He did it! She did it! It was their fault! I didn’t do anything! It’s not my fault! I am completely blameless! It’s your fault! Not mine!
Would you expect to hear these excuses and scape goats from an adult? When you read those exclamations, do you not question how childish they sound? Do you sweep them aside and scoff at any insinuation of their use passed the age of majority?
Well I challenge that. Age doesn’t change whether people take responsibility for their actions, choice does, and that is a very hard choice to make. One of the troubles we face as humans, and is the cause for our industrialization, or modern era of conscience, is the tendency to be lazy. Linguistically, languages evolve to be easier for the speaker to say physiologically. Socially, we do what we can to make our lives easier. It is as if the idio centric ego programs us to want to do what ever possible to do as little work as possible, and those who do work hard have learned hard lessons in not being allowed the chance to acquiesce to the innate sloth. Immediate gratification becomes the center of our day to day lives, and fault, well, what is easier than to say it was someone else? Why should I accept my culpability when it was them who did it to me?
To accept responsibility is a learned skill. No one is born with an understanding of fault, of culpability, and if no one is there to teach that lesson, then it won’t ever be learned… Which has become the greatest flaw in human history: the inability to accept responsibility.
What does it mean to be responsible? To pick up after yourself? To take care of the tasks you need to get done? To be mindful in your interaction with others? Those are the effects of being responsible, not the action itself, and I think it is that distinction that has been the cause of so much misunderstanding of blame in human history. To be responsible means to be self aware of the fact that every action you take or do not take in your life is a choice, every outcome of your interaction with the external world that you have is yours alone. Even in situations that you feel have no choice, even when you don’t realize it, you are making a choice, and that choice will always have consequences of some kind.
Is it possible to be completely responsible? No. Does that mean that we shouldn’t try? No. If every individual in the world tried to take responsibility for their actions, even just once each, it would set into motion a chain effect like you could never imagine. For every instance that you accept your culpability, you not only find an inner peace of mine, you also bridge the gap between people. How? By showing them that you aren’t perfect, that you make mistakes just like them. It gives a common ground for people to understand one another, and it isn’t just you who learns from your mistakes, it is who ever was effected by those mistakes that learns too.
The reason that thousands of years of injustice have occurred isn’t that people have made mistakes, it’s that they didn’t take responsibility for them and decided to sweep them under the rug or point fingers instead. Children who can’t take responsibility for themselves grow up into adults who can’t take responsibility for themselves, unless they are taught somewhere down the road on how to change that. Taking responsibility is a way of thinking that in turn manifests in a series of actions and behaviors.
They say that history was written by the victor, I say that it’s about time we realize that we don’t have the right to write out our culpability. I say it is time we make an example of ourselves for others to learn from and accept our faults.