Shame is part of the human app.
Like most mammals with more advanced brains and sensitive nervous systems, we experience shame. This kind of shame is generated externally - usually as a form of punishment, especially for violation of herd/pack hierarchies and rules. Example: If you’ve ever scolded your dog, you can see his forlorn look, lowered head, and cowering. You see this in a variety of forms with humans as well.
Here’s the biggest difference; the one that causes the most anguish and problems …
Unlike other animals, we have a neocortex. Our neocortex generates a separate reality to operate within; that sets narratives and tells stories. The neocortex stores the ego, which compares, contrasts, and is heavily influenced by social conditioning. This means we can self-generate our own shame based on all of the negative inputs. I wrote about this last December in an essay called “Piece of Shit Doctrine”.
This kind of shame destroys the soul and is the causul source of addiction and violence. I’m certain that this is why David Hawkins’ Map of Consciousness puts shame at the very bottom of the consciousness spectrum. Tragically, it is this kind of shame that is weaponized by religion, ideologies and economic systems.
“Toxically shamed people tend to become more and more stagnant as life goes on. They live in a guarded, secretive and defensive way. They try to be more than human (perfect and controlling) or less than human (losing interest in life or stagnated in some addictive behavior).”
― John Bradshaw
(Hat tip to Ben Gibson for pointing me towards John Bradshaw’s work on shame.)
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