Tuesday, August 01, 2006


ShrinkWrapped today offers an excellent discussion of how guilt and shame play into the recent mideast conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. It references a post of mine "Shame, the Arab Psyche and Islam", which has this table:

Here is an excerpt, but you should click on over and read it all:
Notice as well that a fundamental difference between Guilt and Shame is the significance of the response to the views of the Community. In a person and culture with healthy Guilt, the primary motivator for the individual is internal; it does not matter to an individual whether or not the external culture recognizes them as guilty, it is their knowledge of their own guilt or innocence that matters. In a Shame culture, actual Guilt is immaterial; it is only being seen as guilty that matters. The Shame culture values appearance over reality, while the Guilt culture values reality over appearance.

[This is a tremendous over-simplification since there is no such thing as a pure culture of guilt or shame, but as a general framework for understanding culture, the concepts are quite useful.]

Judeo-Christian culture recognizes that all healthy adults have some measure of guilt. We feel guilt over things we have done and things we have not done; over our thoughts and impulses, as well as our actions. Some believe we are born with original sin, others that it is an inherent aspect of healthy psychological experience. All would accept that people who lack the capacity to experience guilt are outliers, Sociopaths and Malignant Narcissists.

Consider the Global War on terror, more properly, the global war on Islamic Totalitarianism, from the perspective of the current Israel-Hezbollah theater:

In a Shame culture, any atrocity is acceptable if the societal arbiters offer their blessing. Islam, in the hands of the neo-nazi Iranian mullahs, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and the Palestinian haters, condones the most egregious atrocities, including the use of human shields; during the Iraq-Iran war the Mullahs used children as human mine sweepers...

It is important to keep what ShrinkWrapped wrote today; and my previous post on the subject in mind when assessing the current situation in the Middle East, as well as Arab and Western world reactions.

No comments: