Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

20 Mar 2020, 12:02 p.m.

Responsibility And Blame

Humans have a really hard time dealing with problems that are partly under our control and partly not (and where we can't tell how much of it is inside or outside our locus of control).

A comment that helped me remember this, by philip-random on MetaFilter:


I'm currently taking care of an older parent with help from another family member. A week or so back when everything started getting VERY SERIOUS, we had a brief but essential discussion. Whatever happens, we concluded, we're not going to lay blame on anyone who may have erred and spread the virus -- family or friend or random stranger. There's just no winning that way. The wartime analogy is the best. It's London WW2, the Blitz. The bomb either lands on your block or it doesn't.

If you want to blame anybody, go after the bastards behind the Treat of Versailles twenty years previous whose failed politicking guaranteed this would happen.

I'm practicing prevention to avoid catching or transmitting COVID-19. So is my spouse and so are all my friends and colleagues. It might not be enough to keep us safe from this disease. So I want to prescriptively take responsibility, but descriptively avoid blaming myself or my loved ones in case we get sick anyway. This is difficult.