Guilt deflected in the blame game
‘ IN the beginning there was blame. Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the Serpent, and we’ve been hard at it ever since.’’ According to Charlie Campbell, a London-based former literary magazine editor, genuine accountability remains elusive: ‘‘ When it comes to taking responsibility for things going wrong, the human personality has always been the same.’’
From a very early age, humans have a tendency to blame others for our own errors and misfortune. More sinisterly, throughout history humans have shown a willingness to victimise certain individuals, groups and, yes, animals so as to vent their rage and feel better about themselves. In daily life we see it in the way some politicians, bankers and football coaches become objects of hate, as though any individual had the power to fully control events and make things better all the time. It is much easier to single out someone we don’t like for blame rather than take a good look at the flawed system that promoted them in the first place.
As the term scapegoat, which derives from the Old Testament, suggests, animals have long been made to suffer for the sins of humans. Even inanimate objects are known to have been put on trial.
One of the more ludicrous examples of a scapegoat cited in this fascinating and