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February 05, 2007



The problem with this type of thinking is that it does not take into account certain realities. You wrote "Second is something often forgotten: just because other people have different customs and beliefs from ours, they will likely still have meaning and value. We may not agree with someone else, but mutual understanding should be a first goal. I think that most of us can agree with that." It does not appear that in Europe these groups "agree with that" They desire society to adapt to their vision and there is no room for the vision of the host group. Think parasitic vs. symbiotic

Jim Pfrommer

As long as there is shame, there will always be a perceived need for an "other."
When I was just beginning to study shame as an affect, I decided to talk with my Polish, wife of a coal miner, Grandmother. After all, I thought, with all the Pollack jokes and everything, who could be "lower on the totem pole?" Well I found out. She was referring to someone who had done something silly, and said, "Oh what a farmer." Well, more than the fact that I had had a lifelong interest in farming fueled my curiosity on that one. I found out that even the Polish coal-mining community had not only "farmers" see as an "other," but they also had the "Shanty Irish" to feel superior to. Not the "Lace Curtain Irish" mind you, just the poor "Shanty Irish."

Much has been written on how the Holocaust could possibly have happened, but few aside from Alice Miller have looked at the poverty and abusive child rearing techniques rampant in 1930's Germany as a significant source of an enduring component of chronic shame in the personality development of such a large proportion of the population. When Hitler began offering the people various groups of "others" to feel superior too, the people had found a panacea to draw attention away from their own shame in the process of feeling superior to an "other."
When out economy is not marginalizing whole groups of folks, and personality disordered parents are no longer rearing their children with the blind spots they developed to survive their own childhoods, maybe our chronic internalized sense of shame can be decreased and we dream of a truely "cosmopolitin" world.

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