is such an important and brilliant contributor towards getting things put right. Having looked her up and reading about her perspective on so many things
I hope her popularity grows and grows. The other women speaking on her video are equally contributing and putting things into perspective.

I agree with the above contributors in what they say. I would add that humans don't especially like being alone and when one quietly leaves society and carves out a living on their own, I suspect its because they have been 'betrayed' in some way or another close to their hearts.

I have an inner voice which instinctively tells me when to 'feel uncomfortable' with my actions. Unfortunately it screams when it hears bull--it from the religious and politicians or vested interest coming my way or out in the public domain. So I think that we have our own inner side hidden beneath all the conditioning and brain washing that is subtly going on in our societies, in order simply to make us more governable, keep working to pay taxes and basically clones of what the current psychopathic elite want in order to elongate their stay in power.

Our protests have not been seen before by 'authority' and I am glad they are getting bigger and bigger because this planet is good to us and we need to keep ourselves and life on it safe, which those whose hearts are linked to money only have no concern about.



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 05:15 AM
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Shame is pretty basic to understand really.

Shame is what we feel when we are inadequate or fail in some manner.

Now if we use the common phrase, 'survival of the fittest' It should start to be self explanatory.

If one is incapable of meeting a required mark set by a multitude of individuals, then one feels shame.

It's basically a failure of the individual to meet the requirements of human nature, which is why it's so strong.

These feelings can then be used to empower the individual, until they overcome that which caused them shame.



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 08:57 AM
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a reply to: Astrocyte
Shame just comes from hanging out in the past. Actually, once you've survived something, it's done, over, you've learned all you need to learn from it. Shame is like that luscious place of victimhood that so many of us love to revel in.

Once you've realized what's done really is done, your shame will evaporate. It's easier said than done, because we are so programmed to chew on something, anything .... once you get past the void of not feeling like a victim, you start to see how our whole life is a fun movie directed only by us.

Choose more, do less



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 12:12 PM
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a reply to: Astrocyte

I believe that honesty really is the best policy but how honest am I?

I feel ashamed to be myself because I secretly wish for things which i think are wrong!

Recently I slept with a women who I now feel bad about because I for some reason do not want to talk to her anymore.

The list goes on so it is just my own behavior and desires which cause me to feel bad about myself.

Somehow though, even armed with this realization i still find new ways to make myself feel bad : )



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 12:17 PM
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If was given the choice to either parade around town naked with a traffic cone in my arse, or die. I would choose the former, and not the latter.

Shame is a temporary condition. Death is permanent.

People may perceive shame as more fearful than death, but only because the healthy human mind naturally doesn't think about death too often, and if it does, usually not for very long. Every action we take, however, can lead to shame, and so there's always that little shame grenade in the back of your mind.

Even in the face of the fear of shame, the fear of death is greater, especially when faced with it.



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 02:32 PM
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I feel blessed in my lack of ability to experience shame.
I've had a lot more fun than most people.



posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 11:55 PM
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a reply to: Astrocyte

i want to get into what u read
one reason I was thing about shame like few moments before I came randomly to ur post
I wanted some answers that I had no real opinion on.. because to me it is as is and I thought ultimately I do consciously recognize this particular emotion.. I do feels about it in a negative fashion it is restricting.. is contradicting to my ultimate goal of feeling completely free.. yet I somehow thought no there is nothing in this world not even me that in any particular moment I can change this emotion.. I can minimize this by avoiding others yet even on my own it can't be avoided because humans don't want to be alone.. so I thought to what extend does this affect me then I realized is equally so stupid of me to let myself feel this way yet it goes hand in hand with who I am or want to be with who I am and how I want them to see me.. so who knows


i want to understand what u said so badly
however I can not piece together
the points..
the death thing I cant understand really
I am terrified of death not because I have not achieved happiness but because I don't want to realize on my death bed I haven't done enough with my life.. but also have not come to living "free" of opinions situations that completely contradict me.. u know the u do it only cause u have to situations..

anyway
I can't puzzle together
the intro
to the video
to the what u feel about the video
to the ur past experience
back to the content of the video
to the people
to how the mind operates
so on

individually they are amazing interesting thoughts or points

but I don't understand it together and am desperately trying to
because ultimately the concept of shame was my issue right this moment of my life



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 12:11 AM
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ea reply to: skunkape23

(not talking the no shame = arrogance types) u know I think why some people don't because the dominant trait of this type of personality
is innocence.. tell me what u think

is bizzare to be in a company of such type totally rare people I only know one in real life and when u are
u go through such a range of emotions u learn so much about urself and u fall in love with the pure nature of creation and it's sinlessness
edit on 1-5-2015 by MimiSia because: (no reason given)

edit on 1-5-2015 by MimiSia because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 12:30 AM
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a reply to: Bluesma

interesting like for instance

u sound less schyzo then most
and from what and they way u responded to me and the responses u give around ats and just from that and having a little picture of ur life I can safely say

is actually funny
because I can right now tell u
there is absolutely nothing u could do that would make me go in a negative manner to think shame on u person (or what ever the shame thing is called)

like nothing no situation
if anything u would come out as hilarious or daring



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 12:38 AM
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a reply to: MimiSia

That's kind of you to say.
But I often say or do things which offend people, which make people feel badly, without that having been my intent.
That is what makes me feel shame at times.
Though that doesn't mean I get depressed about it, but I have a moment of wishing I had had better insight, better judgement, or just been less spontaneous.

