Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Naked And Unashamed

Glory to God for All Things has a post well worth reading entitled "Naked And Unashamed."

The deepest and most primitive emotion of the human being is that of shame. It is the feeling that something is wrong with us. This should be distinguished from the feeling that we have done something wrong (that is called guilt). Shame is the feeling that we are something wrong. It is the first emotion ascribed to Adam and Eve as they hide in their shame. Shame makes us want to hide and cover ourselves for it reveals us in a wounded state and intensely vulnerable. It is the deep cry within us that says, “No! Don’t look at me!” It is also one of the major engines that drives the modern world. In a consumerist culture where emotions and passions are the primary tools of motivation, shame has taken a primary position.

“I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing that!” is the sound of shame translated into fashion sense. The embarrassment that accompanies “last year’s wardrobe” or “outdated” technology is a tool. The point is to get consumers to buy something. Of course, purchasing the stuff of life is a wholesome, normal activity: we must eat; we must clothe ourselves; we must have shelter. But in an economy whose basis is consumption, overconsumption is the normative rule. Simple need is insufficient to maintain a consumer economy. Deeper, more primal instincts are required in order to fuel the activities of consumption and debt.

Shame has become a source for the economic engines of our world. Most psychologists agree that shame is experienced as “unbearable.” We react quickly to rid ourselves of it. In most cases we inwardly change shame into another, more bearable emotion. On average, men turn shame into anger. If someone’s anger suddenly flashes at you, the most likely culprit involved is that you “shamed” them. This is what is meant (originally) by “giving offense.” Women, on average, translate shame into depression: they simply turn inward and feel unworthy, unloved, inadequate, ugly, fat, etc.

If shame is over-used, it only achieves anger and depression. The masters of shame (those who help drive the psychology of a consumer culture) are generally more subtle. The shaming involved in fashion dances along a tightrope that creates sufficient shame for shopping while stopping short of anger and depression. Shopping is self-medication for our culturally-induced shame...

Complete post here.

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