The itch to blame

The itch to blame and tame is with all of us….yours truly,  leading the pack! You decide whether you are guilty, by your own reckoning :  & then decide whether it is worth reading this blog OR you would prefer to skip it!!! I will not blame you….as this introspection has taught me a lot….

The blame game starts because one feels helpless, frustrated and ineffective. Rather than take responsibility for your situation and own the consequences, you find it easier to blame the circumstances, the situation, others involved, even luck or destiny, family or karma….but always something external, which has caused this outcome. You, of course, are blame-free and above it all. Which explains why Douglas Coupland observed “Blame is just a lazy person’s way of making sense of the chaos”.  Very often, we need to take a hard look at our preparation, our efforts. But we are comfortable finding a peg to hang our failure on. As our own local saying has it “नाच ना आवे आंगन टेढ़ा”.

Yogi Berra the iconic baseball player captured this attitude well when he said “I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat, and if it keeps up, I just change the bat. After all….how can I be mad at myself?” And this happens to the best of us. We all would do much better if we learnt to not spend time finding others to blame. We put in too much energy in finding excuses for not becoming what we are capable of being. Our approach should rather be to grow out of our past and get on with our lives, by putting our energy  and our own self on the line.

blame-and-shame-game

My favorite poet Rainer Maria Rilke puts it so well “If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for the Creator, there is no poverty”. What a thought!!! For the Creator, there is NO POVERTY. You are limited by your own imagination and your effort.  So should we not keep the itch to blame in reins?

One more aspect of the blame game is true since times immemorial. Aeschylus the first great Athenian dramatist observed in 5th Century BC “Everyone is quick to blame the alien”.  We all draw such a close circle around oneself, our own way of thinking, our favorite theories and even our pet peeves that anything which is different is “alien”. And we are quick to blame, reject, question, doubt, ridicule and run down whatever does not conform to my worldview. We refuse to respect diversity and we are not intellectually honest to accept that “I do not know it all” : the other person’s POV may be different; but it could also be right. In fact social reality is multi dimensional and just because I see things in a particular way, does not mean that is the “right” way. Others can, and do, view things very, very differently.

blamemyself

This perspective is especially critical to remember when there is a power differential between the two parties. Otherwise the blame game can easily deteriorate into the “tame” game. Recollect our childhood Aesop fable about the Big Bad Wolf who blamed the Cute Little Lamb for polluting his drinking water in the flowing brook. When the Lamb tried to protest that he was downstream,  and Wolf was at a higher level and so how could the Lamb pollute the water? the Wolf’s famous reply was ” Well if not you, then it was your ancestors who muddied the drinking water” And so the Lamb is still to blame  and will be eaten by the Wolf to teach a lesson. Any excuse will serve a tyrant, as Hitler proved to millions of Jews during the Holocaust. Blame game often ends with a overpowering desire to tame the opposing point of view. Why Hitler? let us remember our own bosses. And we will easily see that the itch to blame and tame is omnipresent. Even in family, my daughter thinks the same about me.

Yet truly, if you see life in it’s full-blown glory, you will see also it’s rich diversity. In India there are sharp contrast between the haves and the have-nots. So while we have the richest private residence in the world Antilia which is valued at USD 1,000,000,000, we also have 62% of Mumbai’s population living in slums as per HT report (9/8/2018). There are stark differences in lifestyles of the people of Mumbai but somehow we have mastered the art of peaceful coexistence. We do not question the propriety of either a USD 1 Billion home or the fact that compared to the 1991 Census there is a staggering increase of 50% in the population of slum dwellers. The beauty of our pluralistic society is seen in the fact that the street children are happy, while our rich, nouveau rich and middle class children are unhappy, stressed and hassled. In the rainy season I truly admire the resilience of the street urchins who are gleefully enjoying the rain. While the kids who are bundled in cars or school buses fret and scowl!!! Fortunately, we have not yet gone down the Kenyan and Nigerian path, and there is still no strident blaming one another or forcible taming of the other side.

Picture1

The cartoon above says it all: we must learn to cope and ignore. Rumi puts it so well : The art of knowing is knowing what to ignore. Wish I had got this advice much earlier in life. Blaming and efforts of taming would have been much less. Recently I came across something interesting about sunflowers. We all know that sunflowers follow the direction of the sun and turn to face the Sun. But what happens when it is raining? and there is no Sun? Apparently sunflowers turn to one another and bask in the reflected energy and positivity of one another. How beautiful would it be if we humans learn this skill from sunflowers; and rather than rue the absence of the Sun, take joy and energy from the glory which is all around you; get energized from one another. Overcome the itch to blame, shame and tame. Rather revel in the people and energy around you. Remember Creation knows no Poverty. You need to ask for the riches. Ask and it shall be given!!!!

I close with memories of a beautiful abhang of Tukaram: लई नाही लई नाही मागणे देवा Here Tukaram beseeches Lord Pandurang to give him just enough cloth to cover his body; just enough food to fill his and his guests’ stomach; but continuous blessings of the Lord…he wants nothing more. All blame vanishes, as sunflower-like I turn to all, in a most positive way. The only taming I do is of my own self.

