The Shame Spiral

Shame is the topic today.  I’ve decided though that I want practice being more creative with my writing.  While I enjoy writing out my thoughts in essay form, and many of you have been kind of enough to appreciate it as well, variety is the spice of life, and I need to practice more variety of expression.  Especially I still have this dream of one day writing some sort of work of fiction, and so I need to practice wordcraft and storytelling more.  And I venture it to such an area, I risk making myself more vulnerable as I express a part of myself I am less confidence in my ability to express.  The connection between vulnerability and shame was brought to my attention this week through a wonderful TED talk. This culture of shaming,

especially through social media has been on my mind a lot over the past year or so, since I saw an excellent interview on the Daily Show with Jon Ronson.  An article on the book he has published is here.  So I shall let the talk and the article do the intellectual speaking for me, and I will instead put forth this poem on the subject.  In my head this poetry would be expressed as a rap, or rather a dialogue between two rappers.  In my head are a lot of the songs from the musical Hamilton which I am sure had somewhat of influence on my mode of expression. lol  Also, fear not, in my head I also know I have the least amount of street cred to be rapping.  🙂

I’m not a lynch mob, I’m just here all alone,
Reading about things that I don’t condone,
Concerning people I’ve never really known,
And shaming them from behind my telephone

You’re fat, you’re ugly, and you’re a fool,
You’re so fucking dumb, didn’t you go to school?
Are you even dimly aware of the newest rule?
Exposing what you are, makes me look cool.

You see, I’ve made the world a better place,
By showing you don’t belong in the human race
I got no time to check the facts of your case,
You can try to efface, but mistakes won’t erase

Each like I get invigorates me,
And helps me hide my vulnerability,
I don’t make mistakes, you want civility?
It’s curt, but your hurt’s not my responsibility.

A million views, the shares have swirled,
Filled with mocking laughter, insults hurled,
I’m a link in this chain of shame that’s unfurled,
A virtual crowd that’s crushing your world

Do you like what I said, do you feel remorse,
Do you feel bad enough to correct your course?
I scream and scream until my voice is hoarse,
Shame is my game, I’m a dangerous force.

But what if you’ve not made anything better?
Addicted to shaming, bound by a fetter,
You’re just another follower, not a jet-setter,
Passing judgment on others letter by letter

Shame never informs, has little to tell,
Gives you nothing to build, and nothing to sell,
There’s no way it will ever serve you well,
Don’t be a part of that shaming carousel.

Was that 8 second verdict more than it seemed?
Shame them to goodness, is that what you schemed?
They’d learn their lesson, is this what you dreamed?
Do you think that’s how souls are really redeemed?

Instead you put a hole in the soul of those that you shame,
Anger, isolation, depression just fan the flame,
Of violence and hurt, now you’re partly to blame,
Should you make a mistake, do you deserve the same?

We need to focus on things that make us whole,
Don’t stride to divide, and stop being a troll,
Kindness and charity, let that be your goal,
Be a model of compassion, let that be your role

So you see with such ease we’re blind to the pain,
That we cause for momentary emotional gain,
In a world filled with hurt it’s so hard to stay sane,
Shaming doesn’t help, we’ve got to refrain

I speak from experience, I know how you feel,
To stare at the screen and think it’s all real,
But what part of the heart do your actions reveal?
Forsaking personal growth for mass appeal.

Oppose what is wrong, but don’t dehumanize,
Know your own imperfections, try to empathize,
Keep on yearning for learning and you’ll grow to be wise,
Add joy to the world and watch your spirit rise

12 thoughts on “The Shame Spiral

  1. Oh dear me! Now I have this image in my head of you Swarn, with a rigid-formed baseball cap turned whacky to one side, with “bling” everywhere, a mic, and your long shorts down around your lower buttocks and the pants crotch down… well, you get the idea.

    Am I every going to get this image outta my head!!!? 😛

    Seriously though, RAP ON my brotha! Do yo thang! You are going to do really well. I know it! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree, great poem (and post), Swarn. You never cease to amaze me.

    This is a subject I’ve researched a lot. I’ve done a couple of posts on the impact of shame. One of them got recognized by the editor of WP, and it was Freshly Pressed, meaning they promoted my post worldwide. Shame is epidemic, as Dr. Brown learned during her research. Christianity has raked in billions a year promoting shame (penal substitutionary atonement) by making people believe that they are the reason Jesus had to suffer and die on the cross.

    A child’s self-identity is shaped around the things they hear about themselves. A study of schoolchildren found that only 4% had not been the targets of adult shaming; including “rejecting, demeaning, terrorizing, criticizing (destructively), or insulting statements” (Solomon & Serres, 1999).

    Richard Sennett is a Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and University Professor of the Humanities at New York University He has been a Fellow of The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He states: “Shame has taken the place of violence as a routine form of punishment in Western societies.”

    “What do you regard as most humane? To spare someone shame.”

    — Friedrich Nietzsche.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the compliment Victoria. I don’t think my poem is about to get recognized by the editor of WP. Now I feel shame. 🙂

      The quote by Sennett is quite correct and Dr. Brown’s research about the correlation between shame and violence means that we can’t necessarily expect one to replace the other, and that they are more likely to be feed off each other instead.

      Liked by 1 person

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