Dealing with Humiliation

David L. BowmanBlack Mirror, Self-ImprovementLeave a Comment

Dealing with Humiliation

Dealing with Humiliation:

I want to take a moment and talk with you about oneness.  By oneness, I mean a shared experience in which everyone comes to a similar understanding about a fundamental truth.  Within many traditions there’s a concept of oneness or shared relatability.  The mystical and religious traditions lead the practitioner to prescience, telepathy and empathic powers.  So too, within science there’s a concept of shared elements of creation and shared cellular-memory.  Sadly, rarely the mystic, religious or scientific models draw actionable understanding from this oneness.  The prescient are far and few in between and even rarer are the truly empathetic.

But, there’s a way in which we often connect and instantly understand one another.  This is wonderfully presented in the first episode of Black Mirror (S1:E1 – The National Anthem).  In this episode, an artist for art’s sake, blackmails the Prime Minister of England over YouTube to conduct an act of sexual impropriety with a pig at 4:00 p.m. to assure the safe release of the country’s beloved Princess Susannah.  As 4:00 p.m. approaches the Prime Minister prepares this heinous act as 1.2 billion people watch from bars and all over the internet.  Bar patrons cheer for the degradation of the high and mighty Prime Minister, and as their victim removes his jacket and trousers; fist pumping and laughing ensues among the patrons.  He stares into the camera, exhales and says, “I love my wife,” which grants “Awwws” and “Ohhhhs” to the women of the crowd and the furthers the laughing of the men.  Naked and engaged, the Prime Minister begins the job at hand and begins to cry.  Immediately, the cheering ends.  The eyes lower.  People take a step away from their televisions as if separating themselves from the vile action itself.

This is humiliation.  The lowering of one’s self.  In this case, not of a prime minister lowering himself to the level of a simple civilian, but a man lowering himself to the level of an animal.  The patrons are reminded that they too are human, and share in the Prime Minister’s experience.  It’s in this shared moment of humiliation we’re reminded of our own disgusting nature and oneness emerges.

After the act, Princess Susannah is recovered and the Prime Minister is rewarded with a greater approval rating.  Not surprising, because he’s found a new relationship with his constituents crafted through his humiliation.  Although, at the costly price of his now loveless marriage.  It’s a sad thing which occurs because of her proximity to the humiliated object.  Her relationship to the humiliated object was not just that in shared humankind, but that of a wife.  She’s became humiliated in her status, and she’s not even aware.

So, here’s how we deal with humiliation.  When we watch someone in his moment of humiliation; use it to connect to him and the shared oneness of the others watching.  Share with the humiliated that his humiliation is also your humiliation.  Share with him that he is not alone nor could ever be alone in this humiliation.  Furthermore, when we’re humiliated ourselves, ask others to share in our humiliation and to connect with us, because it’s at that moment we’re not alone, but sharing in oneness.