We all have those dreadfully embarrassing moments in our life that we just want to never arise in conversation again- I more than most. My ability to get into some of the most embarrassing situations is frankly astounding and I am not an easily embarrassed person; I am a great believer in the somewhat flawed theory that if you don’t feel embarrassed others wont think it is either. I would humour you with a few anecdotal stories about a few of the numerous times I have embarrassed myself, perhaps the time I presented a show in make-up, stockings and a dress, or the time I tried to sing karaoke but the wrong song was played, or even the time I tried to convince people I was a hypnotist , but I wouldn’t want to put either of us through that cringing experience. Some of those experiences are still scarring to this day, my question though is why do we get embarrassed?
I like to think that most things are developed for a reason yet embarrassment seems to defy logic a bit. It is a rather depressing and humiliating feeling which comes about after doing something that is outside your comfort zone or has gone wrong. Sure its purpose could be to warn you off ever attempting anything so stupid again but then what if everyone gave up when they got embarrassed, then where would our great singers be; all talented performers have off days and get embarrassed but that doesn’t mean they should give up. Then why embarrassment do you continue to hound us, to confine and constrain us?
The answer could lie in a unified society. The best way to create unity and peace is generally to make everyone similar. Boring and far from the modern world I know but if we look at the construction of society the evolution of morals pre-dating laws allowed us to work together in a fairly civil society. Then religion allowed conformity under a belief thus creating similar characteristics and beliefs. It could be then, like guilt, embarrassment has developed in order for people to realise they have stepped outside of what is societally accepted as good. This then allows people to better integrate. There are some quite wild speculations in this but I believe there is generally a reason behind everything, its just sometimes those reasons are quite well hidden.
I think then that embarrassment is a concept that should be largely disregarded, sure there are sometimes it comes in handy for example I will never again attempt stage hypnotism and the world will be better for it; however, much of the time there is nothing to be embarrassed about and if you weren’t embarrassed nobody else would find it embarrassing. In addition to this it breaks down our creativity which if you have read much of my blog is something I am avidly against.