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Why Is Shame So Powerful?

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posted on May, 1 2015 @ 01:01 PM

originally posted by: quantumist
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.

Thank God I'm a psychopath. I get to form opinions and think for myself.

posted on May, 1 2015 @ 01:34 PM
a reply to: Astrocyte

The question is not whether we conceive our [emotional] perceptions, that is, that we are co-creators of our own conception(s), but whether or not our conceptions are of Truth.

If what we perceive to be shameful is, in an absolute sense, truly shameful, then to deny yourself perception/awareness of it (what is shameful) would be tantamount to the death of Truth in you (your awareness of shames truth) -- you would effectively be killing your own conception [of Truth], your own enlightenment, and be begotten of a lie / a misconception.

Also, what should be evident, from your own line of thinking, is that, it is the awareness which conceives the body/images of things perceived, and not the other way around -- the body is simply the image of your awareness - it is what has been conceived (imaged) by your perceptions/conceptions [of your will/spirit/desire].

You’re welcome.

posted on May, 2 2015 @ 09:35 AM

originally posted by: ImaFungi
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

In France it is common to use humor in mocking others. In the US (at least where I come from) we mock ourselves more often. The same way we understand the self deprecating humor is not to be taken literally, they understand the mocking of the other is not to be taken literally.

I made comments repeatedly about my cousin being older than I (when in reality she is only a couple of months older) and (having had a few glasses of wine), my shame-limits should have been firing already, but instead they continued to try provoking her to respond with some sort of similar mock-snarkiness. The fact is, she is gorgeous and looks ten years younger than I. In France this would be understood as having been ironic. As it was she just got irritated. I think I hurt her feelings.I felt really bad the next day when she glared at me over the breakfast table. I felt ashamed that I didn't keep appropriate behaviors in their appropriate context.

Gotta keep 'em separated, those shame boundries.

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. when I am in the grocery store line and I offer someone else to move ahead of me because they only have two items and I have a full cart.
Or I share my pastry with others, instead of eating it alone in front of them. Or tell the cashier they gave me too much change and give back the excess, instead of remaining silent and walking away with it.
I wouldn't make these choices if they really caused myself any harm or discomfort (if I was running late for an appointment, I wouldn't let the person in line go before) and wouldn't feel shame. But if I didn't do them, knowing I could have without it causing me any discomfort or problems at all, I would feel ashamed.

I feel shame whenever I do anything that is contrary to my personal principles of ethics.
Trying to respect others ethics is "good" to me , and when I don't because of ignorance, I don't feel ashamed. But in the case of my cousin, I knew the particular rules of appropriate behavior in that environment, so ignorance is not part of the equation. It was a loss of control over myself.

My deepest instincts and drives are not necessarily "wrong" - I want to bond with others, I want playful, affectionate interaction - that was all I was going for. (not a bad thing ). But it is like an animal in the world of humans- it needs a mind familiar with human systems, to direct it towards the behavior best adapted to specific environments and contexts.
That day? My inner dog was excited to see others and went around putting his filthy feet on their shoulders and licking their face, because that is allowed with some people. The human mind master was not there letting him know it is not allowed with these people and different actions need to be done to greet and bond!

posted on May, 2 2015 @ 10:35 AM
a reply to: ImaFungi
and bluesma

ur question and the answer u have been given

so what do u think ?

I was actually expecting a more notorious answer
yet what u have been given is so gently subtle. if I combine that with other posts I read from bluesma now I picture the person like at least six people in one bundle
also I don't know why really but I would never pick France bluesma u sound so much more like an American I can't pick any frenchness in u..

posted on May, 2 2015 @ 12:52 PM
a reply to: Bluesma

I dont want to dissect your psychology, but I am interested in psychology, and the story you have just told, I am thankful for you to have shared it, and hopefully I dont make you regret that.

