Scientific description of guilt vs. shame

There are two bounds on cheating in societal dilemmas: what you think you can get away with, and what you can trick yourself into believing it’s acceptable to get away with.

Shame is the emotional drive that prevents people from making lies of commission, i.e. false representations of reality. Individuals (e.g. psychopaths) and racial populations (e.g. Semitics, Africans) that have no feelings of restraint about lying for personal gain are therefore described as “shameless”.

Guilt is the emotional drive that prevents people from making lies of omission, i.e. keeping silence on matters of importance. The Asian shame cultures are illustrative of the difference, and their byzantine culture is the result of many strange acrobatics to avoid getting directly at the truth. Individuals and racial populations that have no pangs of conscience about enshrouding the truth are therofore described as “guiltless”.

Lies, shame, guilt

The common element is plausible deniability, the distinction is endogenous rationalization versus exogenous. To expand this terminology to existing social science, I’ll borrow a large quote from Jonathon Haidt:

Many psychologists have studied the effects of having “plausible deniability.” In one such study, subjects performed a task and were then given a slip of paper and a verbal confirmation of how much they were to be paid. But when they took the slip to another room to get their money, the cashier misread one digit and handed them too much money. Only 20 percent spoke up and corrected the mistake.

But the story changed when the cashier asked them if the payment was correct. In that case, 60 percent said no and returned the extra money. Being asked directly removes plausible deniability; it would take a direct lie to keep the money. As a result, people are three times more likely to be honest.

You can’t predict who will return the money based on how people rate their own honesty, or how well they are able to give the high-minded answer on a moral dilemma of the sort used by Kohlberg. If the rider [Ed: the conscious, rationalizing mind] were in charge of ethical behavior, then there would be a big correlation between people’s moral reasoning and moral behavior. But he’s not, so there isn’t.

In his book Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely describes a brilliant series of studies in which participants had the opportunity to earn more money by claiming to have solved more math problems than they really did. Ariely summarizes his findings from many variations of the paradigm like this:

“When given the opportunity, many honest people will cheat. In fact, rather than finding that a few bad apples weighted the averages, we discovered that the majority of people cheated, and that they cheated just a little bit.”

People didn’t try to get away with as much as they could. Rather, when Ariely gave them anything like the invisibility of the ring of Gyges, they cheated only up to the point where they themselves could no longer finda justification that would preserve their belief in their own honesty.

The bottom line is that in lab experiments that give people invisibility combined with plausible deniability, most people cheat. The press secretary (also known as the inner lawyer) is so good at finding justifications that most of these cheaters leave the experiment as convinced of their own virtue as they were when they walked in.

Jonathon Haidt
The Righteous Mind, pg. 96-97

I have to credit Owl with this insight, my contribution was merely to give it the correct names. All we need to do now is apply this to legalism, civilization, and the Pyrrhic cycle. WE’RE CRACKING THE SOCIAL CODE BABY!

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36 Responses to Scientific description of guilt vs. shame

  1. MM says:

    The only way to decrease the unwanted behaviors is to 1. enact stricter punishment(mildly effective), 2. change the culture(muh strong independent single muhther) or 3. populate the society with genetically better people.

    I don’t see the value in Owl’s revelation tbh. We can’t decrease the size or anonymity of modern society. And the cycles will do what they will.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      The difference is that now we can put numbers to what we already suspected.

    • ol il ul says:

      “2. change the culture(muh strong independent single muhther)”

      How did those people you clearly don’t like enter the topic here? It was about cheating and lying.

      (Expected answer: “Because Yes”) (Or is much to expect that degree of sincerity? In my experience of mankind, “Because Yes/No” is about the most honest, non-deceptive, non-self-deceptive words they can say and think.)

      • ol il ul says:

        (Plus: changing the culture requires having less shame and knowing less guilt than the culture shapers in charge.)

        (Second Plus: Blog owner, you didn’t let the chance to let out your racial antipathies backing yourself with some good rationalization escape you, or did you. The Great White race, and others you didn’t mention because you had no racial antipathy for them, are no less comfortable with lying by commission, omission, and whatevermission, than your Disliked Ones).

      • MM says:

        You have so little AH you can’t see how guilt and shame are involved in changing the unwanted behaviors of the members of a society? IE single motherhood?
        Go back to the kids table.(<==See that. Shaming you for talking without thinking!)

  2. Ophiuchus says:

    @MM Solutions #1 and #2 are both futile and temporary measures if they’re not correspondent with/downstream from solution #3.

