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  • Humiliation... we've all experienced it at some point in our lives,

  • or we've done it to others, but why?

  • The point of humiliating someone is to dehumanise them,

  • to redefine them.

  • In other words, to rob them of their self-perceived identity

  • and thus, attack their power.

  • We see these exchanges in Parliament,

  • and this feeds the cycle of humiliation

  • being part of our culture.

  • We've normalised humiliation.

  • If we feel humiliated by our situation,

  • we seek a group of others to blame and, unfortunately, humiliate.

  • We're pack animals,

  • and so to be socially attractive is important to us.

  • have a role in our evolution.

  • If we have committed what could be considered a faux pas,

  • we show embarrassment,

  • and then we're less likely to be attacked

  • by other members of the tribe.

  • This is why we blush when we get employee of the month

  • or are otherwise singled out.

  • We're saying with that embarrassment, "Don't attack me."

  • Shame is something we feel for something we've done,

  • and its purpose is similar.

  • Humiliation is done to us by others,

  • it is embarrassment plus shame plus, plus, plus.

  • And what the plus, plus, plus is could be defined as loss of face.

  • We have an idea of who we are and what we're like,

  • and when this is challenged

  • we can experience a feeling of being obliterated,

  • a sense of loss of self.

  • We can even feel humiliated if a photograph of ourselves is published,

  • and we have a different image of ourselves than that photo.

  • The photo is a threat to how we want to identify ourselves.

  • The usual scenario is the humiliator fears being humiliated,

  • or already feels humiliated and powerless,

  • and the way they seek to regain their power is to take away power,

  • to harm the identity of the person they see as their persecutor.

  • Men, I believe, have a particularly tough time of it,

  • because all over the world they have been socialised to be...

  • which usually means suppressing or denying themselves vulnerable states,

  • as part of how they identify themselves.

  • For example, a lot of men feel that in order to identify as strong,

  • they can't be seen to show...

  • This is a really difficult self-image to live up to.

  • When a vulnerability is exposed by someone,

  • it may be that the only way that they can regain their supposed power

  • is to resort to violence.

  • It may be this enculturation of the macho tough guy

  • being the only desirable image for a man, that's one of the reasons

  • that men are many times more violent and aggressive than women.

  • But, the violence rarely ends anything.

  • It usually leads to more humiliation and more violence.

  • We may have a hunger for revenge,

  • and humiliation is often a part of revenge.

  • But the only way to redemption is to build up our enemies,

  • not knock them down.

  • This means, for example, giving prisoners education,

  • training and therapy.

  • Not more punishment and, therefore, more humiliation,

  • leading to more anger, more violence.

  • Maybe we all need to be humiliated about our habits of humiliation.

  • We need to readjust until we realise we have been all too stupid,

  • lazy, unthinking

  • and, basically, daft, to carry on with this winning and losing game.

  • Will we dare to be vulnerable and say we don't know the solutions yet,

  • but humiliation, and otherwise annihilating the enemy isn't working.

  • We just might become less susceptible to humiliation

  • if we were not so worried about how others see and experience us.

  • Let's let go of self-image.

  • Thanks for watching.

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  • See you again soon!

Humiliation... we've all experienced it at some point in our lives,

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Humiliation: Why this little-understood emotion exists | BBC Ideas

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    Summer posted on 2020/07/30
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