Four old friends who haven’t seen each other in a while decide to get together over lunch.
The first one, beaming, pulls out his iPhone X brand new, the most profitable consumer product ever created. The iPhone hasn’t offered much new in terms of functionality in 5 years, but people keep buying the new one and he knows why putting on the table gingerly, he has moved up in status.
His friend, to the left, pulls out his pixel phone, from Google, android based, a way of showing he is smarter than his friend, he bought something with more power.
Not be outdone, the third friend pulls out a water-proof flip phone, 12 years old, it doesn’t matter, he is all about the functionality.
The fourth friend though, the status of no status, doesn’t have a phone at all, doesn’t need a phone, his admin assistant will take care of it.
And around the circle we go.
How do we keep it running?
In a society, as rich as ours, with so many resources available, how do we keep it going?
How do we keep making people upset and frustrated when they don’t have enough status?
How do we get people to work all night even though they have enough to earn more status?
How do we create life and death situations for status?
How do we push people to debt for status?
It turns out that shame, that basic human emotion, the top six human emotion that people experience after happiness and fear, right up there is shame.
Shame is the status enforcer.
What we have done, is orchestrate a culture where-if you are surrounded with people with more status than you or if you believe that they have more status than you, we have instructed you to feel shame.
And we hate shame.
Shame is the deal killer.
Shame undermines all of the things we seek to have.
So to avoid shame, we make bad decisions, we make decisions that honor marketers or those that will manipulate us, as opposed to doing what’s best for us and the people around us.
To avoid shame, we spent lots of money and get into credit card debt because we want to have this massive expensive wedding because we don’t want to be the shame of the community if we have a small intimate less extravagant wedding ceremony.
To avoid shame, we spend lots of money on burial service.
To avoid shame, we spends excessive money on holidays because we want to be seen to have checked in at exotic destinations.
It is shame that drives us to want to keep up with the Joneses or Khumalos.
You go to Starbucks [Rosebank] and everyone there uses MacBooks, and not wanting to be shamed, it is easy to feel the pressure to get one.
It is important that we learn to see it.
That once you see it, once you see out this juxtaposition between status and shame used over and over again, you can see how you are being manipulated.
Manipulated to vote, manipulated to work, manipulated to buy.
Status, all by itself has no real value outside of an arena where someone is trying to take something from us.
That the rest of the time status is in our head.
Status is the story we tell ourselves, about our worth, about our business card, about how we are being judged.