Letter: Our culture of assigning blame
In response to Lori Mueller’s Parent Talk column, I wish it was more an advice column than an advertisement for YouthZone, strewn with a few tidbits.
On the subject of blame one might point out that when people resort to blame they are in fact taking responsibility. It’s the lowest form of responsibility and is born of the objective to avoid any responsibility but nevertheless when people blame something they believe it to be taking responsibility. Thus our wonderful culture of assigning blame.
The other problem is that responsibility isn’t a teachable skill. It resides in us and manifests in different ways according to our emotional response to what is in the moment, filtered through the conditioning of the environment, that may or may not be classified as teaching. Thus, in short, the apathetic blame; the fearful blame; the angry blame, the bored sit the fence, the mildly interested take a more personal interest in causation, the engaged own up and the enthusiastic seek to reconcile. Therefore, the one who can admit they screwed up just has a shorter row to hoe than the one who insists it’s not their fault. Trouble is that both the popular and professional cultures dragged us all into a less messy apathy where blame suffices.
Responsibility is a spiral similar to the dwindling emotional spiral one enters when they’re told they’re going to die. However, it’s inverted, ascending toward acceptance of life rather than descending toward accepting death. This is best illustrated in the beatitudes of the Gospels, and why its adaptation to less dogmatic engagement in AA does work.
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One comes poor in spirit, realizing pointing the finger isn’t responsible enough, mourning the loss of the friends, and self, and work one’s way up until you are fully responsible and thus rightly facilitate the responsible/blame that is this fallen culture’s reaching against the grain towards life.
Taking responsibility above the level of blame is truly counter-culture and many emotions are shared by those taking up at least blame’s share of being enthusiastically engaged in living.
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