Saturday, October 24, 2009

Responsibility and Blame Understood

"Blame" vs. "Responsibility"
By Ramla Akhtar


Know that "blame" is only "responsibility" by a darker name.

They are the same thing. The only difference is whether one is assuming responsibility by themselves, with their free will. Or are they waiting until someone else puts the responsibility on their head -- in which case, it is called "blame".

In other words, is it inside-out (from me to the world) or outside-in (from the world to me)? If I do something I must do, it's responsibility. For instance, I have to make sure that my water tank does not overflow into the street. But if I ignore to do something that I have to do anyway, and someone reminds me.... it may become a blame. For instance, a neighbor can knock my door and say, "The water from your tank is flooding the street."

It is decent at that point to still see it as a responsibility. But those with weak character -- that is, a character that does not have awareness and knowledge -- will feel "blamed".

If ever you feel "blame", stop and ask: what is my responsibility? What is that thing which I can do?

Now, the first thing is to be aware of the real meaning of being responsible.

What is responsibility?

It is response-ability. That is, the ability to respond.

So there are two key concepts here:

1. Ability

This word is from the Latin root habilis which means "handy".
The origin of handy is "hand" -- which directly refers to the hand... the organ on the body.

What is hand associated with? Skill. Learning.
The hand learns to grasp objects. Deal with them. Move things. Stop things. WORK. Essentially, "hand" is for physical work and exertion.bi
The hand is trained for this. Weak hands cannot pick or drop objects. Babies are always exercising their arms and hands. They are jumping, they are moving. In the animal world, animals properly train their limbs, their paws, their wings. They practice all the time.

Why practice? So that one is ready for various situations as they arise. One is able to respond at the moment. Every moment is unique, it never happened before, it will never happen again. There are certainly many, many situations that happen only for the first time. We walk for the first time. We drive the first time. We start eating with our own hand the first time at a very little age. But the hand could not pick the first spoon if it was not already trained and exercised. It doesn't have to exercise by picking a spoon. It can exercise by moving about.

It's just like you don't practice for climbing Everest by climbing Everest. But you exercise, train on rock climbing units, climb other mountains, do other sports to build stamina and skill to climb Everest the first time.

Ability has to be there before response, even though the situation is unique, happening for the 'first time'.

2. Response

This is from the Latin root respondēre which means "to promise".
"Promise", in turn, is from the root word prōmissum which means "to send forth".

Aha! "To send" and "forth".

Forth means: "Forward in time, place, or order; onward."

[To] Send is:

- an action
- it is outward from the self
- it is "giving"
- it implies deliberate choice. It is not the same as "throw away", not "snatched from".
- an action that requires a receiver. We cannot send something to an imagination.
- done in the present moment. One cannot send in the past. One cannot even send something in the future. (The 'future' will be 'present' when you're sending it. So if you're sending something "tomorrow", when you send it, it will be "today". The date today is Oct 22. You cannot send anything on Oct 23 while you're still in Oct 22.)

Take the case of a greeting card. If I "send" it, it means I chose. No one snatched a card from me. I did not hand it over, I was not pulled form. Also, an action took place. Some work happened. It required ability to send. What is the ability in this case? Remembering the occasion on which to send the greeting.

Coupled with "forth" the meaning becomes even more clear. One is "sending ahead of time" -- which means, one is being proactive. One is doing something by one's own will and power and ability, rather than being asked to do it.


So, let's summarize:

Response means promise. Promise means to send forth. To send forth means to actively do something, and it's done to real event or person; also it's done in the present time.

Ability is to have trained to give a response when a response is required.

Also, NOT DOING SOMETHING is also an action. For example if you put a seed in the soil. You can water and fertilize it. But you cannot make it grow. You will have to sit and wait (and do other work) while it grows itself. That part when you're not doing anything more to the seed is not lack of action. It is patient action.

Also know that to be ready does not mean to attack. It means develop the ability to respond.

So, too, taking matters in one's own hands means to develop one's skills and knowledge and ability. It does not mean to become aggressive and attacking. The person who really has matters in their hands is one who is calm and collected, especially under adverse situation.

Losing control and to be emotional means there is a lack of character development.

How to improve that? By developing ability.


Now: What is blame?

Blame is when an action becomes due upon oneself, but one has not done it, or cannot do it. Someone or something from the outside reminds one to take action. That is felt as a 'blame' by the Self. In itself, blame is nothing. Responsibility is the real thing.

When there is a blame, one may honestly investigate the cause and redress it. It is possibly that one is wrongly blamed. In that case, the "responsibility" is to clear the blame! Send forth an explanation or correction!
~
And this is how blame is simply "responsibility" in reverse.

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