Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Pride Slide and the Shame Game

The last circle of Hell is reserved for the traitors, who are placed here "because betrayal is the central sin of the Christian tradition, represented by Judas, who betrayed Jesus" (Upton).

More generally, "the worst betrayal is to deny the truths of God and so set up a parody of them -- and this is also self-betrayal, which is why Judas must commit suicide" (ibid).

What motivates betrayal is pride, the cardinal sin. But underneath pride is shame. The pride of the pathological narcissist is really a preemptive defense against the experience of shame, and shame is a sort of attack on the self, projected into others.

Inappropriate pride results from dysregulated shame, i.e., shame that is either too overwhelming to endure, or which occurs in a self too fragile to endure it. Instead of tempering and tutoring pride, it traumatizes it.

Look at what happens in Genesis. Adam's promethean pride is immediately followed by his intolerable shame, which in turn provokes the first lie, so we can see how all of these things are linked.

Adam first pretends he is God, so that when the real God appears, he doesn't just revert back to himself -- a mere man -- but is revealed as the shameful "opposite" of God. It's a pretty big leap to instantaneously go from being a proud god to being ashamed of one's body!

As it so happens, I am coaching my son's Little League team, and Little League -- like everything else in our culture -- has become pathetically feminized since my own glory days as a sensationally adequate hurler. Obviously it is possible to go too far in the opposite direction, and to use sports as a vehicle to transmit shame to a child.

But we have overreacted to that danger by trying to arrange it so that the experience of shame is impossible. Importantly, this is not to protect the children -- who can handle the reality that some players are better than others -- but the parents who cannot tolerate their own vicarious shame.

Remember, shame itself is not a bad thing, only shame that is excessive (i.e., traumatic), on the one hand, or dysregulated, on the other. Shame serves the vital purpose of group harmony, as there is no one more dangerous than the hordes of Shameless with their absurdly inappropriate self esteem in tow. With no sense of shame, no behavior or political party is off limits.

Again, the ideal is to introduce shame in tolerable doses. Shame is even a sort of "divine instinct," in that a race of shameless humans could never be human. If you want to know why the culture of professional sports has deteriorated so much, it is because the players have become so shameless.

Schuon: "pride... is to overestimate oneself while underestimating others; it is the refusal to accept humiliation when the nature of things requires it; and it is ipso facto to take for a humiliation every attitude that simply reveals our limits."

And pride "destroys the virtues for two reasons: first of all because one takes them away from God, to whom they belong in reality, thus putting oneself -- like Lucifer -- in place of the Divine Source; and secondly because one attributes de facto a disproportionate value to a phenomenon which is necessarily relative" (ibid.). In other words, get over yourself.

Upton makes the important point that in this circle of Hell, "fame becomes shame."

But this is also true in the hereabove for anyone with three eyes to see. A normal person would be deeply creeped out for being known for anything other than moral, intellectual, or artistic excellence.

To be known for anything else is -- or should be -- humiliating. The only reason it isn't is again because of pride, which conceals the shame. For the properly right-side up person, the more famous he is, the more humble he should be. Ask yourself: is there anyone more humble than Christ? I didn't think so.

But in our culture, instead of teaching humility we teach self esteem, another cadword for pride. Why would one esteem the self, of all things? Do these people not even know what a human being is? Have they never cracked a history book? Are they ridiculous? Does it grow ungnosissed that Even if humility did not save us from hell, in any event it saves us from ridicule (Don Colacho)?

Yesterday Dennis Prager devoted an hour to the topic of how one produces children who are good. This is the central task of parenting in particular and culture in general.

However, one of the principles of the left (either implicit or explicit) is that man is basically good. That being the case, there is no reason to train a child to be good, since nature takes care of that. For the leftist, any child will turn out okay so long as he isn't exposed to dangerous conservative principles such as self-discipline, objective morality, and absolute truth.

This is hardly a gift to the child, but a callous deprivation, for it leaves him in a state of nature instead of helping him ascend to the properly human. One could hardly do more to invert our cosmic system of Christian jewishprudence.

Some righteous wimpslaps from the hand of Don Colacho:

--To educate man is to impede the “free expression of his personality.”
--The individual today rebels against immutable human nature so that he might refrain from amending his own correctable nature.
--The right to fail is an important right of man.
--Rejection troubles us and approval confuses us.

You're right, Virgil. Deep down, these celebrities are aren't such bigshots.

21 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

For the leftist, any child will turn out okay so long as he isn't exposed to dangerous conservative principles such as self-discipline, objective morality, and absolute truth.

