“You do as you have always done – blame others for your transgressions. And in doing so, you reap the same reward – nothing.”
– Khalid Ibn al-Rashid, The Rose and the Dagger
This is another of those quotes that seems particularly relevant right now.
It comes at the climax of the two-part story, wherein Khalid, young ruler of the entire region, is dealing with his greedy, rebellious uncle. The man is petty and prideful, and so he never takes responsibility for his own misdeeds. Khalid, by contrast, seems to, if anything, take too much responsibility for his actions, even that share which rightfully belongs to those who wrong him. As a result, Khalid has gained the loyalty even of those who were once his enemies, he has gained the love of a magnificent woman, he has broken a curse, and he has united his people more strongly than they ever were before, while Khalid’s treacherous uncle has been boxed into a corner, has lost the loyalty of those who once supported him, and, no matter the army he commands, stands truly and utterly alone against the world.
Now, it doesn’t always play out exactly like that, especially on such a grand scale, but that is still the way of things, isn’t it?
When people do bad things, they always blame others, including their victims. “It’s their fault, not mine,” they say. There’s a variety of reasons given for why it’s “their” fault – they didn’t earn it, they don’t deserve it, she was asking for it, she wanted it, there is nothing good about humanity – but all of them boil down to pushing responsibility off onto someone else.
That is not how one gains anything worthwhile. No, that is how one loses everything, piece by piece, until one is left with nothing, and no one.
To change one’s circumstances oneself is to take one’s fate into one’s own hands. That means taking responsibility for it, which means holding oneself accountable for one’s own actions. That accounting… well, accounts for everything one does, for every true reason. Only with that truth in hand can one actively become a better person, a better friend and family member, a better member of society, in better and better circumstances.
I personally believe, with all of my heart, in the principle of personal responsibility. People have risen and fallen in the world for as long as we have had a world to rise and fall in. That possibility of change has always been a constant, across all nations, eras, and traditions. In short, it hasn’t mattered what others have done, only what they have chosen. So, as I see people cursing the world for their lot in life, and cursing others for the skin color, their religion, their country, their creed, or even for being human at all, I am so very saddened for what it means. Not only does it mean that they have their excuse for doing horrible, evil things, but it means that they have given up even on themselves.
That makes me very sad, indeed.
In choosing to blame others for their misdeeds, instead of take responsibility for their own choices, I fear that they are dooming themselves to little more than lonely misery for the rest of their lives.