We all do it – blaming others or circumstances.
‘I didn’t mean it’. ‘It’s not my fault’. ‘The devil made me do it’.
It’s an age-old story originating in the Garden of Eden.
We know this story or the myth whether or not we take it literally. Somewhere it’s lodged in our brain.
That one forbidden Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil had been standing in the middle of the Garden tempting Eve for a long, long time. Those apples, bright, shiny, plump, lustrous, tantalizing in the extreme, were there, every moment of every day.
Come a day, or was it the night? – the serpent offered Eve the apple. Take it, he said, and your eyes will be opened.
We can see Eve prevaricating – I cannot, she said. But, she does accept it, bites and chews and swallows the pips. It tastes good.
In good faith she offers it to Adam who also bites, chews and swallows.
G.d then appeared giving them a little time to hide, covering themselves and cowering in the bushes, for they knew they had done wrong. He addressed Adam for it was to him that the prohibition was initially given. Adam said that Eve was to blame and Eve of course blames the serpent. We know that they were then banished from the Garden and sadly, woman has been blamed forever after for their fall from grace.
(I will write about the above in a later post to illustrate another way of viewing this with psychological and contemporary eyes – i.e. that it was necessary for Adam and Eve to get out of the Garden and out of unconsciousness, but for the moment I want to look at this issue of blame).
I sense that G.d was not necessarily angry with his children for disobeying His orders. For after all, we all need to break free of adult prescriptions at some stage of our lives in order to live authentically. And the attainment of knowledge and free will is no bad thing.
What was reprehensible to Him was their act of denial and each of them denied responsibility and blamed the other. Their individual acts did not belong to them – it was in ‘the other’.
Denial is the first human instinct. They declare themselves ‘victims’ – not perpetrators.
Is this pattern of blaming the other so deeply ingrained that it seems almost impossible to discard? We start doing it at an early age. Maybe it requires an absence of fear and punishment – and shaming – for a person to openly admit the part they played in their action. We all want to stay in our loved ones ‘good books’.
Adam and Eve denied that they acted freely.
This is the exile from Eden – to learn of the gift of free will, and yet also bear the fear of freedom, with the knowledge that when laws are breached and broken, guilt is your partner.
Blaming serves no one; least of all, one’s self.