When I imagine that story of you at the wedding; first of all, any where in the world there are overlaps in kinds of humor, maybe depending on how close knit and tight you are with a friend, and ones character, will determine the ways in which they playfully insult one another. So on some level I can understand the desire to connect with another person, by using humor as a tool, that you wanted to connect with her in some way, say something, but what is there to say really in that situation, not much, talk about recent events, talk about yourself, talk about past events, tell her how happy you are for her, how nice she looks, thats really it, so you wanted to feel the connection of close friendship, and so perhaps you jumped over some boundaries and the only thing you had to feel a connection was to try to relate information between you, in a humorous way, with the hope of creating that connection in the moment. I am wondering, if you did ever apologize to her. It is also surprising because you are such an intelligent, deep and curious person, but I can assume that in public, away from places like ATS, you have to wear a mask, that you have to keep notice of what kind of weird things you might say and notice about situations, and this might be a strain on you (i.e. talking about conspiracies and deep philosophical insights at a wedding, maybe a no no). To me it is something to note, how you are so certain that your behavior was in line, and that you were only mistaken on a cultural level, and that there might not have been something deeper within your psychology that caused the exact reactions and events. Generally, that you may have just in some way be jealous (or envious, I can never remember which is which and where), I think that may be a common thing with females and weddings, the attention, the glamour, the excitement, the beauty, the hope, the liveliness, and because you are something of an alpha female, even though you do always keep your best to keep your fierceness under wraps, it is possible some of your deep emotions were able to come out, in a way that you convinced yourself that your humor was harmless. Now it is possible you are 100% innocent, and truly thought and believed that you could not possibly have hurt her feelings, I am only completely speculating on a very interesting example of complex human nature, I do hope you dont mind me doing so, or that I dont offend you. But it is also possible, if even the tiniest part of you, wanted to in some way hurt her, to knock her down a peg. It takes the strongest of us to admit these potentially dark and all too natural things about ourselves. I remember when I first read what you said, and then how you swear to never drink alcohol in public again, I felt sorry, that something you may enjoy care free, spending time at a restaurant with friends in public, and drinking you can no longer experience because of this incident. And I suppose, I am well aware of how alcohol 'allows' us to lose control, of our most controlling selves, I suspect the reason of which it is so often drunk, it can potentially create actions in and of us that 'are not our selves', but I dont know if we can escape the potential fact that what comes out of us was in us. Of course it messes with our better judgement... well back to the situation, what you said isnt all that offensive in any way. 'she is a bit older'. It could have stemmed from as you say, her appearing younger than you and being older, maybe insulted you, and you wanted to appear as if you could handle this which hurt you, dignified by poking fun at your self. But we also must be able to understand the scenario from her perspective. Any way, it is hardly the most dramatic event to occur at a wedding in the history of them, it is just that recently I am committed to some thinking and writing, and I am something of obsessed with the nature of human nature, so I could not help thinking about all the potentials of this intriguing story you hinted at and shared. I am sorry if I caused you any strife at all, know that I would not want you to feel bad in any way ever, and that the thought of even my words causing you bad feelings causes me bad feelings, so for my sake, be happy and well.

posted on May, 2 2015 @ 01:16 PM
a reply to: Bleeeeep

I think we are so busy defending ourselves or our self image that we do not have the time or the energy to begin looking at our true selves, who we really are.

Kind Regards,


posted on May, 2 2015 @ 01:27 PM
a reply to: ImaFungi

I always have this quote in mind

there is always truth in jest..
70% of the things u joke about is really what u think

just kidding

posted on May, 2 2015 @ 01:32 PM
a reply to: Astrocyte

Acceptance...pure and simple.

From an evolutionary standpoint, being accepted by one's peers is important for many reasons, basic survival, security, food and identity..of course, mating and passing on one's genetics is also quite important too!

All of the above requires acceptance from the other within the community, without it, you'd be left out in the cold - literally!

We feel ashamed for many reasons, most of them are socially orientated, but crucially - shame is a close cousin of fear.

Fear that we will not be, or no longer have the acceptance of our peers, and without that acceptance we could be out of the group and on our own and lose out on all the benefits being a part of a community would bring.

edit on 2-5-2015 by MysterX because: typo

posted on May, 2 2015 @ 01:35 PM

originally posted by: MimiSia
a reply to: ImaFungi

I always have this quote in mind

there is always truth in jest..
70% of the things u joke about is really what u think

just kidding

Well...about 30% kidding eh?

posted on May, 2 2015 @ 02:10 PM
a reply to: Astrocyte

S&F Astrocyte - really excellent and interesting question

What's the opposite of shame?

Punishment and reward - this is how society changes (or stays exactly the same). For good or ill I guess

We people can change things for the better by making people consider their long held and seldom questioned positions. We can also get away with murder by doing things that our friends, family or peers approve of and praise. The opposite is also true for both of these examples

I don't know why I feel shame.

