Embarrassment is an emotional state of intense discomfort with oneself, experienced upon having a socially unacceptable act or condition witnessed by or revealed to others. Usually some amount of loss of honour or dignity is involved, but how much and the type depends on the embarrassing situation. It is similar to shame, except that shame may be experienced for an act known only to oneself.
Mark Twain said that man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to. According to Scientific American; ‘Publicly conveying embarrassment or shame may signify the actor’s recognition that she/he has committed a social or moral infraction, and regrets this. As a consequence, this message may mitigate the negative social impression that was caused by the infraction.’
Anthropologists, geneticists, biologists, scientists generally and you and me should all be amazed and intrigued at the way in which our species evolves. As we constantly evolve, we adapt to survive in the face of nature. Not often is a qualitative change to the evolutionary process captured live on film as it happens – but yesterday in Parliament, our Prime Minister shed the burden of embarrassment in a staggering display of Darwinian survival behaviour. Thousands of years of our species being , necessarily, able to register moral discomfort and guilt were set aside as John Key held on to a useful political relationship by steadfastly recognising a legal standard at the expense of an ethical cornerstone. He was not interested in distinguishing right from wrong and he was equally disinterested in reading any documents that may assist in making such a distinction. We witnessed the dawn of Amoral Man
. Lucky us.