Greetings from the Land of Enchantment: Taking Responsbility

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Taking Responsbility

Kudos to Oprah for coming out and saying "I was wrong" in reference to the whole James Frey debacle. Personally, I just read the book, A Million Little Pieces, over Christmas and although I felt it was a bit melodramatic and the timing of his lover's death a bit suspect, I generally respected the book as a picture of the addictive mind and personality--as an alternative description of recovery from my own personal experience. However, if it turns out that he's not a recovering addict, then all my questions about how he could have done it, given his thinking, are validated.

But that aside, I've been meditating lately on American's particular resistance to taking responsiblity for things they've done or said. An article on about the French philsopher/writer/social critic extraordinaire, Levy, led me to questioning the why's and wherefore's of our inability to say, Yes, I did it--on the personal, corporate, or government level. I think in part it stems from our fear that if we take responsiblity for one thing, then anything in the past or future associated with it will also be put on us. We'll be blamed for everything when we were only trying to take responsibility (can you hear the child's whine?). It also stems from our own fear of being wrong. Being accused. Having the finger pointed in your direction. But really, standing up and speaking the truth is alway easier and actually a relief. Why be defensive when you can be open and honest and say, I did the best I could? Are we really that afraid of not being good enough? I suppose the answser is yes.

So, I commend Oprah for giving us an example of how to say, You were right, I was wrong. Now if only our president could do the same thing.


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