325. Whose Fault Is It?

People waste an awful lot of energy thinking of ways to avoid taking responsibility for things that don’t work out right. That energy could be used to seek out the real sources of problems – both the external ones and the little flaws we humans have. And the problems would end up getting solved sooner.
Ultimately, I don’t think anybody’s to blame for anything. In everyday life, I think I do my share of blaming, but in the back of my mind, I try to remember that people don’t start out intending to be who they end up being, and do what they end up doing. Intention eventually gets to be quite a force – in some people more than in others – but no matter how strong it gets, it’s not the only force.
People sometimes search frantically for someone or something to blame. They think that they’ve got to find an external reason for their failures or shortcomings. If they don’t, they think, then they’re to blame. They think there’s something they could/should have done differently, and if it weren’t for them, everything would be fine. And they don’t want to think that.
Children’s first attempts at blaming can seem funny (if they don’t infuriate you). They blame people or things that couldn’t possibly be guilty. Or they deny their own roles when there is incontrovertible evidence sitting right there. Like
many adults, they don’t want to believe that they could possibly contribute to problems; they want to see themselves as contributors to solutions.
As we grow, some of us start to take some responsibility. Some even take it too far, blaming themselves for things that really aren’t their fault at all. Some spend hours in therapy learning how to redirect that guilt. They learn to blame their parents, or other significant people in their lives. Of course, if you fully accept my thesis, their parents, etc. aren’t guilty, either. But I guess the first step is for us to learn not to blame ourselves.
Somewhere along the process, I think we’re supposed to start believing that even though we’re not to blame for what has happened so far, we’re in charge of what happens from now on. If things go well, that’s not so hard to do. There’s a bit of a logical problem there: if we’re responsible for what works, aren’t we also to blame for what doesn’t?
But we humans don’t like to take responsibilty for things that don’t turn out well. We’d much rather take credit for things that do, and blame the rest of the world for the problems. Perhaps you wonder how we got that way. Well, don’t look at me; I had nothing to do with it.

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