    That the Pyrrhic cycle has been in effect for civilization (well, at least for Western European civilizations, which exhibit a distinctly Faustian/Icarus-ian nature) since the inception of the Western Roman Empire isn’t really debatable. The real question is whether or not each cycle is moving the human species toward a more desirable state of being. I’d say that, despite the current discomfort experienced by many, that it actually is: each Western expansion and collapse has moved Man ever upward toward fulfilling a grand destiny of galactic conquest, spreading life throughout the galaxy and so on and so forth.

    Each Pyrrhic cycle is thus not unlike an athlete maxing out on weight and painfully “repping to failure” but nonetheless becoming ever the more strong, fast and capable with each successive training cycle. Each training cycle becomes unbearably unpleasant toward the end (we are currently here) but the athlete undoubtably improves a little each time. The light of Western civilization that started as a small group of farmers coming together to secure their common interests in the southern tip of the Balkan Peninsula 3,000 years ago and culminated with Neil Armstrong walking on the moon has unquestionably risen to ever-greater heights with each successive iteration.

    The obvious next step is to bring the science of Eugenics out of the Outer Darkness/Shame Cube and into the forefront of Western science, which may happen before or after the next ITZ (i.e. American Collapse/Balkanization)

    Or Tex may be right, the next Ice Age may be upon us, and you can all finally get off of Mr. Melon’s Wild Promethean Ride.

    • Koanic says:

      I think this optimistic analysis does not account for civilizational dysgenics.

      We are in a race between technological progress and loss of species fitness due to departure from the ancestral environment.

    • MM says:

      As long as free will exists, it is inevitable that technological progress will destroy humanity.
      Either through transformation, or good ol’ weapons tech.

      • bicebicebice says:

        There is a funny implication here in regards to ooga boogas never inventing anything really ergo they are not to blame for the cause of this anythinginregardstomodernsociety-mess right there

        • Ophiuchus says:

          Homo Sapiens Oogicus-Boogicus are to blame for plenty of stuff, but you’re right in that they’re not at the deeper root of the Shitfest of Modernity. They’re an environmental hazard; dangerous fauna, essentially.

          Our present situation has several varying causes, some of them apparently contradistinctive to one another, others apparently comorbid and intertwined. It is tempting and perhaps even aesthetically pleasing at a local level to attribute our current state to one “secret master” or “all-powerful group”; this is the classic mistake of one who would find more explicative power in a Single Great Unifying Principle than actual objective reality, which is discouragingly entropic, chaotic, and subject to constant tumult as complexity increases, as it is ever wont to do.

          As you mention, and have talked about in previous comment threads, the irresponsible introduction of increasingly advanced technology to society has created sweeping changes in the fundamental nature of how ordinary people live their lives, mostly trending toward an unnatural, unhealthy, and generally dysgenia-enhancing mode of existence. This ever-increasing technological complexity exerts a multiplicative effect on the localized incoherence of modern society; in other words, constantly-increasing technological and social complexity (chaos) contribute to and “feed off of” one another like two heroin addicts living under the same roof. The result is a confused (and therefore afraid), ignorant, perpetually jet-lag-suffering population who don’t know their neighbors’ names and spend six hours a day playing Pepsi Puzzlequest and looking at Facebook pictures on their iPhone 12 (rather than doing something truly productive like, say, Nobilid-posting).

          Next we have the moral breakdown and degeneration of the West. Much and more has been written about this topic, so I’ll cut to the heart of the matter: TL;DR “Nobody wants, nobody likes, kikes, kikes, kikes!” No matter how hard Mencius Moldbug tries to convince you, you’d be a special kind of fool to believe his lie that “Calvinists” were somehow the religious minority who time and time again over the last century dealt blow after decisive, damaging blow to the foundations of American moral integrity, from the early infiltration and subsequent corruption of elite academia by Communist intellectual saboteurs, to the mass proliferation and saturation of pornography at all levels and all social classes, to agitating for “Civil Rights” (read: forced racial integration) to the constant, never-ending assault on Christianity via the various entertainment industries.
          All of this paints a pretty damning picture of everyone’s favorite Tribalist Talmudic Troublemakers, but it would be false to attribute the root cause to them. Rather, they are most accurately understood as an opportunistic parasite who sunk their proverbial fangs into the exposed flesh of Western Civilization’s neck while it was reeling in the aftershock of WW1 and has been doing more than its fair share of the work in making all of our countries just a little bit more wonderful, tolerant, and vibrantly diverse ever since!

          This brings me to my next point: the Thal-Melon-Sapien paradigm. This axis, much like the parallel White-Jew-Minority axis has a great deal of explicative power–but not *total* explicative power–with regards to the current state of things. Melons of the modern era are, first and foremost, adaptation executors who are looking to Get Theirs, whether that thing be fame, fortune, or just a “Leggy Johnson” to polish their knob every night. They are contributors–often times major contributors, power brokers, and movers and shakers–to the managerialist state, but they are not controlling every single little thing with omnipotent dark magicks.

