This is where the current narrative on shame has it all backwards. Just because it feels bad, doesn’t mean it is bad. Just because it hurts, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Shame isn’t some bug in our emotional programming left over from a more primitive time. It’s not a flaw in the human condition whose eradication spells progress. It’s an alarm built into our system that serves a vital purpose. Shame is on your team and aims to help you grow. It is painful, but that is the only language it speaks to inspire change. Just as the burning sensation on your hand aims to protect you from keeping your hand in the fire, shame only wants to show the areas where you need to direct your work.Read More
We’d like an end to all prejudice, bullying, crime, and painful accidents. These are seen as obvious positives, yet we rarely stop to consider the immense costs of these pursuits. Good intentions often do more harm than good particularly when it comes to creating an environment of human flourishing. What we think we want is rarely in our best interest and, even when it is, the path there is usually full of unintended consequences that dwarf the intended good.
Ironically, if there is any sort of utopia that is possible in our lifetime it won’t be built through greater ease and convenience, but by a culture that demands effort, growth, personal responsibility, and an understanding of the essential role of discomfort and risk. Instead of asking the world to eliminate all pain and expand pleasure infinitely, we should be asking what societal structure pulls us to be better humans? For that we’ll need to embrace imperfect social constructions such as shame and honor.Read More