Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It has to be somebody's fault!!

It always befuggles me that whenever anything happens -- hurricane, plane crash, broken dish, budget woes, mine explosion -- one of the first things on the agenda is to figure out whose fault it was. 

Why wasn't the mayor more prepared for wind and flood damage?   Did the pilot ignore the tower or did the mechanics screw up the maintenance?   Is the President an idiot with money or was the last President an idiot with money?   Why didn't I realize the plate was slippery? 

When things go wrong, I do agree that it makes sense to look carefully at it to see if there are lessons to be learned for the next time.  But we humans tend to focus more on blame and less on solutions.  Maybe because it is easier to have a target for the grief's anger component.  Also, finding someone to blame makes for better headlines and more lucrative lawsuits. 

It still doesn't seem right to me.  Even when someone actually IS to blame.   I keep thinking of the old saying about walking a mile in their shoes.  Someone (I could sound smart if I remembered their name, but I don't) said that if you could experience everything that someone experienced throughout their life you could understand even the most heinous actions.  It wouldn't make it right; but you could understand it.  And I think Jesus (whose name I can remember) said a few things about forgiveness but I can't actually remember exactly what they were without looking them up.  

It's probably all Adam's fault anyhow.  Or Eve's.   That subtle old fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was a nasty little thing to inject into the gene pool.   I don't think that original sin was sex...

BAGMAN:  "Thank God!"

...I think original sin was the ability to judge, or more specifically, the inability not to judge. 

The irony that having discriminating taste is good while discriminating against others is bad.  Or did I just make some good/bad judgements there?  Oops.  My bad.


  1. A tricky subject, Mark. It is a fine line between blame and just identifying the source of a problem or error. It happens often in the lab that I have to fix a problem, but I can't do that without finding out what specifically went wrong, and that can be readily confused with searching whom to blame. All depends in how you go about it!

  2. So true ... and childish too.

    I think you might be thinking of a Longfellow quote that goes roughly like this: "If we could but read the secret history of our enemies, it would be enough to disarm all hostility." I am able to remember it because I posted it on my blog a few months back. :0)

  3. Hi B&B I am still discovering blogs that have left my list and I don't know who or what to blame. Great post today. Some food for thought for sure. So glad you are back on my list. Blessings

  4. I like your idea of just blaming Adam for everything (after all he's been dead a long time and likely no longer cares) and then we can just get on with looking for solutions.

  5. :) sign me up for adam too, only because he is the male, eve was just following along...

  6. As the old feminist saying goes, "Eve was framed!"

  7. I'm with you ...focus on the solution not the problem. Blame is a very painful game and is good for no-one!

  8. We are only human - not the most intelligent creatures on the face of the Earth. Sometimes, we make too much of small things - even big things.

    Everything that happens does so for a reason. Or is it all random? Perhaps there is reason in randomness. Arrgghh! Now I have a headache.

  9. One thing that has often bothered me is that if two people screw up in exactly the same way and to the same degree, one with disastrous consequences and the other, quite fortuitously, escaping serious outcomes, the former has blame heaped upon him and the latter is overlooked. The courts quite often sentence more on the basis of chance results than actual culpability, it seems to me.

  10. One of the reasons (among many) that I like this president is he spends less time casting blame or whining about how hard the job is and just keeps on plugging away.