Guilt and Shame

in #culture4 years ago

I have been pondering for some time about whether or not I should write this post. Like many people, I came to Steem for the money but stayed for the people. I stayed for the community!

But now I am facing a huge internal conflict. I am struggling because I have friends on both sides. There are people I care about that have moved exclusively to Hive. There are others who I care about who did not/will not make the move.

And many of us, myself included, are trying to find out what the "new" normal looks like as the dust settles. It kinda feels like trying to fix an airplane that's flying at 500 miles per hour at 10,000 feet. You should never fix an airplane under those circumstances, but such is life!

image source

East Versus West - Cultural Nuances

I am not sure anyone ever intended on the battle lines being drawn across cultures. But as the story has unfolded that appears to be the case.

I have heard:

  • accusations of racism
  • "you only stayed because you were bribed to stay"
  • "you only left to protect your money and power"
  • I hate ____. (insert your least favorite blockchain here)

I appreciate that real people have real feelings of hurt and anger, but those feelings sometimes prevent us from understanding each others' points of view (worldview). I firmly believe that there are cultural nuances that are making the Steem - Hive conflict even more challenging. And to be honest these nuances have probably always been rumbling under the surface of our "community." But recent events have brought them to a boil!

Quick Caveat: Understanding someone's point of view does not mean you agree with that point of view (worldview). But if you don't understand someone's point of view it is near impossible to have a civil conversation with that person and/ or combat that point of view (if necessary).

Quick Rabbit Trail:* I watched the movie Midway with my wife a few days ago.

This WWII movie, based on "real-life" events, had many incredible characters, but two of my favorite were an American military attaché and a Japanese military attaché. These men spend years of their lives engaging a foreign culture so that they could (in the best circumstance) find allies and (in the worst circumstance) better understand their enemies. They understood the other's worldview.

A bit of background

I want to offer a small theory of mine that might shed some light on what has taken place. I think that the issue of guilt versus shame is important in light of recent events.

I do not consider myself to be an expert in ancient or modern eastern cultures, but I did spend over 10 years of my life in Indonesia.

During that time, I was stretched and forced to grow in ways that I never expected. I was forced to evaluate another culture and re-examine my own. And as I arrived at the end of that part of my life journey, I had to admit that my time in Indonesia made me a better person. I was changed by the people I met and by interacting with their culture.

Some of my western values and ideals grew even stronger over that period of time. Some of the western principles I use to think were important did not consume/fill the same time and space in my life. I was changed!

Guilt Versus Shame

One important nuance that I had to examine was the idea of guilt versus shame. I believe that all culture operate with a mixed degree of guilt and shame. Historically speaking, I would say that eastern cultures focus more on shame and western cultures more on guilt.

This is a generalization (perhaps accurate, perhaps not) that I have come to personally. In no way does this mean that all people in a specific culture adhere to the same views of guilt and shame. Neither do people experience them equally nor under the same life situations. We are all uniquely different, and we are all uniquely impacted by our culture.

Psychology Today gives the following definitions:

Guilt: a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.

Shame: the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another.

Guilt arises as a result of our actions, while shame reflects the painful feeling of how we might appear to others (or ourself)

Steem versus Steemit

I might be wrong, but it appeared to me that a large number of the community elected Steem witnesses were/are more impacted by guilt than shame. Again, this does not mean that an individual cannot experience both but based on how they have spoken and the cultures they were raised in, I believe this to be true.

Why? The message of the witnesses who moved to Hive have strongly stated that they believe Justin Sun is guilty of doing something wrong.

As a result, they choose to take actions that would right that wrong and Hive was created as a result.

I might be wrong, but I believe that Justing Sun is primarily driven by shame (or more importantly by avoiding shame). I believe this because of his cultural upbringing.

Why? Because Justin's actions do not appear to be driven by whether something is right or wrong (at least as defined by western cultures), but rather about how his actions impact his honor and/or shame in his circles of influence.

When I read recent Steemit Blog messages, I hear a person who is trying to increase honor and reduce shame. The general message does not address actions but rather perception.

Final Thoughts

This post could be a complete waste of time. I could be completely off my rocker. But I don't believe that is true.

As we continue to move forward, regardless of the fork in the road you chose, I hope that I have shed a bit of light into the worldview of "the other side."

I hope that you will have a greater understanding of your current enemy (if you choose only one chain) and a greater understanding of a potential ally (if you choose to engage Steem and Hive).

I want to hear from you.

  • Which worldview do you tend to operate in? Shame? Guilt? Or Mix?
  • Have you already made a decision about which chain(s) you will use moving forward?

FYI. I will be cross-posting this post on both Hive and Steem.


I expect the issue of different root values of different cultures really does play in here. A friend who works for Microsoft and spends a good bit of time in both Shanghai and Hong Kong has pointed out how confusing these can be because two sides can be operating in totally good and sincere faith and yet be at odds because what's considered positive by one culture is perceived to be negative in another.

Take something as simple as "haggling" over the price of a commodity. In one culture you are seen as shrewd and wise for haggling, in another you are seen as cheap and rude. And yet, both sides are having a 100% authentic experience.

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Your comment is filled with truth. Cultures (and by extension people from those cultures) value things differently.

Haggling is a great example. In Indonesia, haggling showed that you valued the relationship as you were willing to spend time with the person. If you had a enough money that you did not need to bargain then you showed that you did not care for those you were financially interacting with. It makes sense after someone explains, but not if your culture does not have the same perspective.

When I lived in southern Spain as a teenager, we'd periodically go across the water to Morocco and pick up things at various markets... and it was simply expected that everything would be "ridiculously overpriced" for the express purpose that you would enter lengthy negotiations (almost like a chess match) back and forth to eventually reach an agreeable price. American tourists who'd just pay the price without question were seen as "ignorant foreigners."

Our Microsoft friend pointed out that there is actually a (or set of?) Chinese logograms that signify "Cheat, if you can get away with it," and it has a culturally positive connotation, implying that you are clever in business. To most westerners, such a thing sounds horrific...

But now I am facing a huge internal conflict. I am struggling because I have friends on both sides. There are people I care about that have moved exclusively to Hive.

I feel the same. I am staying here .

I support you in your decision. I will be bouncing back and forth for the time being. honestly, I am not very active writing on either, but I still want to support people.

I liked this post so much, I upvoted it at 100 percent on both chains.

Thanks for your vote and comments. Much appreciated! See you around.

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