We all do - all of us - even when we can't or won't admit it. It's the feeling we feel when we see ourselves suddenly through the eyes of others - and we don't like what we see

Interesting choice, that video you posted. Satire is another way to go. It's very hard to change our thinking

We're social animals - that's why shame and approval work. I've always thought that even if we have to inch our way towards a better tomorrow - we will find a way to do it. Just like this - shame and approval, shame and approval...
edit on 5/2/2015 by Spiramirabilis because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 2 2015 @ 03:02 PM
a reply to: Astrocyte
Insert all social contexts in any one person or group and you will have the gist of the various reasons for that. Basically its just another social construct which is taken in various contexts by various people. Really your vid which you linked says it all.

Its all silly play pretend till it actually effects you. Shame in most societies and peoples is basically taken as a joke which was inbreed into them, by those who feel no shame. Kind of like the woman who is wearing a leopard skin coat but is on the board for the preservation of wildlife. Shame in most large societies is used as a stopgap in the though process, or not at all.

There is the reality of a thing. And then there is the thing that people think there is. They are two different things, but as long as it does not effect you they can be believed to be the same thing. Shame I suppose at one time was an experiment on inbreeding some sort of logical fail-safes into people before they get all nutty and such and nitpick at each other for whatever various conflicting issues they represent and life off.

It has been shown to be a great detractor and almost completely useless in that effect. So much so that shame may be like Santa Claus or political campaigns, everybody says they do. But they do not. Its an attempt at cohesion and the reverberating echoes of the pasts. Its I think something which can only work in small groups, likely from back way when humans were living in towns and clans and such. In today's age, its just much rhetoric. And it has been proven time and time again that humans are not even capable of having more then a few friends, much less living in this whole giant city social context, and much less the whole online phenomenon, on TV and on government rhetoric it is used a lot to appeal to the tribal instincts in people.

Its another thing that has gotten taken out of context. Basically its another thing which may be added to the list of the million other things on that list, consisting of humanities reach far exceeding its grasp. Soon eventually it will turn into a parody of itself. Basically its that thing humans do for a bit, then flip the channel or go on with there everyday lifes.
edit on 3pmSaturdaypm022015f6pmSat, 02 May 2015 15:04:21 -0500 by galadofwarthethird because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 2 2015 @ 03:50 PM
a reply to: galadofwarthethird

You reminded me of this I came across and thought it was rather deep and true; and relevant to this conversation;

"The Japanese say you have three faces. The first face, you show to the world. The second face, you show to your close friends, and your family. The third face, you never show anyone. It is the truest reflection of who you are."

And I feel the idea of shame can be comprehended well, when considering that one generally does not behave and act the same towards and with their friends, as they might with their mother, as they might with their girlfriend. Why ought we hold back our truest selves at all at any time? Is it because we may not fully agree with aspects of our truest selves? Why may we tell a certain joke to our friends that we wouldnt tell to our mother, and are those reasons false, is there really no good reason or excuse as to why we wouldnt or shouldnt? Because we prefer to put on an act that we are an angel?

posted on May, 2 2015 @ 06:08 PM
a reply to: MysterX

your reverse psychology actualy made me realize that perhaps that is the reason why I hardly ever find people funny..

ur response was hillarious btw

or was it?

no really... i giggled out loud first time in at least 3 days.. so thx

posted on May, 2 2015 @ 06:57 PM

originally posted by: DAZ21
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.

so victims of rape and incest that deal with shame is that their failure then? I don't see how Naomi Klein and the really long and dry intro post has anything to do with Real Shame. It is inflicted, and it doesn't go away. But the "environment" is more important than that, I know. Like the toxic environment that tells people to get over it and that if they feel shame it is their fault. blujay posted the following:

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

in other words, get over it.

I should say some people should be ashamed of themselves, but those who most should feel it are not the ones who do but rather are the ones who either inflict it on others or blame the victims.

edit on 2-5-2015 by jessme2 because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 3 2015 @ 01:22 AM
a reply to: ImaFungi

I did not get chance to apologize to her- she kept avoiding me the rest of the night, and the next morning too- I actively searched her out a few times, to have a chance to apologize and explain, and could not get to her.

You are right, we are creatures with many different emotions and sentiments, on many levels – so it is not as clean cut as I may have made it sound. I am definitely admirative of her beauty…. And honestly, I often ask myself, what is the difference between admiration and jealousy?

