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Blame - Who is Responsible?

Café-Salon Philosophique #54

February 19, 2000

No. of Participants: 10

Topic for the Evening's Discussion: "Blame - Who is Responsible?"

Samuel welcomed one and all to the Café discussion. The topic posed for the evening's discussion was, "Blame - Who is responsible?"

Jeff, a mediator at his work, had a recent incident occur which brought to mind the evening's question. One of the projects of the company fell behind schedule and became overbudgeted. Personnel at various levels were trying to blame "the other" for the incident. "It seems it is always easier to blame others, the organization, inanimate objects, the supernatural, and religion rather than admit to our own mistakes."

"Why do we blame? What relief or pleasure do we get from this?" Jeff asked. "It happens because people become uncomfortable in a situation and people need to vent their feelings," Damien said.

"It's a control issue," says Jeff. "Blame is projected because we learn to do so." "It's easier to blame another rather than look at the motives behind why we do what we do." We, humans, are not taught to consciously think about why we act or behave the way we do.

Massive "scapegoating," "blaming" and "exploitation" has occurred throughout history towards our fellow man; the Germans against the Jews, whites against the blacks, the European explorers rivaling the American Indians, just to name a few.

Why do we allow this to happen? Why do we choose to live with such barbarianism? Why do we ignore what we are creating on this planet, and want "the other guy" to do something about "it"?

The issue is control. In order to "stay in control," people in "positions of power" tend to project blame, manipulate, coerce and order people to conform to their way of doing things. "Positions of authority " are used to advantage. People lose their sense of self authority, use of power and the ability to make decisions by believing and relating to outside authorities.

Damien says, "Blame is projected because things become overhelming for a person, and so the blame comes out in many forms."

It may be verbal or physical, harmful or not. Blame may arise from misguided emotions related to dishonesty with the self. Humans are totally unaware of what real honesty is. There is alot of pretense that "we know," and life is lived at a superficial level when relating to the outside world and our selves.

Hal says, "When someone blames you for something, it feels like everyone is against you." "You are made to feel like you have really screwed up." It can make you feel bad. "Self worth and self esteem go down the toilet." Samuel says "we have to learn not to react to others blaming."

No matter what happens, self integrity must remain intact in order to maintain inner peace. Developing self observation helps you to learn from your mistakes. "When you learn not to respond and react in situations, you tend to "get over" and "get on" with life.

So the answer is - not reacting to the blame projected. Do the opposite. "If they insult you, you say thank you very much." Say something totally off the wall. Society places great emphasis on "word intelligence." Respond with silence rather than words.

The group then bounced back to defining blame. Joy says, "blame is an unwillingness to look at the self and be responsible for one's own actions." We identify "the other" as being the responsible one.

"Blame is a lack of human integrity," Samuel says. Blaming is a reactive process. Claudia says we need to break the habit of, "I'm right, your wrong," and identify, "how did this incident really occur?" "Is there a way I could have changed the course of events to have avoid the projected blaming?"

Nora identified praise as the opposite of blaming. "Maybe if there was a little more reinforcement of the good, that would make a difference."

Joy shared a story. She enjoys swimming at the "Y." A lifeguard who was not the usual lifeguard was playing loud music. From across the pool, Joy shouted at the lifeguard to "turn down the music!" Well, the lifeguard did a little, but, Joy was still not happy. It was some kind of loud, rhythmical music that she was not used to. So she swam in silence and fumed. The situation ended up in a heated discussion, and Joy left the pool angrily. She then asked, the question, who was to blame? Could the scenario have been different? Would a different approach have made the difference?

How do you approach life? Do you react or respond? Are you blaming, or are you honest with your self and accept responsibility for your actions? Is there really fault? Is there really some one to blame? I invite you to actively think about these questions and draw your own conclusions.

Our next Café meeting will be held March 4, 2000 at the Boulder Bookstore located at 1107 Pearl St. in Boulder, Colorado. Start time is 6:30 p.m. See you there! Invite your friends! Come with a new and interesting topic!

Commentary by Alessandra

"Samuel brings awareness to the soul of people and gives the artists who work under his direction the need, dedication, and love for the world of silence and the beautiful art of movement."


- Marcel Marceau, BIP 1961

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LCDS is an independent school for self-discovery through the human Arts.  The school offers seminars and workshops teaching the concepts of Theater, Mime, and Movement.