[S]haming has social meaning. It characteristically results in a desire to sever the sightlines between the self and the other. We talk about wanting to hide our faces and the characteristic look of shame—the head bowed, the eyes lowered. But that’s not the only way of achieving such separation. Rather than hide, one can instead do away with the onlooker. ‘He who is ashamed would like to force the world not to look at him, not to notice his exposure. He would like to destroy the eyes of the world,’ as Erik Erikson famously put it (1963, 227).
Still, it rarely happens that men live according to the guidance of reason. Instead, their lives are so constituted that they are usually envious and burdensome to one another. They can hardly, however, live a solitary life; hence, that definition which makes man a social animal has been quite pleasing to most. And surely we do derive, from society of our fellow men, many more advantages than disadvantages.”
“How do we prevent and stop violence and harm without creating more violence and harm? How do we transform a society in which harm is endemic to build a culture where violence becomes unthinkable? How can small everyday acts of accountability and relationship building lead to a broad cultural shift away from harm?”
Of course I have been writing as though society was an organism in which people were in harmony with each other, in which they cooperated with each other and in which they were not waging wars of aggression against each other and were not in conflict with each other. But in actual fact and in terms of human history such harmony has not been the case.
In human history, we see that society has been broken up into classes, into antagonistic ethnic and economic groups that struggle against each other for survival as each sees it. They enslave each other and make their living at the expense of other groups, special interest groups are formed, etc. So that in reality we have to look at our own situation, have to look at the situation that exists in the economic base in terms of the class struggle, also in terms of the ethnic struggles that have gone on.”
In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i.e., capital, is developed, in the same proportion is the proletariat, the modern working class, developed—a class of labourers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labour increases capital. These labourers, who must sell themselves piecemeal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market.
— Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto
And not just projects, but what other things do we struggle to say no to?
What kinds of things are we expected never to say no to and why are we expected to be so accommodating?
What kinds of reactions do we imagine we’ll receive if we were to say no and if you have ever tried what actually happened when you did and how did you feel after?
Have you ever reacted negatively when someone said no to something you asked of them, and why?
How can we learn not just how to protect our own time and our boundaries but to allow others to protect their’s as well?