This (feels?) like a theme/meme I’ve run into many times. Quoting from here:

There is much to be said about shame, but I struggle with the search for antidotes.  Those who make us feel shame are also most likely to chide us for suffering from it.  Part of Shelley’s point is that at the least, misrecognition of shame is to be avoided.  And some of the sources she identifies in her comment are the product of the wrong ideals; for example, receiving government assistance is a source of shame in a culture in which people with lucky and uneventful lives hold up extreme individualism and self-sufficiency as an ideal for everyone, while fancying they live up to this ideal.

Focus on the italicized (italics mine) sentence. Surely those who feel themselves not in the group of those “making us feel shame” are the ones who will be empathetically trying to assist those feeling said shame to get past, get over, and not feel that shame. Which in turn concentrates attention on that shame … making it felt. It might be just as likely that those who notice, empathise and try to rid us of our shame just plain make it worse … and possibly are even more prevalent than those who would “chide us” for it.

And who “makes anyone” feel shame? Shame, it seems to me, comes from a shared recognition of a failure to hold to a communal standard? No individual can make a shared understanding occur or create a communal standard. Only an extreme individualist might hold this as the fault of an individual. Right?

Filed under: Ethics & MoralityMark O.

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