SHAME

In the right dose, shame is perhaps the most energizing of all the affects.   I don’t mean introjected, self-inflicted shame, that strange social scab that prevents us from expressing ourselves and taking leaps.   I’m referring to actual shaming experiences, where one crosses a line and is socially punished for it.  The latter is quite invigorating, as long as the blood that it lets is used to feed something else, so that it doesn’t become the stultifying scab that characterizes the former.   What do I mean by ‘feed something else’?   We live in a multiplicity of worlds, a labyrinth of different scales, norms and roles.   Shame can only appear in one world at a time  .   But blood can flow freely between worlds.   So a productive, invigorated stance towards shame simply involves channeling the energy from one world to another.   This is practically a requirement of transcendental ethics,  which needs constant palpable reminders that no one world is absolute, that apparent transcendent horizons are illusory, etc.   Shame pushes us from one schema to another, keeping us connected to natura naturans, just like the burst beat.