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Shame vs Guilt?

Thursday 31st March, a grey rainy morning, bringing out all the candy-colours of spring. Good to have a little rain. Last night, in the cold dusk, I opened my window to listen to the blackcap, singing and singing, piercing sweet.

So Diana Wynne Jones is gone, and that's sad, but what a good life to celebrate. She played a very fine innings, seems to me. Wrote a lot of great books, had many friends, many fans and will be missed by a lot of people.

Still following, irrisistibly, the story of my long ago celebrity acquaintance, Fukushima. I find the report that the "troubled" reactors will be scrapped the most heartening for many days, and maybe the first rational move. Worryingly radioactive seawater. Is that news? What on earth did the people, near and far, expect? I was moved, yesterday, to look up the old saw about Japan, and shame vs guilt culture, famous and influential mass psychology paper of the post-WWII period. Self congratulatory, of course, but anyway here's a link: (of course Islam is now the un-American culture with the massive flaw, but I can't help that. Still think there's something in it.) Moved further to propose that nations and sovereign states that practice Shame Culture should be banned from using Nuclear Energy. The two just don't mix. Ironically, shame is supposed to be the strategy in collectivist society, guilt the practice where the individual is the perceived social unit. But collectivism is just where shame doesn't work! Pretending it didn't happen, so as not to lose face, is a very sensible response eg in the case of an individual with a self-esteem issue, not so great in the case of full or partial meltdown in a wrecked reactor.

Guilt is good. Guilt takes responsibility, and gets things fixed. What's wrong with that?

What's that you say? Japan no different from the rest of the world, really. Not to mention all corporate culture is exclusively run on shame culture lines? Oh, well, okay. That's a bigger problem.

But guilt is still good.


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