It is a limiting thing, this feeling... but on the other hand, it is just the emotional experience of the boundries of other.
Our freedom stops where that of the other begins- it's like swimming along and bonking your head against someone else.
Oops! Ouch!
But then.... I am glad that there are others there, and that I become aware of them. Better late than never.



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 01:08 AM
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originally posted by: MimiSia
a reply to: Astrocyte

i want to understand what u said so badly
however I can not piece together
the points..

I can't puzzle together
the intro
to the video
to the what u feel about the video
to the ur past experience
back to the content of the video
to the people
to how the mind operates
so on

individually they are amazing interesting thoughts or points

but I don't understand it together and am desperately trying to
because ultimately the concept of shame was my issue right this moment of my life


This questioning stimulated me to ask myself- did I correctly understand the points made?
It is true, the first time I read it, it was a bit confusing.
Then, my mind shifted into it's "masculine mode"... (perhaps another one of my interior entities, formed based on the men I love in my life,) and the pieces flew together.
But perhaps I am wrong?

What I heard was more struggle with your "feminine" side, OP?
The taunts of other men, the accusations of being liberal, bleeding heart, gentle, - like the woman in that video.
The characterizations of being powerless, weak, passive....
And your feeling that this sensitive side of you is to blame on your relationship with your mother, and how it impacted your psyche....?

This is more often a masculine type of shame than feminine. More women I know will feel shame about NOT being sensitive, gentle, caring. My shame is feeling like a bull in a china shop.

There is power over others- which males are more often directed towards searching,
and power over self, which women are more often directed towards.
I feel powerful when I have reined in my own drives to dominate others, to fulfill my own appetites at the expense of others.
When those drives are leading, I feel powerless. Even if others see me as powerful outside, I am ashamed of my internal loss of control and mastership.


If you were highly influenced by your mother, I can see how this would set up some internal conflicts with the way society pushes one to "be a man" in a certain way, while ones upbringing draws us towards being so in a different way!
Push it forward and out! Rein it in and turn it within! Push me pull you. Do it or don't, you'll regret it either way....
edit on 1-5-2015 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 04:07 AM
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a reply to: Bluesma

yes I agree with the but
like what ever I would be told or reassured or what ever.. ultimately nothing not even myself can get over the shame stuff out of my head only time itself I guess

Our freedom stops where that of the other begins

this is really beautiful statement it gave me goosebumps I don't even fully get it it just feels good weird like the swimming image u gave alongside to it the fact that it still gives me enough space for my own freedom feels ok like I then don't mind sharing or being bumped into or bumping into others (unless I would be looked down upon because of it even after I appologised.. oh no this now brings me back to shame feeling here we go.. :/)



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 04:16 AM
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I'm off tomorrow.
I think I may go jog down the beach wearing a Speedo and rainbow afro wig.
If I make one person laugh I will have accomplished a great thing.



posted on May, 1 2015 @ 09:15 AM
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a reply to: Bluesma

the reanalysis was awesome
I have no idea about the OP's gender I assumed they are a female the video was awesome but content was totally unexpected.
so with ur additional psychology yes it now makes way more sense.. gender wise it goes both ways too. I am just slow op. but please confirm..
I actually find it amazing that people (specially with an emotion such as shame) can put this type of feeling into actual words and then actually analyze the emotion with more words that are real words structured into logical(?) sentences and totally comprehensible.. no way I could do that some talent.. my brain just scrambles it is even hard to read it but once I properly do it is an amazing read..

omg specially op sorry for my grammar so awful just so tired was writing it with one eye open(this too).. mmm scrambled brains



edit on 1-5-2015 by MimiSia because: (no reason given)

edit on 1-5-2015 by MimiSia because: (no reason given)

edit on 1-5-2015 by MimiSia because: (no reason given)

edit on 1-5-2015 by MimiSia because: how embarrassing




posted on May, 1 2015 @ 12:26 PM
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a reply to: Bluesma

When I first read this;

"Had a bit to drink at my brothers wedding, and some French type humor came out, but all it did was piss off my cousin, who didn’t “get” it."

I wanted to ask but I didnt, and now being back on this thread I am so curious if you wouldnt mind saying, what type of humor occured, or can you share what are the things you said and did? Please dont be ashamed to say



Also this;

"I feel powerful when I have reined in my own drives to dominate others, to fulfill my own appetites at the expense of others."

Give some examples please, purely for my curiosities sake.
edit on 1-5-2015 by ImaFungi because: (no reason given)




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