24 July 2009

No Man is an Island

Have you ever noticed that life tends to move in themes...and that many times those themes are very relevant to your own life?

Well, lately I have noticed two very interesting traits/characteristics about the Western world. It started out as just one theme but now another trait is becoming apparent - I fear becoming the next "theme" of life. The first one I noticed specifically in the US, the other specifically in developed countries.

I have categorically refused to pay any attention to all the hullabaloo surrounding Michael Jackson's death. I see his photo or his name on a news site and skip right over it without even reading the heading, definitely completely ignoring the article. But of course, since I do not live in a cave, some information has managed to seep in - and this was where I was struck with the "theme" of the last 2 weeks.

Whenever negative things happen, Americans consistently attempt to place blame on anyone else but themselves. It's always someone else's fault, or something got it the way, or they should be sued for wrongful such-and-such. Anything but to take responsibility for the action.

When we learn to drive, we are taught that if you get in an accident never say it is your fault. When I was 12, I was in an accident with my mother where the man ran a red light and hit us. It was a scandle that he got out of the car and took the blame for what was rightfully his fault! Later my dad gave us the lecture about never taking blame when you are in a car accident, saying that what this man did was the wrong response.

In the last 2 weeks, I feel like I have been surrounded by examples of people placing the blame on someone else - Michael Jackson and his doctor, Adam and Eve, stupid lawsuits, divorces over irreconcilable differences. And every time, I am struck by how horrible a trait this is! This is what keeps us from being friendly, helpful, from looking out for our neighbors or even for strangers. Where has the trust gone? Where has goodness gone?

Man Up! Take Responsibility! Admit that you cannot walk straight and that it is your fault that you trip over a crack in the sidewalk. Admit that you gave up on the relationship long before your irreconcilable differences! Stop blaming others!

In many ways, I feel like the other trait that I am starting to notice is just another side of the coin - and is something I struggle with a bit more openly. And this is a combination of pride, egotism, and in general just being full of yourself. Yet again this trait is super unattractive and keeps us from getting to know and trust each other.

I know I tend to be a bit more self-focused, but observing this trait in others has actually made me really hate that part of myself.

John Donne said, "No man is an island." So how do societies become so self-focused, yet not wanting to take responsibility, so individualistic and so mistrusting?

I only hope that these "themes" will come out with a happy ending. That there is some light at the end of the tunnel that shows that humanity is not completely hopeless.

And apologies for this post of jumbled, mostly incoherent thoughts. I have not been able to communicate well as of late.

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