Zizek on shame:
It would be all too easy to establish here a link between shame and the Levinasian notion of responsibility toward the neighbor’s face; however, the ultimate limitation of shame is the same as that of Levinas: it relies on some figure of “big Other” whose presupposed gaze makes us ashamed. … Why did Oedipus blind himself after discovering the truth about himself? Not to punish himself, but to escape the unbearable gaze of the Other, the gaze which is outside - it does not belong to an eye but to an all-seeing world which photographs me all the time. This is what Oedipus was not able to sustain: the shame of the truth of his disclosed to the world to see it. What, then, happens to shame once the subject assumes the inexistence of the big Other? The medieval human remained inscribed into the field of the Other’s gaze, into creation under the protection of God’s gaze; this gaze is a secondary version of the original fact that, prior to seeing, we are objects of the Other’s gaze. Against this background, the break of modernity, the rise of the modern subject, equals the emergence of the space of intimacy: the subject asserts itself as the subject of a gaze who masters the world by first seeing it from a safe distance, from a dark place beyond the Other’s gaze. Unseen, I see. This is what the Cartesian cogito ultimately amounts to: I am insofar as I am not seen, insofar as the core of my being dwells in an “intimate” space that escapes the Other’s public gaze. This exemption is an illusion, however, a screen against the fact that, prior to seeing, I am here for the Other’s gaze. … Those who refuse to get caught in the illsusion of being able to see from a safe distance and to elude the Other’s gaze - pay for this a terrible price of psychotic closure. However, Lacan’s les non-dupes errent can (and should) be read in a different way, as a formula against cynicism: the “non-duped” are not psychotics but cynics who refuse to get caught in the symbolic fiction and reduce it to a mere superficial mask beneath which the “real thing” dwells (power, jouissance, etc.). I choose to act as if I believe in the illusion. This is an “empty” knowledge, a knowledge deprived of symbolic-performative efficiency. It is false because it remains disconnected from truth; the truth is not on the side of my knowledge, but on the side of the illusion in which I let myself get caught. This is how today’s ideology functions: a business man who thinks that his economic activity is just a game in which he participates, while his “true Self” expresses itself in spiritual meditation, is not aware that this is a mere delusion enabling him to successfully participate in the economic activity.