Thought For The Week: The Blame Game

Before you continue with my article, I’d like to refer you to an article I just read.  It’s about a math formula that may explain why serial killers news.  (For those with a news bias, it’s from Fox News – it doesn’t matter to me the source.)

If you read near the end, you will notice an interesting comment:

“When we’re trying to figure out ‘how blameworthy is this person?’, I can imagine that a serial killer could use this finding at sentencing to argue that he was not morally blameworthy, but rather the puppet of his biology,” she said.”As in, ‘the neuron firing pattern makes me do this.'”

Well, how blameworthy is he really?

I think all of us, to one degree or another, blame something or someone for a particular problem we have.  Some of use maybe give a split-seconds attention to it – enough to know we did it, but not enough to care.  Some of us focus too much on it, blaming everyone and everything for every problem they have, including the ones they cause.  Most of us are lucky enough to fall somewhere in the middle –  we acknowledge the fault in ourselves in all but the most extreme of circumstances, when fault is there to blame.

A lot of us do it and don’t realize it.  When we blame our obesity on genetics, on age, on conditions in our life, we’re still blaming someone or something for a problem we can control.  Same thing with our finances, our job situations, our family and marital problems – it’s always easier to look at a smaller cause and say, “that’s the problem!” than it is to look deeper into the roots of the problem.

We can’t help but to see it in society – Some kid shoots up a school or kills themselves, we look at what they watched or listened to, what they played, who they played with, if they were on drugs, etc.  More often than not, there’s some highly popular movie/game/band/book that’s extreme in either violence, sexual content, or gore.  Sometimes we do find the right causes to the problems – if they were bullied, how they interacted with others, etc.  More often than not, the groups and politicians want you focus on the smaller causes, since they’re the things you can easily point a finger and say, “that’s going to affect a lot of other people as well!” and try to change how it is presented, if it isn’t banned.

Blame is an easy, constant struggle that I need to reverse in my life.  I’m good at avoiding the blame of society for my problems – Metallica didn’t make me try drugs or alcohol, Mortal Kombat has not made me kill anyone yet, and McDonald’s did not hold a gun to my head while making me eat their food.  It’s in digging to the root of the problem and, more importantly, what I choose to talk about with others, that gives the perception that I blame everybody for everything.  I see the blame in myself, but because I let people who don’t acknowledge their role in my problem get to me, they become the source of my venting.

I’m not going to tell you to feel sorry for me or to dislike or talk to anyone – at the end of the day, no matter what problems I have, I am the only one responsible for my actions.  It is up to me, however, to figure out not only where I went wrong and how far back in my life a particular problem lies, but to learn and grow from that problem so that the problem is a solution.  that sometimes means saying, “aha! That’s who I got that from!”

For example, my eating habits came from my mom and grandparents who were not always the best of examples for me to follow.  Was it their fault for my actions?  Is it their fault I am overweight?

Of course not – I learned the food pyramid in school, and once I moved out on my own, what I did not know I could have taken the time to learn, so that I could prepare my own meals. I could have stayed working out all through high school and not let my bike be my only form of exercise.  When it comes to the point in teenage-hood where I could think and act for myself, I was responsible for what I learned and what I did – or did not – do.

That said, that information is useful – it gives me a reference point of how deep the problem is, which tells me that I will, more likely than not, need an external source to work through these problems with me.  That’s not saying I can’t do it on my own – it just means that the problem with this is going to be tougher than  learning to play the drums properly, which is something I’ve never earned nor tried to learn.

Using this example, though, I can point to my trap:  I’ll focus on the fact that my mom and grandparents taught me their bad habits, or that my dad wasn’t around to teach me anything.  I’ll sometimes forget that I still have to be responsible for learning how to properly do something, or how not to do something, over what I already know.

The point I am getting at, though, is how far this game extends and why it needs to be fixed.  When we lose sight of our focus and our goals, when we forget about the bigger problems and focus on those small bugs, we set ourselves up for this trap, and we fail to progress.  We need to learn two things:

1.  We are each only responsible for our own problems.

2.  No matter what scientific or mathematical evidence says it’s rooted in you, no matter how big or small your family is, or how rich or poor, black or white, old or young we are, we are each responsible for our own actions and what we learn from our own mistakes.

Once we remember these things, we can truly move forward with our problems.

P.S.  I didn’t admit this to get anyone to feels sorry for me or to justify any of my actions.  If I did wrong, whether I meant it or not, I am sorry.  The only thing I justify now is my choice in taking my time to learn from my mistakes, in the hopes of not repeating any of my worst ones.  I’ll settle for missing the “taking the trash out” to keep the people I love in my life longer.

I don’t need a scientific explanation or mathematical formula to prove it.


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