Saturday, April 21, 2007

Fixing blame

One of the strange features of our society is how much people value personal responsibility, yet then spend much time blaming others for falling short of the standards of those doing the blaming. That’s not leaving responsibility to the other person, is it? No, it’s saying my standard of behavior should be everyone’s standard. It’s saying someone should be responsible for behaving as I would, not responsible according to their own understanding.

“They made me do it.” It’s easy to say, “No, you could have done something else,” if you have no sense of how those other choices would have affected that person. Was it just self-indulgence? Was it just narcissism? Or was it surrendering to something greater than he was? Most people who label Cho Seung-Hui as simply evil or something else contemptuous have no idea of the conflict within him, no idea what it was like to walk in his shoes.

I think a suitable afterlife would be for judgmental people to experience life from the perspective of those they judged. It’s probably too much trouble or beyond the power of whoever and whatever God really is, but that’s what’s missing from all these judgments one comes across in the media, blogs or real life, on all sorts of issues. Opinions are so often more about ignorance than anything else.

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