“The surest way to miss the link between the cure (the crucifixion and its aftereffects) and the disease (the structures of scapegoating violence upon which all human social arrangements have depended) is to read the passion story with an eye to locating and denouncing those most responsible for it. There is a deep irony in this. The fact that we automatically search the text – or the world outside the text – for culprits on whom to blame the crucifixion is proof that we are one of the culprits, for the crucifixion was demanded by those determined to find a culprit to blame or punish or expel. Responsibility for the crucifixion and the system of sacred or scapegoating violence it epitomizes – is to be borne either by all of us or by only some of us. If the responsibility belongs only to some of us, those who bear responsibility deserve the contempt of those who do not, and we are back in a world of religious categories and sacred violence. The crucifixion’s anthropological significance is lost if responsibility for its violence is shifted from all to some. To lay the blame on the Pharisees or the Jews is to undermine the universal meaning of the crucifixion in favor of the familiar finger-pointing theory of human wickedness.”
Gil Bailie, Violence Unveiled
For the writer, this summarises much of her last 5 years’ experience as a therapist, and her observations of the society we live in.
Culturally, we do not teach, encourage or support the deep, personal, perpetual inwards enquiry, that alone can become the basis for an acknowledgement of our participation – for a compassionate, awake awareness that there is no ‘us and them’, only ‘us’, and that if we seek to diminish another, we diminish ourselves, perpetuating disconnection and separation.
Such an awareness is not blame-based – it does not operate within that model. It is instead informed by the person-centred conception that we all have reasons for how we act – however destructive or harmful that may seem – embedded in how we see ourselves, others and the world, and derived from the entirety of our life’s experience. This dissolving awareness – the antidote to blame, disconnection and separation – involves empathic, loving, authentic presence with self and other. It is what results from the inwards enquiry process we describe, whether undertaken in therapy or on any of the many other paths.
In place of this, our culture teaches and encourages us to project distress outwards, to divert from our own pain by seeking another or others to blame and ‘hold accountable’. Over and over again, the writer sees this play out, in her clients’ lives, in her community, in the media, in her own life. And it’s a blind alley that ultimately serves no-one – ironically, the more prevalent the blame model becomes, the less willing or able any person becomes to accept personal responsibility for anything. No-one wants to be blamed. We know deep in our bones it will not serve us – most of us have learned that since childhood. We are already seamed with the scars of blame heaped upon us by others, and the secret wounds of our own introjected blame of self. We shrink from further wounding, and from our own deeply imbibed fear that we deserve it.
Thank you to Brent Dean Robbins on Facebook for this quotation.
Here’s the book link:-
Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter
Counselling Exeter since 1994