Live life; Love life: vikas

yourlife

19 Replies to “The itch to blame”

  1. Dear Boss,
    Such pearls of wisdom with such deep experience. Just too wonderful. Specially liked the cartoon by Rumi which really brought to the fore the meaning of “The art of knowing is knowing what to ignore.” Keep enlightening us from the wealth of your wisdom. Keep writing. Warm regards

    Like

    1. Anthony
      appreciate your full hearted words of appreciation.
      (just one correction though: Rumi was a Persian spiritualist: the cartoon is by someone else; I just linked Rumi’s words to that visual)
      I began blogging very late; but I am enjoying myself
      that self joy gets multiplied many times over when friends like you say such nice things
      Motivates me to keep writing
      also hope I will continue to write in a way that I truly and really deserve such kind words of praise
      But equally, do not hesitate to blame, shame and tame me when I go off track….love you, vikas

      Like

  2. Excellent blog yet again Sir !!!!
    The only thing that I have learnt from life till date is to avoid Blame Game… Be it work / family / social circles / friends / existing or non existing entities …. Like a very commonly used saying goes…. When you point one finger at anyone there are three pointed at you ….. Eversince the time I have been able to practice it & follow it, life has become more easy & simpler, people around me have become more lovable & enjoyable , the world around me looks a much better place to live in …… Over all I have learnt to say Sorry & don’t shy away using it ….

    Like

    1. Nikhil
      true words my friend: no point in pointing a finger….when it comes back to you anyways!!!
      Life does become simpler as you are not defensive or apologetic or aggressive
      you learn to enjoy the flow, at the pace of the river, rather than stir things up unnecessarily
      Sorry, Thank you and Please have become rare in today’s times
      and that grease in social interactions used to keep the wheels grinding effortlessly
      rather today we have gnashing teeth and lot of sound and fury….signifying nothing
      But am an optimist at heart
      acche Din Aayenge…woh subah kabhi to aayegi

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well said! For an individual, taking responsibility for his/her own fate is important. Destiny does play a major role. But only if you take action in life will you be even considered for being favored by fate.

    Blaming the alien is the root cause for lot of unrest around the world. Only when you understand others will you find out that fundamentally most humans are alike and want similar things.

    Like

    1. Thanks Amit for your comment and your views
      You touched on what I think is THE most important aspect of the blog: the concept of “alien” and that we use this as an easy way out, rather than take responsibility for what is happening in our lives; and think of what we can do to change.
      The solution is tough. But one approach is being a sunflower and turning to one another to bask in reflected positivity.
      these 2 concepts were what I liked the most in the blog
      thanks for writing in
      vikas

      Like

  4. Well said, Vikas.
    Blaming is easy and if you do this often , you begin to live in a world apart. After all , it’s easy to rationalise any event and go to sleep. Combined with a ‘karma and fate’ belief this creates a mindset that is a deadly ‘ I am Ok, You are not OK’ attitude.

    Unless one learns to look within to find the way forward, there would be no change. Charity may or may not begin at home but true transformation begins within….

    Keep provoking…😊

    Like

    1. True and Genuine transformation will always be from within

      I have always fought the “deterministic fate” approach
      and plumbed for the free will, take responsibility approach

      but many times even cultural conditioning is so deep that mind and heart resist

      struggles continue

      thanks for being the voice of reason
      and the mirror of reality

      Like

  5. You are so right.. We always look for some “bakra” for anything wrong that happens to us.

    This is basically a sign of our sense of insecurity, rooted deep within us.
    This starts from the childhood. If a toddler falls on the floor and starts crying, in order to pacify him, the mother hits or “slaps” the floor. The attempt is to tell the child that it was not your fault. It is the floor, which is the cause of your fall!

    Over the centuries, we have forgotten the real significance of the Theory of Karma. It very clearly says that whatever happens to me , good or bad, my own past actions/karma are responsible for that.

    The other side of it is that whatever I do now, will affect my future. In that sense, this philosophy is highly empowering. What I decide to do now, is in my own hands.

    It is only if I accept my mistakes of the past , that I will learn from them and make sure that now onwards I attempt not to repeat them.

    Accepting mistakes and acting to them is the step towards my improvement.

    We need to develop the internal courage to accept our mistakes

    Liked by 1 person

    1. JLS
      well said about the true import of Karma
      You are the Doer as Krishna and Geeta extoll
      but somewhere I feel the theory of “janma janmantar” and past lives and fate get so deeply enmeshed that the “purusharth” gets on the back burner: and what remains is fatalistic acceptance or even total resignation to fate
      that is sad

      You have given me a seed of a future blog
      the real meaning of the Theory of Karma

      Faster that people take center stage in their own lives; earlier can we expect “acche din” as then people will drive outcomes and not await the fatalistic lottery result

      Thanks for writing in
      keeps me motivated
      vikas

      Like

  6. Good one. Liked the part of tendency to blame aliens (read daughter in law)

    And then there are those who frequently blame themselves for everything. It is stretching humility too far or simply not expending energy to find where the blame lies exactly.

    Objective reflection is required to understand the root cause and reticfy if. The sin should be condoned, not the sinner.

    Like

    1. DiL; SiL; Son; Father; Mother; ….we all have our own crosses to carry. But that is why I am saying we need to draw permeable circles around us; not water tight compartments
      As re those who blame themselves for everything: I too am surprised how many of the people around me suffer from low self esteem. They are very happy to berate themselves. They wallow in self pity and are not solution oriented at all. God help them!!!
      Truly we must learn to separate the person from his actions, the sin from the sinner.
      Thanks for your post: I have now a la Prof Higgins grown accustomed to your post…they actually give a sense of completion to my post. I look FW to Ameya, and your posts on site & DevBabaMu comments on WA. Thanks for your engagement

      Like

  7. Dear Vikas,
    My reading in English is
    not as much as your’s. However I read your blogs attentively and enjoy every word of it.
    They are quite thought provoking. Please keep on sending them

    Like

    1. Kanubhai
      we are all learners and fellow travellers on the same path. Thanks to some influencers in the past I have become a better kalakaar…one of my Bosses used to tell me….HR kya hai C…banane ka dhanda. I have learnt from great masters. So developed more skills of display. that is all.
      I enjoy writing. And with friends like you, I will continue to do so.
      Good day sir

      Like

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