TOPIC DOWN, POST NUMBER 53 ARE YOU A BLAMER? WELL WE ALL ARE SOME OF THE TIME. Today, lots of fingers have shaken at me one way or another. Let’s see, someone complained about talking politics–lets call him Mr. Ostrich–we are all political, and we all love talking about our views with people who agree. Disagree and then you generally get fingers shaken in your face. Maybe the guy who never discusses politics or religion leads a quieter life; but I am of the opinion there are some things we need to rant about. Such as oppression, trying to impose your political views on others particularly when you feel justified in using violence. And don’t get me started on abortion rights or contraception or who has the corner on the right way to education our teens about things sexual. Sigh.
Then there was jokingly calling myself a Cranky Old Lady. Hey, I am sometimes. Another woman in the bloom of the new middle age thought I was pigeon holing her. Sorry, I was talking about me. I do have to tell you, all three words have come under attack and I’m not calling anyone but myself a Cranky Old Lady . And then there were the others, pointing and pushing me down. But enough cranking. I like calling myself what I am and some days I am Cranky and at almost 75, old seems fitting, and no matter how cranky or down I feel, I do try to mind my manners and I apologize that being a Lady is no longer politically correct. So there. Onward.
Some of you may know who Viktor Frankl is. He wrote Death Camp to Existentialism which later changed or morphed into Man’s Search for Meaning. He was the founder of a kind of Logo Therapy. He lived during the horror of the Holocaust. He survived the Camps, but his wife, pregnant with their child and the rest of his family were all killed by the Nazi’s. He never stopped living or learning. His central thesis is that we need meaning to survive. Doesn’t necessarily have to be a nice meaning. Revenge can keep a person alive, just as surely as wanting to reconnect with a love one.
So what does this have to do with down. One would think a man whose family had been wiped out just for being Jewish would at least fault the Nazi’s. Well read the link and the letter.
Dr. Howlins ends his blog with this quote of Frankl’s: “After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord’s Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips.”
We are the best, we are the beast. When we are beasts something has gone very wrong in us and in our world. Because in the long run, there is not a person who didn’t want to be the best. When I worked in Mott Haven, the line of little ones heading to school, full of hope and joy and wanting to be the best always brought tears to my eyes. Tears of both love and despair. For later that day the street would also be full of sad faces of those who were giving up. Sigh.
Now I cannot fully accept that there is not some blame to spread around, but spread around is the operative word. For we are the collective, we stand or fall together and if we don’t move beyond blaming, we are all stuck in a bad place.
In that way, Frankl’s attack on blame is dead on. We do it to protect ourselves. But in the end, it only keeps us down, puts the power to define us in someone else’s hands.
STAYING STRONG TIP When blame or blaming, think need to protect. But also think protect what. Consider the talking head ranting and raving and blaming that goes on today. Who is profiting, who is protecting what? Think of when you blame or put another down. What’s in it for you. Finally, when you are put down, ask yourself is it deserved? Yes? Then change. No then be true to you. So says this Cranky Old Lady.
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