The Economy of Shame
The economy of shame is an economy of blackmail under any definition, and it is used to modify beliefs and the behaviors that flow from those beliefs. The ransom is always the same...conform or suffer the consequences.
Shame has one goal and one goal only and that is to make you believe, feel, think and act and believe that you're not good enough. If shame is successful in accomplishing this goal, the only destiny you'll reach is poverty and that poverty is found in all of our economies and most importantly the human spirit.
SSSThere are many different economies that we operate from, whether they be monetary, intellectual, emotional, physical, psychological, choice based economies or even how we spend our time for that matter. In fact, I would go as far as saying that any interaction between two or more parties or even an interaction with self is based on an economy of some kind. No matter what the economy or how it manifests its' transactions, shame is a dangerous form of leverage and the human spirit can break under its' pressure.
Control represents the ability to negotiate transactions and through that we gain or lose power. Shame represents the component of control and if it were eliminated from every transaction we make relationally, then the power acquired as a result would vanish. Everyone of us pretend not to see that we are operating from an economy of shame much less using shame as a means to acquire power. That is why we don't want to eliminate shame. If we did, it would threaten our predatory advantage and our personal acquisition of power.
Shame is currency and its' rate of exchange is relied upon more than the rate of exchange of any other currency and I would argue that it drives lesser currencies such as money. Shame creates wealth and poverty simultaneously. It is a defense and an advantage for those that enrich themselves by its' use.
We see this in predatory lending, institutions of learning in regards to indoctrination, emotional blackmail, bullying, political correctness, our choices and time, especially related to employment and retaining viability etc... and it really amounts to social blackmail. We negotiate with those who take our economies hostage under the threat of shame and social exclusion and sometimes even death.
Now, all economies have wealth and poverty and I want to just say that I am not against wealth creation of any kind. Everyone tries to acquire wealth and experience the ever increasing enhancement of life. What I am against is the get rich quick mentality that steamrolls everything in a person's path in an attempt to acquire wealth, regardless of the economy. I see a great deal of jack and the beanstalk get rich quick schemes that use a person's rights and choices against them to acquire wealth, and shame is used the same way to steamroll others for the sake of individual and collective beanstalks. Shame is the lowest common denominator no matter where we find poverty in any other economy. Whoever promotes the greatest shame simultaneously promotes the greatest poverty. Shame as control is how this wealth is gained and maintained. The poverty of the rich is, in fact, the poor that is created as a result. In other words, If you cannot create wealth without violating the rights and choices of another human being, then all you're creating is poverty and that poverty belongs only to those that use shame to enrich themselves while impoverishing others.
Shame is big business and has the potential to create wealth for those that know how to use it to subdue others. Shame is used as negative stimuli to modify behavior towards productivity and that productivity only benefits the one using shame as leverage. Power and corruption and its’ relation to shame is socially protected and we protect our use of shame at all costs because without it there is no power to lord over another. The acquisition of power is spearheaded by an economy of shame and supported in each and every cultural, social, economic, political and religious institution. In fact, I am convinced that if there exists a social construct, there also, is the influence of the ideologies associated with shame and its' power to impoverish. We have socially engineered our paralysis, not our motivation and it's time to mature.
Shame is exploitative and uses our greatest loves, fears, hopes and dreams against us to spur productivity that only benefits the one using shame. When a person zeros in on tactical targets, they are using another person’s contingencies against them. The people that use these tactics know exactly what they're doing. They are disenfranchising a person's rights and choices for the purpose of acquiring power as well as superiority in society. They do this by exploiting trust, and attacking personal dignity under the threat of exposure if compliance is not met.
Luke 13:6-8 NIV
6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’
8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and dung it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
We have been taught that shame is the great fertilizer of the soul but in reality it is only the shit of life. It causes paralysis rather than genuine motivation. This is a motivation towards a productivity that only benefits the one using shame as a force to motivate towards cooperation. Moreover, it demands cooperation as a contingent for survival and existence. In other words, our productivity aligns itself with kissing the world's ass for the right to exist rather than a productivity that aligns itself with an experience of genuine appreciation and the motivation that flows from that.