Or in the immortal words of Homer:

"So, like us, let your children run wild and free, because as the old saying goes, let your children run wild and free."

3/23/2011 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Even if humility did not save us from hell, in any event it saves us from ridicule.

I like that one. When one knows just how ridiculous one is, it becomes virtually impossible for any external mockery to inflict a serious wound. In my experience, everyone is ridiculous in some way or other, without exception. Those who know that about themselves are much more easy in their own skin.

3/23/2011 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

What did Twain say? Man is the only animal that blushes, and the only one that needs to.

3/23/2011 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"With no sense of shame, no behavior or political party is off limits."

Ha ha ha! Only one thing is more rare than a humble politician:
a humble democrat.

I know, that's actually an oxymoron and ever since Zell Miller a statistical impossibility.

3/23/2011 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

However, one of the principles of the left (either implicit or explicit) is that man is basically good. That being the case, there is no reason to train a child to be good, since nature takes care of that."

Also, if the left was consistent about this belief, they wouldn't need to impose more government regulations to force folks to be "good" (in their eyes) and deprive us all of liberty.

But of course it's their nature to contradict their own values...such as they are.

3/23/2011 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Heh. Speaking of pride and shame...

3/23/2011 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

From Julie's link:

"Although the area teems with mansions boasting swimming pools and tennis courts, residents say the scale of this "megamansion" pushes the bounds of common sense and decency."

Riiight...'cuz if anyone is richer than you it's "obscene."
Envy, served with a side of bitterness.

3/23/2011 01:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Skorpion said...

Funny today's topic should be on the subject of Pride and Shame, and their links with Betrayal.

3/23/2011 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Skorpion, how disturbingly appropriate. Talk about animals that need to blush...

3/23/2011 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger debass said...

The comments on those protesters were hilarious.
LOL!

3/23/2011 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

This book on Jesus by the Pope (in the sidebar) is really outstanding in every way. Who knew he was such an expert on Christianity? Part 2 was just released. Can't wait to find out how things turns out for this charismatic young rabbi.

3/23/2011 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger jwm said...

I guess we've entered an era in which the only thing that is shameful is having shame. How else could Jerry Springer, Maury Povich, Dr. Phil and their ilk stay on the air?
Really- If you were dumping your your spouse for a sado-masochistic transexual dwarf, would you be willing to go on TV and brag about it?
Would you want the fact that you have eight children from six different fathers- none of whom you know personally to be broadcast from coast to coast?
If you weren't sure which one of four unemployed drug addled ghetto rats was the father of your child would let the whole country know?

People line up for the opportunity. Worse- people watch it.

JWM

3/23/2011 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

JWM - I'm ashamed to admit I used to watch that show. Mainly out of horrified fascination, but still... I read an article (on Cracked, so take with a grain of salt) recently pointing out how "reality" tv shows actually make people who watch them worse people, in part because it's easy to watch and think better of oneself knowing that somewhere out there, Snooki exists, and by comparison nobody else is all that bad.

The problem, of course, is that it provides people with an excuse to behave shamefully themselves by rationalizing how they could be worse.

3/23/2011 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Bob - I hear the ending is the mother (father?) of all shocking twists...

3/23/2011 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

No spoilers!

3/23/2011 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

:D

3/23/2011 05:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a thing for a machine named RB 31 (Robby). He stated he wanted to probe me and I let him.

Next to him is LS 22 (Lisa) and she stated she would be a better match for Robby but I think she's jealous, if a machine can be jealous.

I'm leery of the whole mess. This lab is a hotbed of perversions and sins against nature. For shame.

3/23/2011 06:43:00 PM  
Anonymous cheeky monkey? said...

Bob said, "This book on Jesus by the Pope (in the sidebar) is really outstanding in every way. Who knew he was such an expert on Christianity?"

Can we ever expect to see you being received into the Church at the Easter Vigil?

3/23/2011 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Do they make house calls?

3/23/2011 08:11:00 PM  
Anonymous cheeky monkey? said...

: )

3/24/2011 12:28:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Yesterday Dennis Prager devoted an hour to the topic of how one produces children who are good. This is the central task of parenting in particular and culture in general.

However, one of the principles of the left (either implicit or explicit) is that man is basically good. That being the case, there is no reason to train a child to be good, since nature takes care of that. For the leftist, any child will turn out okay so long as he isn't exposed to dangerous conservative principles such as self-discipline, objective morality, and absolute truth."

Nailed it.

3/24/2011 06:12:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home