Shame : The Emotions And Morality Of Violence

937 Words4 Pages
In “Shame: The emotions and morality of violence,” James Gilligan, a professor of Psychiatry at New York University, argues to make a point that shame can lead to violence in a certain amount of people. After working and interviewing with two convicts in a prison, he learns that there are three preconditions to be met before being considered violent. The first is to not show their feelings of being ashamed due to it threatening their masculinity. The second is that they can’t counteract shame with their social status, achievements, friends and family. The last is not to feel love, guilt, or fear. These preconditions make Gilligan more understanding of the inmates and their lives. Gilligan follows his observance of the preconditions by explaining that the incidents that trigger shame are embarrassment or trivial acts. Examples of trivial incidents are such as a dirty look or accidentally spilling coffee on someone. The professor insists that the more trivial an incident is the more shame one feels. It then triggers a larger urge of violence within a person. Thus idea follows his belief that violence is psychological rather than biological. He concludes his research by reminding us that violence is like a disease and society needs to treat is as an epidemic with a public health approach. Author James Gilligan wrote “Shame” to show the relation of shame and violence. His motive is to achieve a better understanding of why people are violent. He creates an authoritative mood
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