Shame Feels Good but Fails to Fix Things

The court of public opinion is a powerful entity, but the current need to shame individuals is troublesome and puritanical.

Shame does not work to enact long term change. It is a short term solution that makes the one throwing it feel better.

Which makes sense. Nearly all creatures avoid discomfort, and seek comfort. It is the natural human response to want to remove the uncomfortable, and troublesome elements in the shortest time possible.

Unfortunately, in both individual and societal growth, quick fixes are the antithesis of sustained long term change.

The main problem with shame, and by reflection the whole of cancel culture, is that we have a method for vengeance, but no mechanism for forgiveness.

I am not saying that we should forget, or even allow certain individuals back into the collective tribe, but the current method of punishment is indefinite banishment. This seems a bit harsh, and does not encourage people to come forward and seek redemption.

If there is no method for redemption in our culture, no standard to be met collectively, what reason is there for the individual to change authentically? Moreover, seeing the destruction of their fellows will this not drive those who have similar beliefs further underground?

Here, in the quiet warmth will their views not continue to fester and rot, while they wear a mask?

Are we to summon the inquisition, and torture innocents to find these few hiding elements?

Would it not be better to simply have a true path to redemption?

Some may say providing a path would lead to immodest and untruthful seekers of forgiveness, but are we to toss the rest of those that actually want to be part of society out with the heathens?

I have no answers, only questions.


Japan Day 1.5: Basement Birru Seizoki and Resting Places

As was my custom with this trip, I had to make small expenditures, and so after I returned to my hotel I set out again with the intention of touring the local area before I set my sights on the greater Tokyo area. It still baffles me how sprawling the greater Tokyo area is, and it seems to be an interesting combination of Los Angeles’s sheer magnitude of buildings, and New York’s compact skyline.

IMG_0282

If you find yourself in Shibuya it is a lovely place to stay, and I would highly recommend it.

Curiosity caught me as I rode in the elevator, and on a whim I pressed the basement button. What I found was a collection of vending machines which seemed normal enough, save this one.

IMG_0283

If you look carefully you will see that this particular machine dispenses booze. I smiled and wondered what kind of fuss I could create if I tried to import this idea to the States.

(Side note: It’s very rare to find food vending machines in Japan. I found only one that sold actual food, and what it sold was 99% snacks. Anyone have any idea why this is?)

IMG_0295

While walking I found another larger temple, and so I began to explore. This one was different, and I would later learn that though they appear similar most shrines in Japan are either Shinto or Buddist though very few tourists can make the distinction. Without really meaning to, I wandered into the temples backyard…I found myself in a small Graveyard, for the first but not the last time in Japan.

IMG_0300

As a child Graveyards bothered me; my concept of death was tied to video game characters and spooky stories. As a young adult, I found the yard to be utterly serene.  I am told that Japanese graveyards are communal in nature, several generations all interred together.

IMG_0302

(the Japanese most often practice the Buddist funeral rites of cremation. I ponder how Japan’s lack of space contributed to this style of graveyard.) There is something so peaceful in the idea of resting with your ancestors, something that makes death seem a little more tolerable. 

IMG_0287 IMG_0288Having missed the morning rush, I visited the famous Shibuya Crossing briefly. I’d cursed sleeping through rush hour, but still I enjoyed the experience of people watching.

With some disdain, I felt my body screaming for rest so I returned to my hotel, determined to rest, and then to visit, what many to consider one of the most important shrines in all of Nihon, The Meiji Shrine.