When did Shame Die?

Have you noticed how people have no shame. Back in the day people had a sense of shame.  I read this article by Star Jones and I think she captures the lack of shame and the need for it in our society. Is a sense of shame a good thing? Tell me what you think.


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  • Bill  On March 12, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    It is really unfortunate that shame too rarely exists in our society. Shame is the manifestation of rebuke by our conscious. It can serve us as a monitor and governor of our behavior. But for so many of us the conscious has gone dormant. How could this possibly have happened? Allow me to take a guess based on long term observation.

    I suspect that process got its start when authority figures went from rejecting our excuses for bad behavior, to accepting them, to providing them and finally censuring others who refused to accept them. Frequently those in the category of refusing to accept excuses for bad behavior are admonished for judging others. Judging only occurs when an individual decides that he or she has the right to determine the penalty for bad behavior not when one recognizes that a behavior is bad based on societal standards. There is a big difference.

  • Elogam  On March 13, 2011 at 4:46 am

    Shame has been slowly dying since about the mid-60’s. The deed was done not by Col. Mustard in the living room with a candle stick, but by relativism taught in schools across America. When you are told that there is no real “right and wrong”, that “What’s right for me may not be right for you”, that There are no absolutes in life, that you have to take into consideration a person’s background and the struggles they have had in life before you decide whether what they did was right or wrong, you can bet your bottom dollar that Shame is done for.

    I will continue to teach my kids right from wrong, even if it is not politically correct. They will have to answer to a Higher Power known as God–even if many do not believe He exists.

  • SRS1  On March 14, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    When one looks around at some of the things that get glorified these days, when just a few decades ago were considered an embarrassment, then of course the consensus is to nod one’s head in agreement with the lack of shame people feel. Then on the flip side, the thing that tends to scare me are the ones who will not get or receive help because of the things that they are ashamed or embarrassed about. I believe in some things feelings of shame can exacerbate an already troubling and difficult problem.

    • Bill  On March 14, 2011 at 11:32 pm

      SRS1 I’m struggling to grasp your expressed concern. Are you stating that individuals who feel shame or embarrassment are apprehensive to seek help because of those feelings? So then absent shame people more readily seek help? I hardly think that is the case. If an individual finds his or her previously deemed shameful behavior now acceptable, why would they even think they need help?

      My take is that the emotion of shame serves to inhibit many of the public displays of abhorrent behaviors that are so routinely observed today. And I think that is the more desirable outcome.

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