The Blame Game

by Aranyakananda

I find opportunity to shore up my own understanding of what I stand for in some of the oddest places. Often it is in my interactions with people, and making mental note of who I most identified with while observing a disagreement. Even something as banal as a LIKE on Facebook tells me a lot about my personality. Just last week it was just such a situation where I discovered a bit of what I considered to be a potential “contradiction in my worldview” as I reported to a friend. It sort of upset me. Let me break it down for you.

I’ve come to take it for granted that for all misfortune that befalls me, I need look no further than myself as to the cause. That may sound drastic and a little too simplistic, but I mean it in a “grand scale” kind of way. Karma, transmigration, and all that, you know. Often with the quotes of various gurus and philosophers that I post onto Facebook, I try to gently make others aware of this possibility, a possibility which I take as fact but understanding that others don’t. I do so because I honestly believe that it is an outlook that can vastly improve a person’s quality of life. The idea that I can improve myself, improve my future, improve my world even, by my actions NOW. That no one but me can do so. And that every one else can do the same, for themselves. One day last week I had just finished posting at least a couple of things which pointed to this Cosmic Truth, one of which was a quote from Teddy Roosevelt to the effect that if you spent your life kicking the people responsible for your woes you’d end up with a mighty sore backside. Then I saw another post from a Conservative family member which kind of threw me a curve ball. And I recognized it fairly quickly. It read thusly:

“Why is our government so willing to help illegal minors when so many of our own children are homeless and need help?”

Never mind the “our own” nonsense, if you would. My knee-jerk Liberal response was something like:

“Because according to some people, it is their fault that they are homeless.”

I said “something like” this because I don’t know what I actually typed. Because I later took it down. Because it went in direct opposition, seemingly with my other posts on my own timeline. Surely one can re-post a “quote” without it being his own point of view. It could merely be a conversation starter. I rarely do that unless I make it obvious by attaching a snide comment of my own. I did not do this with the quotes about personal responsibility because I meant them. There is too much complaining and blaming in the world, I think.

I took some time to consider it. Some may say “rationalizing” the contradiction. But I felt there must have been a reason it happened. And I honestly came to believe that both could be true. Because one mentions fault, the other mentions responsibility, you’ll note. I said I hold reincarnation and karma as fact, but I am reasonable enough to know you can’t prove them, and certainly not the details of a past life which led to this one. Therefore, going back to the post from my Conservative cousin, though some people are indeed homeless due to very poor decisions in this life, not all homeless people can be said to be at “fault”, even if it is karmic reflux. In this life, that is not their “fault”. I am well aware that there are societal forces at work against many people in this world. But I am not going to get political here.

No matter what, our current circumstances are ALWAYS our own “responsibility”, hence the Roosevelt quote. I like to take “responsible” to literally means “able to respond” and that is what I try to do. Respond to my circumstances in the most reasonable way I am “able” to. Not react. Respond. It is not my “fault” I am a paraplegic, but it is my responsibility to do with this life what I am able, for example.

Too simplistic? Convoluted reasoning? Rationalization for contradictory spirituality vs. politics? We may never know.

Aum Shankaranarayanaya Namaha
Jai Hari Aum

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4 Responses to The Blame Game

  1. Dhrishti says:

    I think “responsibility” and “fault” are two sides of the same coin and that the biggest difference is egoic preference. Some might prefer one word because they enjoy finger pointing. Some might NOT like one word because they find finger pointing useless and distasteful. Some might prefer one word because it makes them sound more developed. Some people might be scared of the implication “control” affords them and in their mind it’s more than enough to carry on their shoulders and they don’t want that perceived burden.

    Either way, it essentially seems to come down to perception, no? Almost like a glass half full / half empty kind of thing. What’s the real difference?

  2. Hi, why did you remove the tag line ‘Vande vishnu bhava bayakaram…’ It was nice.

    • treadmarkz says:

      I appreciate you saying so, Shri. I dont know. I love that part and the rest of it but I change the title of the blog and a new tagline sort of came with it. Thank you for your interest. Feel free to comment on my words. They have been few and far between lately.

  3. Justin says:

    Well said Forrest! Most anger in this world (I think) comes from misunderstandings or from people trying to hide their own insecurities by blaming someone else instead of assuming personal responsibility.

    It could also be a form of ego protection, by blaming someone else you can feel superior to those who you judge. But while that can make you feel good in the moment you are really only hurting yourself, your cause, and the world around you by making others feel bad or causing them to resent you for ignoring their plight or not taking the time to care.

    This in turn may cause those who you insulted to turn around and do the same thing to someone else to feel better about themselves, or do things that irritate you even more in an endless loop of revenge or display of moral superiority. It doesn’t achieve anything.

    It’s important for everyone to realize this to avoid falling into this trap. Showing compassion to judgmental people without passing judgement on them yourself or attacking the person’s opinion or character in front of their peers on a Facebook page will make them more open to seeing your point of view.

    ++++
    (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT BELOW, IF YOU ARE SENSITIVE AT ALL.. STOP READING)

    An interesting side note about actual homeless people. I’ve talked to several and also to a former college instructor who challenged himself to live like a homeless person for 2 weeks. Living on the streets and getting by with the help and charity of others.

    Like many people who aren’t homeless often assume, you don’t have to help them because they have places they can go, like homeless shelters for a warm place to stay and free food. What my instructor told me next has pretty much been burned into my mind, and forever changed my view of homeless people.

    On the first night he decided to go live in a homeless shelter. Homeless shelters are not what you think they are. They are dangerous, disgusting, and often run out of food and supplies. He said that there were more than a few times where when he showed up for a meal that they simply didn’t have anything for him to eat. He talked with other people who were homeless who were there, and asked them for stories. Many people would refuse to stay at the homeless shelters and would leave as soon as the meal was done for their safety.

    Some people reported that what little belongings they had would be stolen from them by others while they slept. The bedding is often a blanket or sleeping bag on the floor and they are often unclean and disgusting. One man reported that he awoke in the middle of the night to someone standing over him masturbating. There are plenty of reports of sexual assaults and indecency as many of these people have severe mental health issues and fall through the cracks of society without receiving any treatment. Yet others reported having knifes pulled on them, and threats of violence. Lots of people feel it’s actually safer to sleep in a public place than in a shelter. After this first night, my instructor got a tip from another homeless person that Dunkin’ Donuts in downtown Milwaukee stayed open 24 hours and the staff would allow them to sleep at tables during hours of low customer traffic allowing them to get off the street dry off, and warm up. The staff would give them the left over stale donuts from the day before to eat.

    I’ve read that there are different categories of homeless people. The main ones are…

    1) Situational or transitional: This is when someone is forced into homelessness because of uncontrollable circumstances such as loosing a job, important material lost, loss of main breadwinner (father, husband, wife) etc.

    2) Episodic or cyclical: This is when a person repeatedly falls in and out of homelessness. This often happens with drug addicts and with people experiencing mental health issues. The person might live episodes of severe depression cyclical way and fall back in homelessness when these occur. Same for someone with drug abuse issues. The person may be able to stop consuming for certain periods of time and get off the street, while being at high risk of homelessness all the time.

    3) Chronic: This is when an individual is in the street for a long period of time and very few or no resources are at their disposition to modify their situation. Often, these people will suffer from mental health issues. They wont have the ability to modify their situation without the support of others. It is very rare that someone will be homeless all of his or her life on a voluntary basis.

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