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Date: Tue, 7 May 1996 04:50:55 +0200 (MESZ)
From: Marek Jedlinski <>
Subject: Re: virus: The BLAME meme
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On Fri, 26 Apr 1996, Tadeusz Niwinski wrote:

> BLAME is an interesting meme. One does not have to take responsibility for
> one's own actions and statements. It is so convenient to blame it on other
> people, circumstances, or even _caffeine_ to explain one's statements. Most
> of us are used to it in everyday situations and we do not notice how
> dangerous this meme is.
<< SNIP >>
> There is a negative correlation between blame and success. Winners do not
> seem to carry the BLAME meme. They assume responsibility for what they
> think, say, and do (although they do not hesitate to change their opinions
> if they learn something new).

I was wondering about this because BLAME comes in two, as it were,
flavors: blaming OTHER people and circumstances beyond our control
(let's call it 'white cofee' blame, since we absolve ourselves)
and blaming ONESELF ('black coffee') especially when such behavior
is irrational (everybody tells me "it's not your fault" and I
acknowledge it rationally, but I keep thinking "If only I hadn't..."
-- and I am likely to sit through the night drinking huge amounts of
bitter high-caffeine drinks :)

Do winners (generally) not carry either of the above? The 'white
coffee' blame would seem somewhat beneficial in that it allows one
to retain positive self-esteem ("it's not me, it's THEM"). Taking
the responsibility is one thing, but what about the habit of
blaming oneself regardless of one's actual influence on the course
of events?

Romantic relationships might be a convenient example:
a 'white' blame person will say "s/he left me because s/he didn't
recognize my value, therefore s/he didn't even deserve me", while
a 'black' blame person will think "s/he left me because *I* have
no value". To what extent is self-esteem a value one arrives at
through a rational process? More interestingly perhaps, and less
off-topic: does it matter if any given meme is attained rationally
or irrationally as long as it is a "winning" meme?

Marek Jedlinski