Whether it is World Cup Football (or any sporting event), politics or in religious circles, to lose or fail has become anathema. Mistrust is eating away at the very fabric and every corner of our lives. Consequently, a culture and ethos of “blaming”, “finger-pointing” and ”scape-goating” have taken over our lives. At least, large sections of media have degenerated into this, confusing sound analysis with finding scapegoats.
When problems occur, we quickly seek to locate someone or some group/thing to blame, other than ourselves. Just listen to the football pundits and politicians: it is a constant lashing out at the created scapegoats on whom we can displace our aggression. And usually the scape-goating and blaming increases when we are frustrated and need an out let for our anger. One thought that crossed my mind listening to all the British pundits on football analysing the poor showing of the national team, is why none of these experts even attempted to become a coach to the national team!
In our success driven world of economic progress and growth at any price (the recent meeting of the G20 confirms this), the majority of us end up living in fear of failure and “losing”. Whereas failing and losing could serve to create positive experiences, our penchant for “blaming” and the branding of “losing” as cardinal sin number one, have served to kill creativity and adventure. For the inability not to attempt anything daring, means that the less we fail the more we will be unable to have an opportunity to potentially succeed. Never giving ourselves a chance to fail means living a stagnant existence!
But what really lies behind our “blame culture”, the inability to trust and to lose? Part of our problem is that we are reaping the fruits of a rampant form of capitalism for all, motivated by greed and looking out only for ourselves, in an individualistic and money-grasping environment. The habit of crass individualism, together with more and more centralisation and State Control of much of our lives, all conspire to create habits of the “blame culture”. We end up believing that our lives are wholly controlled by outside forces and has nothing to do with the choices we make. Moreover, the mentality of refusing to take personal responsibility is further chained to the half-baked psychological notion of the victim mentality: ‘I am a victim, therefore I am innocent.” All of these elements combine to make us immune to accepting responsibility. The responsibility is always someone else’s as we “wash our hands” of events around us.
Our sacred texts, with its diversity of narratives, have carefully documented this tendency of the human condition and they do offer insights into ways of exorcising such demons! We should spend more time re-reading them collectively.
© copyright June 29th 2010