Monthly Archives: November 2014

Genesis Through the Lens of Shame Part I

When I read the first few chapters of Genesis dealing with the creation, I always think about consciousness. What is the difference between something with consciousness and something without it? “Let there be light.” (Gen 1:3). This phrase (perhaps) describes the moment when consciousness is turned on. The moment prior there was a void. (Gen 1:2). The moment after there was something. This something was a blank slate, unexperienced and blameless and God existed along side it. Then God started making his creation more and more complicated, separating the light from the dark, the land from the water and then filling it with living things. This, in a sense describes the evolution of consciousness. It suddenly appears out of a void. It starts out pure awareness and gradually takes in information, becoming more and more complex.

Then God creates Adam and Eve (in the second creation story) and places them in an idyllic world called Eden. He tells them they can eat from any tree in Eden except from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Before they eat the fruit God tells them not to eat it because they would die. God later tells himself they cannot eat it because then they will become like him. Before they eat the fruit the text specifically says they were both “naked” and “without shame.” (Gen 2:25).

Once they ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge their “eyes were opened,” (Gen 3:7) they became embarrassed (ashamed) and hid themselves from God. When one walks down the path of shame he actually hides himself from himself in that he subordinates his true desires to what he perceives are the desires of others. In the context of this story I see God as the true self that Adam and Eve are hiding themselves from. When God confronts them they attempt to avoid blame by blaming each other. Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the Serpent. This is all shame oriented behavior; feeling not good enough, feeling embarrassed about self-appearance, avoiding blame, blaming other people.

In my own experience shame is passed from one person to another. Parents humiliate their children then their children humiliate their peers and ultimately their own kids. This feeling of being humiliated brings forth all these other shame oriented feelings and the desire to make other people feel the same way. But it is always an endless chain. As such, children cannot blame their parents for acting out this cycle because they are just re-acting the cycle their parents modeled for them. What Genesis is doing is explaining the origin of this process.

It seems to me (reading this story through the lens of shame) that the book of Genesis is depicting the origin of this endless chain of shame. First of all, shame is a corruption from the original blank slate of consciousness. The idea that the self is bad and wrong entered consciousness as one of the many pieces of information it took in. When that happened it took over to the point where man was irrevocably altered and had to be removed from paradise. In a sense man removed himself from paradise by becoming ashamed. But also shame came from the Serpent who is perhaps shame incarnate.

 

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Things I’ve Been Accused of on Message Boards

Admiralbill frequently accused me of baiting him. That is, he accused me making posts designed to get him upset and react by responding to my post in an angry manner. He was right. I frequently posted articles in the politics section of Sistertrek.net that made the Republican party look bad. Since Admiralbill was a rabid, conservative Republican I could be sure of him responding. Since I enjoyed making him angry, that made me a troll. He called me a troll especially towards the end. He was right about that also. There is no doubt that I deliberately posted inflammatory articles for the purpose of starting arguments with him. Of course I denied this was what I was doing as all respectable trolls would do.

On another message board I joined, this guy Actionjeans accused me of being a clone pretty soon after I joined. This surprised me because I had not done anything yet to piss anyone off. I guess he thought that I was actually someone else who was operating a second avatar for the purposes of providing support to his first avatar. This was a false accusation but he was able to convince other people on the message board that my avatar was a clone. Another person, a friend of Actionjeans, accused me of being a sock puppet which I am guessing is essentially the same thing. When I tried to defend myself by denying these accusations they said I was acting just like the guy they thought I was a clone of.

Based on my prior experience on Sistertrek I decided to pull out my big guns and embrace being a troll. I fancied myself Obi Wan Kenobi, an aged master who had been living in the desert for years and suddenly compelled to come out of retirement, use his seasoned skills and fight the good fight. I made posts designed to anger my accusers. I asked them questions designed to put them on the defensive. I was relentless. It was then that they accused me of being a stalker. I did not like this accusation, so I suppose it was correct. The accusation had the effect of deflating the feeling of wise old master. Stalker seemed much less respectable. I felt ashamed of myself. But I could not stop trying to bait them because I was addicted to the rush I got when I posted something inflammatory. So, in a private message, I asked the moderator to ban me. He did not oblige me at first so then I went all out trying to make Actionjeans angry. After a few days of this the moderator banned me. At that point I could detox from the message board and get myself clean again.

That was my last experience trolling. For a long time I had the urge to get back in the game. I would think about Admiralbill and Actionjeans and get angry and wonder why they came out looking like the good guys and I came out looking like the bad guy. But the longer I did not troll the easier it became until that anger finally went away.

 

Read my ebook Shame and Internet Trolling. Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iBooks.

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Background Tree

The desire for fame for the sake of fame seems to me to be motivated by shame. We all want to be loved. The shame ego wants to be loved as well but it also believes that if other people knew the real “it”, they would reject it. So it forgets about the things that make it lovable and the things it loves and only focuses on trying to get other people to love it through deception (because truth will not work). When they do not love it (perhaps because they sense it is being fake) it hates them for it.

In third grade auditioned for a part in the play Hansel and Gretel. I pictured myself on stage entertaining people and receiving applause. After the audition I found out I had been assigned the role of background tree. I had no lines and stood in the background during one scene of the play. I was devastated. I could not understand why the teachers assigning the roles did not recognize my talents. I was used to being picked last for the kickball teams at recess and being assigned to the outfield in Little League baseball. But that was sports. This was something creative, the area in which I thought I excelled. The night I received my role I cried myself to sleep.

I have consistently acted in life that if I played by the rules, worked hard and denied myself eventually I would be rewarded. The world would love me some day. So far I have pretty much been a background tree. That is all I will ever be if I wait for the world to reward me for “paying my dues.”

At the same time there is the sense that if I do not achieve success in life that my life will be a failure and I will be humiliated. But if I unpack the idea of success it has less to do with achieving something specific and more to do with achieving the notoriety that comes with achieving something specific. It has to do with achieving fame and the approval of others. This is my shame ego’s prime motivation.

With acting, it should be for the love of acting and not the desire for fame. Even when I write this blog I find myself really motivated by the number of hits I get. But is that so wrong? It seems misplaced. To write the best blog it seems to me the focus should be on the writing and not on the reaction to the writing. Or maybe it is okay for there to be a little of both motivations.

I am in the process of finishing a book I hope to e-publish in the near future. I find myself struggling with the idea that I need to accomplish something (like publishing a book) because it will then validate my life in some way. I picture myself being interviewed, having a new source of income and reading the reviews. But then I think about society collapsing soon after, making wealth and fame irrelevant. Is it selfish to want these things? My shame ego definitely wants to convince me of this. It also wants me to feel foolish for even thinking it is possible. I was born to be a background tree after all.

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