Consider that a moment. When does admiration begin to feel like jealousy instead?

I observe that it has to do with the perceived responses from the object of your admiration. If the person you admire turns attention to you in a warm, kind, or affectionate way, it remains admiration (a positive thing) if they remain distant or cold towards you it becomes a more bitter type of feeling: jealousy.

I didn’t feel the negative form, but at that point, only the positive one.

But something I learned with time about this part of cultural interaction of the French, is that it provides a way of dispelling tensions of that type, however subtle they may be.

From so often being on the other side (being the American faced with friendly mockeries, feeling targeted with aggression and hurt) I’ve learned that if you respond in kind, and take part in the provocative banter, it actually brings you closer together! Any of those underlying subtle feelings are expressed out and eliminated, and what remains is only affection and a feeling of closeness.

It is somewhat like passing back and forth a hot potato until it cools down.
The hurt only happens when you refuse to throw it back. When your conditioned limits cause you to repress any reciprocation of the behaviour. You are stuck holding the hot potato in your hands.

This is part of their belief that that which remains unsaid is what grows in force and becomes the “real you” …. That mask under all the masks that you most identify with.
Therefore, on that principle, expressing more readily sentiments that are negative, and being more discrete with the more positive emotions, is part of making you more positive inside.

Our American ways of being super positive and enthousiastic makes them highly suspicious. If you are excitedly claiming everything is awesome and hugging everyone in your vicinity, showering them with compliments, then they think- if all her positive is outside like that, what is left inside? Inside, her real self, must be absolutely hateful!

The question of sincerity, ultimately, is not easy to discern in an objective way, as you point out. Ambivalence is a human condition we always find, the deeper we search. If we always have both negative and positive feelings about things, in the end, what becomes identified with as the “real” one, is the one that we choose to keep inside. So different cultures believe in throwing out there different kinds of feelings and behaviors.

Because I try to adapt to the whatever the cultural mode of behaviour is that will bring me closer to others, I tend to see that as a deeper, more base intent than any others we can talk about here.

Yes, that does make my interactions with others extremely complicated in my head- I am watching each others movements in each second, and trying to determine how they react to each word, posture, gesture… this is how I learned to speak and understand French, through observation and making associations. It is why I need alone time, because it can get quite stressful and tiring to be around others for long periods of time.

It also means that I cannot “let go” very often with things like alcohol- it gets in the way of that needed concentration and focus. I use to consider that I just couldn’t drink in France at a party, because I’d start acting too American, gushing over others with compliments which make them suspicious and uncomfortable (I am one of those that starts proclaiming to everyone that I love them soooooo mush),
But that last time, at the wedding, I found out that even back home now, I cannot let go because I have soaked up enough of the other culture that it is part of that “real me” now too, and starts to come out where it hasn’t it’s place!

The question of what we keep hidden, versus what we express openly, looked at in terms of what stays in and becomes the “real you” can be quite thought provoking though, and I think has some direct relation to the OP and the points he made!

The guys in the locker room who make big shows of being tough, insensitive, self centered and confident….imagine if all the opposite of those characteristics is what is being kept in, and is their “real” nature then?

posted on May, 3 2015 @ 02:33 AM

originally posted by: MimiSia
a reply to: ImaFungi

I always have this quote in mind

there is always truth in jest..
70% of the things u joke about is really what u think

just kidding

I can't say anything about the percentage, like I said in the post above, I believe we are, at the core rather ambivalent beings, and sort that out through our culturally conditioned attitudes (what we've been taught is acceptable behavior or not), as well as our individual personal values. So that there may be a measure of truth in jest, but ultimately, that doesn't eliminate the presence of it's contrary or opposing thought/feeling!

Perhaps, if you habitually keep in and repress a certain feeling for a long period of time, it may grow in force;... so that if, one day, you "let it out" it might seem very strong - that 70% percent perhaps.
But imagine if you habitually let fly with that feeling, from the very subtle beginnings of it's emergence, then it doesn't have the time to "stew" or ferment inside, becoming a larger and larger force (it might remain 5% or maybe systematically eliminated completely at it's point of emergence). being "regular" in your bowel movements.....

There are those that hoard material objects, and those that hoard emotions too.

The focus upon determination of self image according to what one does is part of a masculine valuing society,
"I am that which I do, and that others can observe me doing."