          Another thing to touch on here is the profoundly negative effect that SCALE and ever-increasing complexity exert on the entrenched ruling class of a country. In the U.S., in particular, this has gotten so pronounced that the elite political class’s outward physical appearance is alarmingly predatory, freakish, and serpentine to the point where I’ve heard normies talk openly about how John Podesta “Just looks like a really nasty guy. There’s just something *wrong* with how he looks” (paraphrasing). When the ruling class becomes isolated in an over-SCALED environment, and no longer has to look the people they rule in the eye while passing judgement upon them, and no longer has to physically be near and/or around the ordinary people of the nation, it creates a state of affairs that selects for the absolute worst kinds of human beings, from pedophiles, to career criminals, to scumbag catspaws of the Military Industrial Complex, to closeted homo Neocohen faggots, to whatever the hell Bill Cassidy is supposed to be.

          Democracy + muh freedums leads to unmitigated technological dissemination, economic development, and social complexity leads to corporations becoming massively powerful leads to corporate lobbying compromising politics in the worst way leads to horrifically expensive foreign wars for the massive profit of a select few SCALE Overlords leads to even more complexity and centralization leads to social atomization leads to “Uh-oh! Looks like ITZ collapsing again! I just can’t for the life of me figure out why!”

          Anyhoo–there are even more things at play here, and yes, ooga boogas are, in fact, dirt-stupid background noise. I’m also just trying to point out that you would be foolish to assume that everything bad is caused by some singular “MAGICAL MELONHEAD MADMAN” pulling levers from his dark tower while cackling maniacally as he wields absolute power over the feeble masses, nor should you fully blame the Thard sitting there tinkering on the next whiz-bang gizmo device that’s going to irrevocably and devastatingly rend the social fabric of the nation asunder just a bit more without a care in the world. This manner of tunnel-vision thinking is not the way of the Nobilid. The TruNobilid strives to understand the objective reality of the world he inhabits, which is more often than not more complex, dissonant, and aesthetically incoherent than we’d perhaps like it to be.

          For more relevant, informative and exciting reading material head on over to M(elonhead) Posting Career ( and have a nice, leisurely read through the following threads:

          Bonus Round:

          • bicebicebice says:

            “They’re an environmental hazard; dangerous fauna, essentially.” ayy lmao itz funny cause itz true saved

          • MM says:

            Read it all.
            Very informative stuff!
            Actionable solutions are still… elusive, to put it nicely.
            It’s entirely possible that a worldwide nuclear war might actually be the only kind of event that could re-structure society the way that is needed. If you were a SOOOPER melon you might even steer humanity to complete the journey from hunter-gatherer to nuclear apocalypse for all eternity!. Sounds like a good plot for a cult classic. Very archetypal.

          • bicebicebice says:

            Birds of a feather flock together, the problem is when others start to nest in your, well, nest. This is mine and this is yours, doesn’t work very well to people who feel entitled to rule everything.

            “go beyond your ethnicity to discover…”
   there are certain problems in having nothing in common with your own de facto genetic race on paper, bet those wacky Reich-eugenicists never thought of that hehe

            • bicebicebice says:

              Fun fact:
              K-mensch oppress r-mensch in the first world, because they can never reach their desired standards of behavior (genetically confirmed by the K themselves), then they get mad at r for being ooga boogid, but r-homeland the turd world getz terraformed by the K-mensch into a world the r can not live in anymore,a copy of the K world to helt the r be more K, so they retaliate by turning K land into r world instead

              this is why we need different planets

        • Koanic says:

          Effortpost 10/10 blogworthy.

          There are grand trends, thermodynamic and Satanic. And a Divine redemptive thread.

          Threshing can be gruesome, said the wheat to the chaff.

          • Koanic says:

            This is why I am designing the Cyborganize truth repo backend publishing method – so that stuff like this isn’t buried in comments or haphazardly mashed into LaFond book abortions!

            • Ophiuchus says:

              Yeah, the backend repo is definitely important. It addresses the problems inherent to communicating in places like blog comment sections and will be crucial for compiling a large database of information and theory that is accessible and comprehensible for people who don’t have the time to put on their Indiana Jones hat and go on an archaeological expedition to find the fabled Lost Catacombs of Texarcanic Lore.

              And regarding the grand trends, especially the macro-scale thermodynamic-sociological patterns, sometimes when we perceive a grand structure emerging from a multitude of separate, flowing, undulant components, it is very tempting–that is it may “feel correct”–to assign the origin of that structure to some sort of hidden “invisible master”. But the cause is merely how each component, its number of potential reactions limited to the spectrum of human capability, is reacting to its environment in accordance with the laws of thermodynamics. When zoomed out and viewed on a large scale, a writhing, massive, discernible structure begins to emerge. But rather than some sort of underlying “invisible overlord” it’s caused by each individual component reacting to its environment in accordance with the laws of nature, which can be accurately thought of as the true “architect”. And this isn’t accounting for God, Satan, the supernatural et al. Though you get what I’m saying.