Who uses this fertilizer? Bosses, spouses, all religions, all governments, society in general...we see it in political correctness and social justice campaigns, group associations, family systems, friends, strangers...online platforms. I mean, you tell me where it doesn't exist. Shame is social wealth creation that simultaneously creates poverty at the same time. It teaches us that we must kiss the world's ass for our social viability, our survival and our existence. It teaches us to negotiate with tactics that are no different from blackmail.
Just look at any famous psychological experiment. Is it any surprise that these experiments demonstrate the devastating effects of the negative stimuli designed to take control away from the subjects. That's what shame does, and not only that but we've taught ourselves to apply the findings of these experiments to social systems to exact outcomes that produce paralysis instead of genuine motivation. In the case of Curt Richter's rats and resilience, control is taken away and motivation and productivity is spurred by a water sprayer that forces the rats to either swim without rest or drown. Our lives are swim or die and most of us are one paycheck away from that reality. In the case of Martin Seligman's dogs and learned helplessness, control is taken away and motivation and productivity is spurred by an electrical current that creates opposing outcomes for dogs in the exact same situation, to teach the illusion of control to one dog while taking the illusion of control from another. This is easily evidenced in the use of tasers by police officers against citizens. You will comply. The use of shame corrupts the world with helplessness, takes advantage of resilience and promotes cruelty because if control can be taken away then we have no control. It causes a person to recoil away from the negative social stimuli that ultimately produces paralysis or a false sense of control that enforces cooperation or else, evidenced in the Stanford prison experiment. I don't like to see the world as existing in a prison made of shame but if you think that you don't operate from an economy of shame, simply test it and see what happens when you give up the right you afford to yourself to shame another person and watch how limited your interactions become and how much power over others you relinquish when you do so. Animals are afforded higher ethical standards than what we're willing to afford to each other as humans.
RWe are at a turning point in civilization where the information and technological age have intersected with each other and this makes everyone very visible to each other and naturally discriminative. As a consequence, local and global cultural conflicts are arising due to opposing views, various disparities between groups and even the issues surrounding differing cultural ways of life. Because social cohesion is necessary, shame is relied upon to enforce cooperation. Mutual appreciation doesn't rely on enforcement but rather encourages cooperation which is something we engaged in much more often before we had such high visibility. Now that everyone is made visible we use shame to establish superiority, hide our own flaws and create social wealth and we do this under the guise of having good internal values but all we're doing is teaching helplessness, destroying natural resilience and hindering growth and development by spurring withdrawal away from the negative stimuli of social blackmail. We are an impoverished generation that refuses to build social trust. Show lRBuilding social trust cannot be accomplished by promoting shame. Again it just makes you feel like you have to kiss the world's ass for your existence. I honestly believe that this is the primary motivation behind suicide in my opinion. It is the ultimate recoil away from the shame that the world we live in forces us to endure when we have to kiss the ass of the social systems we operate from or else.
RWe have manufactured a global culture of shame and the paralysis that it creates is dismissed as having no ill effects. We have become so desensitized by the common use of shame that we don't even feel guilt and that causes us to step away from what we truly value. A society without values is a society without guilt. A society that relies on shame to promote cooperation will never value anything. Shame teaches the use of behavioral blackmail whereas teaching values teaches the use of behavioral responsibility.
The time has come to see shame for what it is and once and for all reveal the true nature of its' primary goal, which is to acquire power and to make you feel, think, believe and act as though you're not good enough so as to modify behavior and cause a recoil effect away from the shame and to spur productivity in the form of compliance that only benefits the one promoting shame.Show less
RTake a look around the world and pick any issue faced by humanity and remove the shame. Now, ask yourself what does that issue look like without the shame? Replace shame with mutual appreciation and the world looks very different and I would argue better. Shame will never assuage suffering. Shame amplifies it. Shame cannot rescue humanity from its’ suffering because shame is its’ suffering and the only viable remedy is mutual appreciation as cooperation in a world where there is a healthy balance between individualism and collectivism and no benefit can be found in one without the other.
I've said many times...Give me a government that does not use shame as a means to modify behavior and I'll celebrate my freedom...Give me a society without shame and I'll contribute without being asked...Give me a religion without shame and I'll believe...Give me a life that allows me to be vulnerable without shame or fear of attack and I'll be happy.
Fire is more tolerable than shame.