Who can I blame for this?

Here is a bit of philosophy to assist in rapidly finding someone (else) to blame :

“Huey, Dewey and Louie.  You stand accused of a grievous crime.  What do you have to say for yourselves?”

“Yes, I did it,” said Huey.  “But it wasn’t my fault.  I consulted a financial expert at my bank and she told me that was what I ought to do.  So don’t blame me, blame her.”

“I too did it,” said Dewey.  “But it wasn’t my fault.  I consulted a famous blogger and he told me that was what I ought to do.  So don’t blame me, blame him.”

“I won’t deny it,” said Louie.  “But it wasn’t my fault.  I consulted an astrologer and he told me that since Neptune was in Aries, that’s what I should have done.  So don’t blame me, blame him.”

The judge, Mr. Market, sighed and issued his verdict.  “Since this case is so common, I have had to discuss it with all other market players.  And I’m afraid to say that your argument did not persuade them.  I sentence you all to the maximum term.  But please remember that I consulted my peers and they told me to deliver this sentence.  So don’t blame me, blame the entire market.”

(Freely adapted from Existentialism and Humanism by Jean Paul Satre, 1946)

We are specifically designed by mother nature to fool ourselves and one of the ways we do this is to attribute our successes to our own skills, and our failures, to chance or to other people. who can I blame for this?

It appears that the outcomes of our actions have a retrospective effect on whether or not we were truly responsible for them.

We fool ourselves if we think that we can diminish our responsibility purely by seeking the advice of others.

Instead of being purely responsible for what we choose to do, we are now also responsible for our choice of advisers (who are the relevant experts, anyway?) and our willingness to follow their advice (should I or should I not?).

There are really too many such “responsibility-choices”, so how can one choose among them?

I prefer to keep it simple by simply choosing to be always solely responsible for my own actions and no longer blame others or the circumstances.

So, am I the only fully qualified expert on how I should live my life?

Of course I am.  Because achieving—from start to end—is my responsibility.  I’m ultimately in charge of my own life.

Logo of Tacomob.com - Taking Care Of My Own Business

Everyone has this same permission.  We just need to recognize that it’s ours to grant and that it’s not something extended externally.

Personally, I find it difficult to imagine how I might be considered a success, if I had not achieved being a person who accepts full responsibility for my own life.

I must Take Care Of My Own Business, because no one else can do that for me.

Here some comic relief after that heavy topic: George Ezra – Blame It On Me

 

“The final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” — Anne Frank, author

“The problem of distinguishing what we are and what we are not responsible for in this life is one of the greatest problems of human existence…we must possess the willingness and the capacity to suffer continual self-examination.”M. Scott Peck, psychiatrist and author

“A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life.  He knows the “why” for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any “how”.” — Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

 

See also: Information Bias and Seersucker Illusion

5 Comments

  1. Hi Andy,

    Take for instance a job, u always blame ur boss, the company, ur colleagues… but never urself.

    I had learnt an important thing in my life about people. People who never admit their own mistakes in life no matter how wealthy they are, are the least wealth off eventually!

    Those who try ways to cover up faced even worst consequences when truth surfaced!
    VW is suffering now….

    • Hi Rolf,

      It is amazing in a scary way to see how a few handful of unethical people (mainly driven by greed) can shake up and destroy the trust built up by an industry icon like VW over the years in one mere instance.

      The CEO “took responsibility” by resigning. Did he? Actually from my perspective he is running away from the responsibility to clean up the mess. He was the highest paid CEO in Germany for the last few years (100 Mio Euro++ during his entire reign) and now will enjoy another 27 Mio heavy Pension. Was that resignation a difficult choice to make for him?

      There seems to be something wrong in how our Corporate World works. People do not have enough skin in the game. They just have the upside potential of huge bonuses and when a risky move goes wrong they resign, but do not pay back a single dime of their unethically accumulated bonuses.

      If that CEO is not getting sued, then something is wrong in our world. Of course those people who created and approved the maleficent SW to deceive the customers must be sued as well and pay the price for their dishonesty and ‘making too many wrong mistakes’. Otherwise people will not learn enough from this episode.

      • Hi Andy,

        That is why integrity “should” be the first criteria! Unfortunately that is not the case in most political and corporate world today.

        Resigning or simply recite few statements of remorse on national TV is probably different from admitting mistakes deep down within him.

        I remembers watching the trial of Lehman’s CEO Richard Fuld after GFC. Fuld was named No.1 CEO, but after GFC named the Worst CEO!

        Same story, say sorry now, tomorrow still a multi-millionaire!

  2. Its human nature to blame it on someone. Remember in that fateful garden, when asked why he ate the forbidden fruit, he said: “The woman you gave me gave it to me, …”. And she said: “The Serpent gave it to me…”

    It’s in our gene…., so don’t blame me. LOL.

    • You are probably right, Sanye, I can’t blame you for that. Nor myself. LOL

      Most of our cognitive thinking errors and mental shortcuts are passed on from our ancestors who had to dodge those nasty sabre-tooth tigers and the occasional serpent within a split-second.
      Back then, it was better to run away once too often. However, our world today is different; it rewards reflection, even though our instincts may suggest otherwise.

      With complex matters, such as investment decisions and who to blame (= not running away from the responsibility), sober reflection is indispensable. Evolution has neither equipped us for such considerations nor has kept up with “developments”. So logic trumps intuition and we have to remind ourselves to give “logic a chance” before acting.

      Sanye, enjoy your “blame-free” holidays

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