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Is 'Cringe' useful to us?
in General

To begin with, I want to state clearly that the meaning of the word 'cringe' discussed here is 'inward shiver of embarrassment' in order to avoid any confusion. Now I will move on to my question. What is the use of cringe? In what way does it help us? Is there any convincing explanation of the existence of cringe? If you have good answers to my questions, please post it.

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  • I watched a lot of news yesterday. Yes, I believe it is. :anguished:
  • I don't think it is a good thing to constantly have the emotion of cringe when you are discussing important issues and topics nor do I think it is helpful. From my point of view, if you are cringing constantly in response to someone's arguments and ideas, then all that shows is your own biases and closed mindedness and lack of ability to listen to other peoples opinions. Now I am not saying it is not natural or that anyone is a bad person for the reaction/emotion of cringe in response to someone's talking points. However, I do think it is a weakness of human nature and reasonable honest people who actually try to have an intellectually led life need to work hard to rid the response of cringe from our list of emotional responses. 
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  • @MattGould Yeah, I agree with your claim that cringing constantly in response to someone who has serious ideas is not good. Cringing is often used to devalue the effort of people who actually spend a lot of time studying their subjects and putting forward some good ideas that appear 'cringy'. Apart from this situation, how about when people cringe from people who does not act in accordance to their age( for example, when adults act childish seriously)? Do you still think that cringing is a sign of narrow mindedness and bias?
  • If you cringe, it simply means you're capable of feeling empathy - the same mental function that makes it painful to watch another person in pain. You're putting yourself in that person's place, knowing that you don't envy to be in their place at all. And empathy is an excellent trait that you can have. Therefore, I can say cringe is relatively useful besides the fact that it's an uncomfortable feeling. This feeling allows you to understand others more, which is something the world needs.
  • As @Oppolzer said, it is about empathy. The usefulness of cringe is that you learn what social situations to avoid, due to the perceived danger of those situations. When someone says something deeply embarrassing in public, you think, "Wow, if I were in their shoes, I would really be thought of as a weirdo right now", and the strong feeling of cringe makes a check mark in your list of things not to do in the future.

    All negative or mixed reactions exist as means of our brains conditioning themselves for subjectively better functionality. There is no negative reaction or feeling that is not supposed to protect us from something, even though sometimes those reactions/feelings misfire and create irrational fears and avoidance behaviors in us.
  • @Oppolzer @Oppolzer Let my try to understand your comment by paraphrasing it. So you are claiming that cringe is a sign of one's ability to feel empathy because it makes you feel bad for the person who is in danger of being ridiculed because of his cringy behavior? And as a result, you can understand others more? Well, I can't fully understand your claim I mentioned in previous sentences because I couldn't find a strong relationship between 'cringe' and 'ability to understand others'. Isn't feeling cringe motivated by one's inability to understand the true motive for the cringy behaviors? 
  • I think cringing can get you out of situations so I say yes
  • @대왕광개토

    The way you defined "cringe" in your beginning statement is "inward shiver of embarrassment", which I agree. When you see someone doing something embarrassing, you tend to feel embarrassed for them. That's empathy. You're putting yourself in their situation, and therefore, you understand their situation. I'm not quite sure what you mean when you say, "cringe is motivated by one's inability to understand the true motive of their cringy behaviors." That seems a bit out of place.

    I'll give you an example. If I went on Youtube and watched a video of a person doing a terrible rendition to a music video, I would cringe. My cringe isn't motivated by "I don't understand the true motive of their cringy behavior." My cringe is driven by "I feel embarrassed for them, and I'd die of humiliation if I did that." 
  • @Oppolzer Okay now I understood what you meant. 
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