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I’ve been thinking …. again

23 Dec

I was thinking about “Blame”. What is blame? Why do we do it? I believe it is “a lack of taking responsibility for our own actions and a lack of acceptance”. When we don’t like what has happened, we often blame someone or something else for it happening. Or some of us will always blame ourselves for our stupidity or clumsiness.

Interestingly this can be a national trait as well as an individual one. Here in the south of France generally customer service is very poor when compared to England or the USA, except in restaurants of course. So if a customer is not happy, the response tends to be “it’s not my/our fault, therefore the fault must be yours”. If something goes wrong in the process the fault must lie with the equipment. “They don’t make quality equipment anymore”. So what effect does this have on us? it makes us grumpy, unhappy and maybe difficult to work with. It’s infectious also and so it continues until all your colleagues and customers alike seem unhappy and uncaring.

My impression of the USA is that customer service generally is excellent but why is this? Is it because everyone is frightened of being sued? Or is it that everyone is happy to take responsibility for their errors or mistakes? I believe it is the former but correct me if I’m wrong.

When we blame ourselves for everything going wrong it tends to have a cumulative effect and we start to see everything negatively and stop believing in ourselves. So how do top sports people cope with this? I believe they are coached not to think about what went wrong but to think how it could be done better next time and not apportion blame to either themselves or others. Then after the game to analyse dispassionately what happened to see if it could be a avoided the next time.

If it’s better to look forward than back, what is the objective of history? I think that each country writes its own history and that it doesn’t always coincide with that of another country. So how do historians think? Dispassionately or not? How do they prove historical fact from fiction? I believe the objective is to learn from history so that we can do better in the future. But it’s necessary to see history from different perspectives therefore the ‘proof’ cannot just be scientific or from stories from one country or people, it needs to be more global in its approach without apportioning blame.

So is blame always negative? A Buddhist would say that acceptance is a key to happiness. If we can accept that we are not perfect and that things will go wrong but accept things as they are, neither right or wrong, we will be happier. So how does blaming someone else help us? Does it make us feel better about ourselves and our capacity for thought? Does it mean we think we are better than others? Then what about those of us who blame ourselves for everything around us? Does this mean we think we should be perfect and better than everyone else or does it mean we think we are unworthy and not entitled to any success?

Personally I can’t see any reason for blame being positive. It seems to me destructive thinking which interferes in our relationships with others.