2010/11/16 – Blame and Responsibility

We Blame when we feel wronged by something or someone. When I was in a relationship, it was always my partner’s fault for messing it up. Or it was this or that which caused some form of discontent or discord that always seemed to fuck things up just when things are getting good. It was their fault! They were fucking things up for everybody! I was innocent.

Other than those few times I clearly saw my responsibility, or walked into that responsibility in worthless self-blaming. Before I studied the Desteni Material, I never really looked at the dichotomy of blame and responsibility before, I only sought to avoid both blame and responsibility in every way possible.

In a very strange way, blame and responsibility are two sides of the same coin. Blame can be a projection of a perceived accountability. It can also be an emotional response caused by another’s action, whereby one feels diminished by the actions or words of another. This can be seen easily in within breakdowns in relationships. To take this to a personal level, I projected immense blame towards the woman who I saw was responsible for causing the relationship to break down. And I felt completely in the right in doing so, because I knew I was guilty of wanting things to work between us. I just didn’t know how to bridge the separation that had widened between us. I saw her as suddenly ‘giving up’ and blamed her for it. I felt like I was burned. Do you know what I mean when I say, “burned?”

Anyway, whenever I talked to my friends about what happened, they would invariably say, “Darryl, you’re blaming again.” Which caused me to exclaim in exasperated tones, “But I’m just telling you what she did to me!” Yes, I felt that she did “something bad to me” because I was suffering and I wouldn’t be suffering if it wasn’t for what she did. I felt I was truly “blameless” in feeling this way. She was obviously responsible.

Over time, I managed to step back from that situation and see what I went through from a wider perspective. I wanted to hold her responsible for what she did, but in actuality, all I did was diminish myself by handing over to her the responsibility of how I experienced myself. That diminishment was of my own making. I should have taken that responsibility on how I experienced myself in the first place instead of blaming another, but I just couldn’t see it then. I wanted justice, not understanding. And that’s what happens when we blame another for our hurt feelings or perceived injury. We want justice instead of taking responsibility for ourselves. We want a scapegoat, someone to blame for our sins. In the book of Leviticus, the scapegoat was a goat sent into the wilderness after the Chief Priest symbolically laid the evils of the tribe upon it.

Wishful thinking, of course, as it was a ceremony that was useless, as if evil could be vanquished in such a way, as if the responsibility of evil of us all could be placed on an innocent being. If one could have placed the responsibility of evil where it truly belonged – in the acceptances and allowances where evil flourishes, oh, that would be the beginning of Heaven on Earth.

 

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3 thoughts on “2010/11/16 – Blame and Responsibility

  1. I’m curious about your thoughts on Rene Girard’s theories of mimetic desire, his reinterpretation of the New Testament, and the effective use of his theories to resolve scapegoating and violence at community and cultural levels.
    My understanding of the basis of his theory is thus: the source of human desire is rooted in mimesis, the need to imitate others. To a certain extent, imitation is a positive occurrence, as one seeks to model oneself after others in ways that may be benign and even beneficial. At some point, however, imitation becomes rivalry and rivalry becomes hostile. The desire to be like another person, and to desire what the other person desires, leads to conflict, which itself leads to a redoubling of the effort to imitate, supplant, and become the rival. Inevitably, this cycle leads to what Girard calls the surrogate victim mechanism or scapegoating. Every culture, says Girard, achieves stability by discharging the tensions of mimetic rivalry and violence onto scapegoats. Early cultures used religion; Later cultures use judiciary systems to contain violence. But even when cultures no longer practice sacrifice directly, they still continue to target certain individuals or groups as scapegoats so that violence will not overflow its banks and threaten others.

    1. As for Girards’ reflections on the New Testament, I’m afraid he’s superimposing his perspective on the text. I really doubt that the authors had any inkling of mimetic influence since this theory didn’t exist until Girard. His theories do not appeal to me because there’s nothing meaningful in them that I can find as a philosophy that could be a benefit for humanity

  2. Thanks for the comment, Emily. Gigard theory of mimesis seems to stand on firm ground. The desire to mimic others is what we at Desteni say is essentially speaking of the programmability of the human mind. Children are programmed by their parents and the environment to become more or less faithful copies; “the sins of the father’s passed down to the seventh generation.” Unfortunately, we believe that the impulsed constellation of programs (personality) is who we are. We are directed by these programs to behave in predictable, limited patterns. The elites who run Madison Avenue know this. Authors like Vance Packard and Chomsky, who explain how mass media forms public opinion. Bush was able to direct a largely united American front against Iraq by playing on the American public’s desire for revenge by insisting 9-11 and Saddam’s (imaginary) weapons of mass destruction were somehow connected. The sacrificial victims of America’s Vengeful Justice was of course, the Iraqi people. For their troubles their cities were cluster bombed back to the 19th century with the added value of depleted uranium and control of their national oil supplies.

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