(Fourteen-minute read)

If something is described as shame, it is disappointing or not satisfactory:Résultat de recherche d'images pour "pictures of shame"

I am sure most of us would agree that we all live in a world bombarded by Media which is desensitising our feelings of shame, guilt, and compassion.

Feelings are wholly and solely experienced only by you. They only exist at the moment they arise.

Shame is a nonmoral emotion, meaning that it involves the nonmoral or “aesthetic” facet of one’s self-esteem, which is concerned with the self’s adequacy with respect to its own wishes or aspirations.

However, a flaw of character can elicit guilt rather than shame.

However, in guilt, it is the moral facet of one’s self-esteem – the facet concerned with the responsible harmfulness or beneficialness of the self’s behaviour, attitudes, and dispositions – that suffers a blow, not national guilt.

Shame and guilt have much in common:

They are self-conscious emotions, implying self-reflection and self-evaluation they involve negative self-evaluations and feelings of distress elicited by one’s perceived failures or transgressions. However shame and guilt are distinguishable from each other, and their differences matter in a world that is driven by algorithms.

Why because guilt often plays the role of the “ugly” and anti-social emotion endowed with the power to violate norms and thwart others’ goals, and willing (or inclined) to do so.

But perhaps the worst meta-feeling is increasingly the most common: feeling good about feeling bad.

How morally disoriented can one get?

Think of all we’ve witnessed in the past few weeks alone, examples ranging from the outrageous to the ridiculous – Brexit, (The political and moral choices that England continues to make in response to the identity positioning by their historical legacy is becoming one of the great unfolding stories of our time.) to the suffering of thousands in Africa.

These days there’s no collective meaning attached to our feelings other than things like Red Nose Day and world charities begging to our pockets. Much of the social strife that we’re experiencing today is the result of meta-feelings that are moralizing mobs on both the political right and left who see themselves as victimized.

They think they’re important because they say something about us, about the world, and about our relationship with it.

But they say none of these things.

Sometimes you hurt for a good reason. Sometimes for a bad reason. And sometimes no reason at all. The hurt itself is neutral. The reason is separate.

We are now the powerful absurd who are supposed to be connected than ever before, yet we somehow feel more isolated.

How has society changed to cause this to be a more prevalent problem?

Is it because we can order our groceries online.

One of the main reasons is that we are removed from nature.

We have little or no understanding of the effects of climate other than seeing forest fires, massive flooding on our TV sets (which are only the beginning of the natural disaster to come) along with pictures of the starving, devastation by wars, and terrorism not to mention inequality reflected in shanty squaller.

The internet is not a lifeforce, devouring our lives to feed itself. It is merely a technological innovation, albeit one on which much of our economic, political, and cultural lives depend.

As we have seen in New Zeland there are some of us inhabit, for instance, queer radical insane spaces promoted by racism prejudices and propaganda across Social Media that collectivity can take on toxic and damaging roles and lead to the damnation and ruination of people.

If we were to dissect and see social media more clearly, to see where all the tentacles really come from, to ask simple questions like, “Who is telling us to look in this direction?”, we might see it for what it is: an apparatus made up of many moving parts, all of whose effects can be traced in very material renditions of power and commerce for profit.

We ignore social media at our peril, but can we use it as tools and not let it define us?

Is it time to stop thinking through the forced collectivities of social media and start thinking about the possibility of unbelonging instead?

Can we think outside of the endless sense of timelessness forced upon us by hours of internet life and instead think ourselves into a time of actual history and movements forward?

Can we think about society not in terms of collectivities forged in endless solidarity in public but as the work we put in to create a better world?

We must push back against the screaming online hordes and simply stated, “We understand the anger, but we will first discuss the matter as properly outraged citizens, as people who belong, as people with feelings.

Unfortunately, Social interaction without collective feeling is meaningless.

To achieve change shame has to be scaled up from the individual to an audience that shames governments, corporations and banks.

Social media has brought us all closer together in communication.

Sometimes that’s a good thing. But when it comes to online shaming, it’s a bad thing. People get humiliated on Twitter, savaged in public forums and women get rape and death threats.

There’s something about the anonymity of social media has people who probably seem perfectly nice in person, posting vicious, scathing, humiliating comments online.

I am not talking here about Guilt which is an internally generated sense of moral obligation not to repeat past transgressions, like the extermination of a helpless minority within one’s own society.

Nor am I talking about shame, which is externally generated, driven by the “shaming look” of others.

Therein lies a key difference: For guilt, it’s the awareness of the deed and its meaning; For shame, it’s whether others know.

For example, a major identity issue for young Germans is how to deal with the notion of collective guilt or collective shame for the crimes of the Third Reich. While honour-shame cultures have moral codes, their vulnerability to the fear of shame can readily lead to a jettisoning of any moral concerns.

Yet here we are, ironically living in a perpetual outrage cycle that moves so fast, we forget yesterday’s controversy today because a new one has supplanted it.

As a culture, we seem to have divested ourselves of shame — real shame.

Online “communities” tend to resemble ever-shape-shifting amoebae, breaking and dividing into multiple pieces that in turn drift towards new clusters of organisms.

Social media is a disparate set of effects brought about by collusion between corporations, but its mythology occludes those mechanisms of power and currency by installing instead origin stories and tall tales, legends about how “the whole world” was watching.

It’s impossible to overstate what we’re losing.

Shame is crucial in well-functioning societies. It’s an evolutionary adaptation that keeps us cooperating, considerate, and safe.

Feelings are important. But they’re important not for the reasons we think they are.

The internet should be considered simply as a tool, not a substitute for justice or organising?

Long may we continue to expose the various structures through which it and its denizens exert power, sometimes for good but often not.

The internet is a technology, and yet most of our interactions on it are mediated by unfeeling algorithms stripped away or sense of humanity in the most seemingly innocuous ways when we participate in frenzied modes of expulsion.

You might say that we were once sophisticated enough to fake it if we didn’t feel it.

How we use social media is marginalised populations.

The way individuals deal with their nations’ history is closely linked with emotional experiences. 

If both collective guilt and shame can initiate reparative attitudes, the question then arises as to what may mediate the link between each and reparation.

The feelings of personal distress arising from perceptions of illegitimate ingroup superiority rather than empathic concern for the other are the critical antecedents of collective guilt.

Finally, the type of empathy may also be an important factor.

As is well known, empathy can have both cognitive and affective components.

Guilt may be associated with an increased tendency to put oneself in the shoes of the victim group.

It might still be too early to expect much emotional empathy from
the perpetrator group.

It is perhaps indicative of the extreme political sensitivity

And all of this unfolding in a somewhat surreality landscape with our brains doing mental acrobatics to avoid any discomfort.

It is my view that if we are to tackle the effects of the fourth Industrial technological revolution and climate change and address the mistakes of the last industrial revolution we must find a new way to facilitate non-confrontational politics.

There is no shame in the realisation that coming together to make a world worthy of all.

All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.