Monday, April 03, 2023

Difference between Guilt and Shame

Here is a new short video from Ben Shapiro on the difference between guilt and shame.

Wikipedia explains:

In cultural anthropology, the distinction between a guilt society or guilt culture, shame society or shame culture and honor–shame culture, and a fear society or culture of fear, has been used to categorize different cultures.[1] The differences can apply to how behavior is governed with respect to government laws, business rules, or social etiquette. ...

In a guilt society, control is maintained by creating and continually reinforcing the feeling of guilt (and the expectation of punishment now or in the afterlife) for certain condemned behaviors. The guilt worldview focuses on law and punishment. A person in this type of culture may ask, "Is my behavior fair or unfair?"[citation needed] This type of culture also emphasizes individual conscience.[3]

In a shame society, the means of control is the inculcation of shame and the complementary threat of ostracism. The shame–honor worldview seeks an "honor balance" and can lead to revenge dynamics. A person in this type of culture may ask, "Shall I look ashamed if I do X?" or "How will people look at me if I do Y?" Shame cultures are typically based on the concepts of pride and honor,[4]. Often actions are all what count and matter.

In a fear society, control is kept by the fear of retribution. The fear worldview focuses on physical dominance. A person in this culture may ask, "Will someone hurt me if I do this?"

In the view of some of these anthropologists, Western Civilization was made possible by Christianity transforming Europe from being shame-based or fear-based into being a guilt-based culture.

Most Third World countries are still shame-based.

Shame can be very destructive:

Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre accurately describes shame as “a hemorrhage of the soul,” that is, a painful, unexpected, and disorienting experience. It is often linked to some painful incident—sin that has been done to us rather than by us. Shame has the power to steal our breath and smother us with condemnation, rejection, and disgust.

Guilt, on the contrary, occurs due to sins actually committed. It is based on the concrete fact of the human condition: God made us and requires us to be perfect (Lev. 19:2; Matt. 5:48), but because of original sin, we have all broken his commands. We stand guilty because of something we have done.

Shame is a painfully confusing experience—a sort of mental and emotional disintegration that makes us acutely aware of our inadequacies and shortcomings, and is often associated with a shrinking feeling of failure. It can be simultaneously self-negating and self-absorbed: “All day long my disgrace is before me, and shame has covered my face” (Ps. 44:15).

Shapiro is an Orthodox Jew, and gets this exactly backwards. He says the purpose of religion is to promote shame instead of guilt. Maybe Judaism, but certainly not Christianity, and certainly not Americanism.

I do not expect a Jew to promote Christianity, but he is a conservative, a proud American, a supporter of religion, and an articulate critic of wokeness. He has a lot of Christian followers. He probably does not even realize that his worldview is so anti-Christian.

1 comment:

CFT said...

I'm not so sure Wikipedia is a source one should ever quote to prove any point, try looking up 'what is a woman' for cripes sake. It is outright rejected as a reliable source by even left leaning college professors for over two decades.

I would also say that the definitions being thrown around for shame and guilt are quite soft and gooey in the extreme.
The elephant in the room that should be included in the conversation is the concept of sin, as it seriously complicates how shame and guilt are considered and assigned in particular to the concept of law, which is ultimately where such concepts are considered.

The greatest contribution of Judeo Christian philosophy is in its intersection with law, with the practical realization that you can't rationally blame someone for something they simply didn't do, and any blame appointed must be determined by what you can know through demonstrated evidence.

The problems of said law is that we no longer have laws we can actually follow like the ten commandments. There are literally so many laws interacting in so many complex and often contradictory ways (local,state,federal,international...with ensuing jurisdictions) that even the best lawyers can not fully comprehend and practice them all. When the experts themselves are overwhelmed in their own field, there is no reasonable expectation or chance of the layman being able to do so either, then there is the ultimate kicker: Ignorance of the law is no excuse, which basically turns everyone into a lawbreaker of some kind no matter what you do or don't do...which is irrational since you can't possibly follow what you can't know or observe.

This whole shebang legality then devolves into 'everyone is guilty', which sadly has become the 'go to' power principle of the corrupt state to exert control over everything since any time the state decides to do so, it has the power to condemn anyone for breaking some law or other.

“Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime”

Lavrentiy Beria, Stalin's head of the secret police