  3. Ophiuchus says:

    Right. My analysis was predicting that technological progress would win the race against fitness-loss, though this may involve considerable blood, sweat, tears, broken eggs, and imperial collapses in the meantime.
    This optimistic prediction is indeed a pretty weighty theoretical fulcrum upon which to swing, however, so if loss of species fitness does win out over eugenic science, then it’s unquestionably time to hit flush, hopefully rebuilding society at a localized, humane, and de-SCALED level, optimally with some societal structures in place that put positive selective pressure on us/our descendants.
    You’ve put forth some good ideas here with the Triad structure, neo-Spartanist Syssitia and whatnot). Being an Evil Melonhead, I’d personally prefer a sort of localized, downscaled neo-Egypt: Sparta outlasted Glubb’s limit by about 5-600 years; Egypt, however, makes the concept of the Glubb cycle a joke and was humming smoothly with few interruptions some 3100 years. After all, “To whom [were they] thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden?”
    Just a shame it had to end the way it did.

    Though ultimately, neo-Spartanism may be the better and more effective choice in that it’s more deliberately brutal, and thus a better overall ointment to the genewarp/fitness loss that’s accumulated.

    • Koanic says:

      Neo-spartanism isn’t necessary if you’ve gone back to tribal living in primitive conditions, because it occurs naturally.

      Egypt was a horrific gene-shredder, due to its Nile connection to Sudan. It’s like aging your wine barrel with a hose connected to your septic tank overflow valve.

      It was the original centralized slave civilization. The eugenic opposite of free tribal hurly-burly, unless you’re trying to breed melonheads from base stock, assuming that’s even possible – we’ve only seen them appear fully formed and then degenerate, which sounds awfully like the story of the Nephilim.

  4. Ophiuchus says:

    Well, right. I should’ve been more specific in pointing out that the goal wouldn’t be a 1:1 recreation/LARP of “muh Egypt” but that the focus would be on isolating the aspects of that society that made it completely defy the Glubb cycle (i.e. very strong religious–Christian, in our case–tradition; genetically superior ruling class + hypercompetent bureaucracy exerting constant pressure on them to perform or be assassinated; emphasis on long term small-scale cohesion rather than aggressive imperialist expansion ala Rome) while adding several newer concepts, like the Thal “philosopher” caste, extreme emphasis on eugenic scientific research and social policies, abolition of slavery, etc. And obviously, you don’t put the thing next to niggerville. Hopefully you have it on a small, localized scale, adjacent to a theoretical Neanderthal “free zone” where they can come play if they’re so inclined. Basically, I’m just describing Neoreaction with some eugenicist/Edenist twists. The key aspect is “small-scale”.

    Of course, this is all just my gut telling me I gotta build dat civilization and sheeeit. My brain tells me we’re going to need stronger medicine.

    Also, if you don’t mind, could you redpill me on your theories re: the Nephilim? Everyone around this corner of the web seems to have a different opinion on their origins (e.g. Tex believing they were Thals sent on the long walk who ended up becoming a sort of Pharaonic guard caste).

    • Koanic says:

      Well, the Bible says they were angels who fucked cute human chicks.

      Maybe it says that. The apocrypha is more explicit about it, I’ve heard.

      Re Egypt, yeah, sounds much better. Although my first thought was that the Nile is the reason Egypt was centralized. The other stuff arose to try to keep it centralized so the next centralizer wouldn’t conquer it. Not that it’s therefore wrong or bad.

  5. Ophiuchus says:

    And also, it’s worth noting that this is all of course just a fantasy scenario that exists in my head; nothing more than an idealized “best-case scenario” in the event of post-ITZ rebuilding.

    • Koanic says:

      I am sure you can design a melon-pyramidal anti-fragile eugenic lifeway to suit your physiognomic fellows. Consider my syssitia blueprint the MT proof of concept, and modify to taste!

      For it would be fragile to have only one anti-fragile implementation.

  6. Santoculto says:

    Seems shame is the fear that other people know. Guilt is more intrinsic. It’s the itself-shame. Or not.

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  11. Obadiah says:

    It’s interesting because in these early posts I’m sort of arguing with myself via you as proxy.

  12. Obadiah says:

    “The conscious extravert values his connection with the outer object and fears his own inner self. The introvert has no fear of himself, but great fear of the object, which he comes to endow with extraordinary terrors.”–Happy Wizard Cape-Adorned Swiss Psychologist Man

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