This parable isn't necessarily “accurate”, but it is instructive.
Because who you blame says an enormous amount about how you see the world and how you move through it.
Who do you blame?
If everything is always someone else’s fault, I don’t want you on my team. In fact, I don’t even want you in my top 5 friends. Because I don’t need that influence in my life.
But what if the assignment of blame isn’t even the main problem? What if the assumption of any blame at all is?
A life without blame
Could life be better if we assumed 50% less blame all the way around?
What if blame is bankrupt, a broken rubric for change?
It seems there’s a lot of blame volleying back and forth these days, each side vying to win the blame game. But if you unplug from the framework itself for a minute and try to take a higher view, it’s not hard to see that the assumption of any blame at all is often the problem.
Yes, there are people who act in bad faith. Yes, there is evil in the world. But we humans tend to over-index for these outlier events and we’re quick to assume a causal relationship where none exists.
Blame is just a story.
The complex factors that lead to any given reality are so much more numerous than most of our simple stories about each other could possibly allow for. Blame is a heuristic—a story—for making sense of a sometimes senseless world.
And I’m not even saying blame has no value. I’m just suggesting it’s bankrupt. It might have some value on the books; just not enough to pay its debts.
Because every time blame enters the room, it starts racking up a tab, screaming and yelling, throwing bottles against the wall, that it has no intention to pay for.
Is there a better way?
A Christian pastor once said, "Maybe it's time we all forgive God or the Universe for being so damn disappointing.”
Might some kind of general amnesty, assumption of goodwill, or lessening of our own entitlements function as a meaningful alternative to blame?
Yes, the world and all its members are full of disappointment. Our opportunities for change and improvement are infinite. But maybe it’s time to ask ourselves, not only who do you blame, but why do we blame at all? And is there a better way?