comment by LoganStrohl (BrienneYudkowsky) ·
2019-12-29T18:24:36.700Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
I wrote up my shame processing method. I think it comes from some combination of Max (inspired by NVC maybe?), Anna (mostly indirectly), and a lot of trial and error. I've been using it for a couple of years (in various forms), but I don't have much PCK on it yet. If you'd like to try it out, I'd love for you to report back on how it went! Please also ask me questions.
What's up with shame?
According to me, shame is for keeping your actions in line with what you care about. It happens when you feel motivated to do something that you believe might damage what is valuable (whether or not you actually do the thing).
Shame indicates a particular kind of internal conflict. There's something in favor of the motivation, and something else against it. Both parts are fighting for things that matter to you.
What is this shame processing method supposed to do?
This shame processing method is supposed to aid in the goal of shame itself: staying in contact with what you care about as you act. It's also supposed to develop a clearer awareness of what is at stake in the conflict so you can use your full intelligence to solve the problem.
What is the method?
The method is basically a series of statements with blanks to fill in. The statements guide you a little at a time toward a more direct way of seeing your conflict. Here's a template; it's meant to be filled out in order.
I notice that I feel ashamed.
I think I first started feeling it while ___.
I care about ___(X).
I'm not allowed to want ___ (Y).
I worry that if I want Y, ___.
What's good about Y is ___(Z).
I care about Z, and I also care about X.
Example (a real one, from this morning):
I notice that I feel ashamed. I think I first started feeling it while reading the first paragraph of a Lesswrong post. I care about being creative. I'm not allowed to want to move at a comfortable pace. I worry that if I move at a comfortable pace, my thoughts will slow down more and more over time and I'll become a vegetable. What's good about moving at a comfortable pace is that there's no external pressure, so I get to think and act with more freedom. I care about freedom, and I also care about creativity.
On using the template:
The first statement, "I notice that I feel ashamed," should feel a lot like noticing confusion. To master this method, you'll need to study experiences of shame until you can reliably recognize them.
The second statement, "I think I first started feeling it while ___," should feel like giving a police report. You don't tell stories about what it all means, you just say what happened.
The rest should feel like Focusing. Wait for a felt shift before moving to the next statement.
Replies from: Raemon, eigen
↑ comment by Raemon ·
2019-12-29T22:24:47.955Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
This isn't directly responding to you, more like a cached thing-I-wanted-to-share-that-I-was-slightly-wary-of-sharing-as-a-top-level-post, but which feels relevant.
I notice a lot of people in my social circles having a pretty strong "shame is bad" orientation, which makes sense, because I think overuse and abuse of shame has deeply hurt a lot of people. I think there's an overall pendulum swing against it that makes sense as a knee jerk reaction.
The ideal, longterm steady state probably looks something like you're pointing at here (whether this particular method works, in general 'people should develop emotional processing skills', and a world where people learn that better seems like a world that overall makes much better use of the human emotional spectrum, including parts that people experience as negative-valence)
...even without sophisticated emotional processing, I've found myself swing my own personal pendulum back towards "actually shame is pretty fine and useful, and I should probably be employing it slightly more on the margin." It's a bit tricky because I think it depends at least somewhat on group norms.
The crystallizing moment for me was when I worked at Spotify, and there (used to be) an office norm where if you left your laptop open, in such a way that an employee could gain access to it, they would open your email client and send the office a message saying "coffee and donuts are on me!" and then you had to buy coffee/donuts for your team. (the idea was the encourage people to treat security seriously)
My team leader mentioned this soon after I got hired, and I sort of nodded, but didn't really change my behavior munch.
Then, a couple weeks later, I did leave my laptop open. And someone sent an email from my account. And when I found out, I got a spike of shame...
...and I never did it again (at least while working at Spotify).
And that gave me a crisp sense of when shame was supposed to be for – implementing simple group norms.
I think the failure of shame in wider society has to do with a) some cultures/religions using shame as a weird weapon where they make basically anything fun or sexual shameful, in a way that is not actually healthy. b) in melting-pot civilizations, you don't even get the the thing where "there's a simple set of rules you can learn", instead there's a bunch of overlapping rules and you don't know what you're going to get socially punished for.
It's a potent tool, and that's what makes it dangerous and important to weird carefully, wisely, sparingly.Replies from: RobbBB
↑ comment by eigen ·
2019-12-30T12:59:23.472Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
I think that most of what I've gotten out of the Sequences is actually this. The act of noticing. I think it not only applies to shame, but to many more related internal conflicts.
In my experience, it's surprising the amount which we can learn by applying procedures such as the method you outline. Hopefully we get to see more about this.