Thursday, January 11, 2018

Shamed or ashamed

I learned a while back that some thinkers have thought that primitive cultures have relied on shame as a social tool while more advanced ones have used guilt.  I got to thinking about shame today. 

I have not been conscious of being shamed at any time in my life.  Meaning there has not been a time when a group whose opinion I cared about told me that I was a poor excuse for a human being and should be ashamed of being so…..whatever: lazy, corrupt, indifferent to my duties or something along that line.  If I myself hold the opinion that I am ugly, a loser or a failure in carrying out my duties, I am ashamed of myself. 

When you and your friends or some other group hisses and jeers, you are shaming me.  If I take your low opinions of me as a compliment because I feel you guys are stupid, wrong-thinking, duped, your name-calling and talking to others about my poor performance, my poor essential worth or my deserving of a low level of social rank might not mean too much.  I realize that if you get some big contributors who have bags of money to put negative words about me on tv, in the papers, and on the internet, I may suffer.  However, I may not feel ashamed.  I may feel emboldened and vindicated in my way of life and my opinions.

However, I feel Ashamed, if I make my own personal judgment that I am wrong, evil and bad, that is a very different kettle of fish, it seems to me.  It is a horse of a different color.

At first, Adam and Eve were both unclothed but they were not ashamed.  As some commentators have noted, why should they be?  They had not designed themselves and they were designed by the great Designer so their design was pretty good, no? But after eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they 1) knew they were naked and 2) they were ashamed and felt the need to cover you-know-what with leaves, maybe fig leaves.  

Genesis says that the couple hid from God and explained their behavior to him saying they were naked and felt the need to cover up.  He asked them,"Who told you that you were naked?"  Well, Sir, it was the woman and it was the snake and it was the fruit we ate, the fruit you told us not to eat.

There seems to have been a sudden conviction that they should not have been parading around without "aprons" (Genesis 3:7, KJV).  I have read that God or evolution must be a sanitation engineer since only someone with that background would run sewer lines through such a recreation area.

So, our bodies, our behavior, our failures, the difference between what we feel we must do and be vs. our actual record: it is not that difficult to find discord between the record and our plans.  Sometimes, it is the plans our parents or others had for us.  But we can usually find something to be ashamed of.

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