SHAME! Let me ask you, what picture comes to your mind the moment you hear that word. I don't mean when you hear it in a ceremonial, within William Shakespeare's "Mark Anthonyish" moment. Really, I am talking about when the word jumps you surprisingly, out of the dark. It might be the first time you are experiencing it, then again it might be the hundredth. What I want to know is what picture comes to mind when out of the dark castles of your lack of preparation, the word sidles up to you and against all your remonstrations pretends it has not embarrassed you and seriously attempts to strike up conversation with you!
Personally for me, the classic reaction is to go into analysis. No I do not mean endless meaningless trips to some shrink, which in and of itself soon becomes the object. What I do with my shame is a vice no less, not a virtue. For in shifting the elements of the experience around a room like an interior decorator who finds the best chemistry for a set of disparate, unrelated furniture pieces by continually shifting them together, I peer at the effects that the word elucidates against certain experiences until they encourage a meaning which then begins to seem meaningful and in no time becomes a suitable explanation for the word having jumped me at that particular point in time. Since no two points in time can mathematically and existentially be the same, the word, like the conditions that brought them into play in the first place only last as long as this point remains in time and can never exist again beyond this point. So I can confidently move forward, make progress if you will, by recognising that once it has passed, it can no longer be as harmful as it started off being unless by some contrivance I can be made to return to experience a point in time now past.
Therefore any lasting reading can only be made immediately, for once an important aspect of this vision has passed, namely, the point in time, all interpretations must needfully change and the interpretation of shame continue to be never-ending. I believe this is not unlike the science, if you can call it that which the old Roman seers used to interpret the auguries from amongst the remains of the stomachs of animals slaughtered for sacrifice or Gypsies with the remains of tea leaves after patrons at the cafe have had their pleasure. The tea leaves must meet up at the bottom of the tea-cup with a particular subject who obviously needs one interpretation or the other, and on a certain day and not another in which the seer might be suffering or not from a tooth-ache and was too hard up to afford his dentist's fees and therefore must tell the patron anything, but quickly, so that he might get paid quickly for the trip uptown to the blasted gnasher-doctor and.....
That in a few long lines is my vice. We all have one. Now back to what gives me great shame today, and what picture comes to mind when I think of the word SHAME! First the picture. Nakedness. That's what I see when the word comes to mind. Not my nakedness. Far be it from me, and I would be lying anyway if I owned up to such an embarrassing squeamishness. I mean I am a man, and what kind of man hides from his own nakedness! In any case I am too used to it for any shame that might have been hidden within it over time to still remain in place. The nakedness that comes to mind is that of old women, glazed along the eyelashes and brows by the grey of age and bent over crooked walking sticks with their armpits unshaven, and in their straining to see me through eyes long dead, parting their lips in a toothless grin. And what paints this ludicrous picture for me? The fact that on a blog I kicked off in April 2003, I have been tardy enough to generate only one post!