I was talking with a friend the other day. We were talking about blame, and how unhealthy it is to bother to blame anyone.
While we were talking, we also noticed how easy it was to be hypocritical about blame. Oh yes, in principle we may beleve that no one is to blame for anything. But, when it comes down to it, we still select certain people for more aggressive treatment.
WHY NO ONE IS TO BLAME
It’s worth covering briefly why blame can be such a pointless and destructive tactic.
Think of someone you may have blamed recently for something. Perhaps you are an ex-partner who blames their ex for causing the trouble that led to the end of the relationship. Perhaps you are a political person who blames the ‘other side’ for the world’s problems, while exonerating your own side.
Even if you believe that you are correct, this is still no reason to blame another person. If you believe you are right, then it would be more accurate to consider those who disagree with you to be ignorant, rather than inherently wrong.
Delusion is everywhere. But it is the delusions that are wrong, not the people having the delusions. Instead of blaming anyone, we would be better off considering them perhaps misguided. (Even here we have to be careful, as it may well be we who are misguided!)
ANGER VERSUS KINDNESS
One of the main reasons why blaming is awkward, is that it can shift our mindset unnecessarily from kindness to anger. The minute we attribute a problem to an essential fault in a person, we commit a kind of violence, putting that person in a prejudicial box of our making. This can involve a closing down of hope, an assumption that the other cannot change.
A kind approach, in contrast, can attribute a problem to misunderstanding, without considering anyone in particular to be at fault in themselves. Hope stays intact, because we retain the optimistic assumption that others can be essentially good, however difficult we find their behaviour.
Humans find it easy to slip into the delusion of blame.
Instead of acknowledging that ignorance is everywhere, and hard to avoid, we get frustrated. We turn other people into demons, effectively damaging hope in the other’s ability to change.
We would, perhaps, be better off preserving our hope. Certainly it is healthier to be hopeful rather than angry.
In the words of the Dalai Lama: ‘Choose to be optimistic. It feels better.’