The feminine based value system puts more focus on identifying with the hidden and interior movements- "I am that which I feel inside, and that others cannot observe".

I have started a thread on Ambivalence here in the past because I find myself identifying with both, simultaneously, even though they can be quite opposing in nature. I am both light and dark. The only factor which calls me to choose to express one side or the other in any moment is...the other.

Consider this- I had a conversation with a long time friend yesterday. She is a mother of grown children, like me. Recently her father in law, very old now, moved in with them. He likes to read, he has a rich inner life, and likes being alone, and though he likes the presence of others and talking, he doesn't really like to have someone taking care of him.
She goes crazy because she feels she should be doing a lot of care for him- like making meals for him and stuff. He makes that difficult, not giving her any information on what he wants, needs or likes.
She is a busy woman, a first grade teacher, with a terribly handicapped sister, a widowed and dependent mother, and being the active backbone of the community and all her family members.
She doesn't really need more weight on her shoulders, more people to take care of, and yet cannot accept this mans refusal to let her do that for him too!

I asked, "well, if he doesn't want it, and by doing it, you are actually causing him discomfort and unhappiness, than your "care"... is it, actually? Is it for him, or for you?"
She analyzed herself for a second, and said, "it's for me. I have certain boundries in me concerning what I should or shouldn't do, and feel a repulsion to NOT taking care of others that is so strong, it literally drives me insane to sit with it."

That sounded to me like the "electric fence" of shame- which even overrides the desire and personal boundries of the other.

If you were in a culture where it was a tradtional sign of kindness or love to slap the persons face, could you overcome your fences and do it? Or would you choose to let them believe you hate them by refusing to slap?
What is ultimately more important? Your conditioned ideas on what certain gestures mean, or the intended communication of meaning?

posted on May, 3 2015 @ 02:54 AM

originally posted by: MimiSia

if I combine that with other posts I read from bluesma now I picture the person like at least six people in one bundle

That is about as accurate as you could get, in my mind.
Your previous compliments to me comfort my hope that I most often respect peoples ideas about appropriate or considerate behavior.... but that is all. That says nothing about whether or not I am a "good" or "bad" person at the core.
I can assure you, there are a few people on this site that hate me, and have expressed an image of me as being the exact opposite of what you expressed.

That is the key to not taking to heart either compliments nor criticism though - the recognition that one is of dual nature at the base. Remembering - this one has seen my light side, this one has seen my dark, but neither is 100% correct about "who I am".

posted on May, 3 2015 @ 03:21 AM
a reply to: ImaFungi
Well yes its all just masks. There is no real, unless you mean a real mask, for the majority of people that is true.

I really dont see how any of that has to do with shame unless there is a conflicting interest between all sides of the masks people wear. Even then its not shame, its simply illogical, the stop gap in there thought and facade, its contradicting egos more or less and all exists in there head, which face they should show the world which is in accordance to the believes they want to mirror.

If the world was made of one consistent thing all the time and at all times, then you would probably be dead or a zombie. Shame is just that things people apply to things about themselfs or other for various reasons and rationales. And in that pool of various reasons and rationales you have conflicting interests and outlooks. Basically its a game right and up to the point reality hits you.

posted on May, 3 2015 @ 03:21 AM
a reply to: Bluesma

yeah no I can easily say I see u as

as I am a child in presence of someone u know u better respect or ...
then some responses I completely wouldn't be able to guess ur age ...
and yes then there is also like a range from ultra feminen to strong and autocratic but not offensive or aggresive but rather just serious about life advise
the there is the ...... ??? the frenchmess in USA perhaps.. like pardon my # not really
and then I am yet to read the post on joking
edit on 3-5-2015 by MimiSia because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 3 2015 @ 03:44 AM
a reply to: MimiSia

Hm. Well, I am a capricorn, and being too serious, authoritarian, seemingly cold and harsh is commonly attributed to that sign.
I also have Gemini rising, which is associated with a characteristic mutability, curious and changeable, social butterflies who might show the darker or lighter twin at any time.

I would sometimes like to be more stable in the way I am perceived - that would make it so much easier for others!
But be so much less fun too......


(not to you directly but more generally taking part in the thread)
The point someone brought up about the "just get over it" attitude....should that be the advice given to a rapist or child molester? Hey, no regrets, forget about it and just go forward, be yourself, don't worry about what others feel or think about you and how your actions effect them!

Uh, wait....

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