Recent Posts



Thursday, 31 March 2011
Shame as the Master Emotion: Examples from Pop Songs

by Thomas J. Scheff (April 2011)

We are rarely proud when we are alone.
             --- Voltaire


It is difficult to understand the importance of shame in modern societies because we live inside an ethos that is highly individualistic and focused on exterior matters. When interior matters are viewed, thought and perception are recognized, but little attention is given to emotions and relationships. This essay focuses on the social-emotional world, and proposes that shame should be considered the master emotion.  more>>

Posted on 03/31/2011 2:35 PM by NER
19 Apr 2011
Send an emailtom scheff

Yes, but traditional and modern societties manage shame in directly opposite ways. The former exaggerate it, which muffles the individual. Because creativity comes almost entirely from creative individuals, there is too little change to keep up.

Modern societies, hide shame, which has two main impacts: withdrawal and passivity, on the one hand, or anger, aggression/violence on the other. Both reactions are catastrophes for the human reace, and indeed, threaten our very existence.

7 Apr 2011
Send an emailMary Jackson

A very interesting essay. I suppose all societies are shame societies up to a point. However, some, for example Islamic, Chinese and some parts of South America take it further and must expunge shame by killing the person - typically a woman - who shamed them, even if this was innocently done.