It is interesting how education and science allow one to look at the world and honestly admit that it is far more complex than one can ever hope to comprehend. Still, even with the discipline of empiricism, human nature, fear and impatience cause us to simplify things to a point of useless opinions instead of something constructive and usable.
Blaming is one of those things that can oversimplify a situation that is certainly complex. Not all “blaming” is an oversimplification; some are a result of study targeting one particular factor as the most reasonable primary cause. Although, it may depend on the perspective and temperament of the people involved when it is a factual statement of cause or a nonconstructive accusation of blame.
We all are capable of understanding the principle of cause and effect. Applying it to basic worldly situations, we can look at an action or a situation and “look back” to what caused it. When we look back, what mostly determines the precision of reasoning is how much we are trained in logic, our education regarding factors that affect the situation, and how keenly we can observe details.
If looking back to what caused several consecutive events doesn’t sound complicated to you then let us proceed to analyzing what are the skills needed to empirically analyze motives and factors:
Knowledge of Human Nature: This is the knowledge that allows us to understand a situation through the human factors. We learn Psychology or empathy as a necessary skill in dealing with people even if we are not familiar with the precise academic nomenclature.
Often we hold our observation, experience and what we currently know at a higher regard than the scientific knowledge that is not reinforced by experience. Despite the experience everyone may have with absentmindedness, their emotions getting the better of them, and lapses of better judgment, sometimes it is easy to throw away the precision of structured thought for the reckless generalizations to satisfy a fear, impatience or other emotional pressures.
There is a level of certainty that allows us to infer human motives with empirical methods. If human nature was that much of a mystery then it would not be possible to send criminals to jail. We wouldn’t have the whole host of crime TV shows that were inspired by these methods and professionals. It is not a very precise process but most people can live with that level of certainty. If we didn’t know a bit about what people can be thinking, we wouldn’t have any reason to base our emotions of trust, respect, fear, love, or hate.
A whole mess of factors. Sociology, Anthropology, Game Theory and Economics, among others, are the sciences that seek to understand the behavior of a group of people. If you didn’t find analyzing one person hard enough, try analyzing a group of individuals and all the subtle factors that influence them.
Common sense can only take one so far; without the basic principles of any scientific discipline related to the matter, one would be secretly thinking they’re a super genius if they think they can work it all out without thought structuring tools.
One of the aspects that make this complicated is that every empirical conclusion is based on observation, psychology, statistics and probability; factor-able forces and historical data must be considered: “within reasonable certainty” (which semantic grymlyns would try to confuse victims with existential contrivances to the meaning).
After enumerating the factors involved in having a better appreciation of the complexity of a situation, would it be responsible to give in to baser human nature and hastily generalize things?
The knowledge to understand and correct situations exists; it’s used everyday to shape our world. We find it in policy making, in our economy, in business, in marketing strategies, in law-enforcement, in diplomacy and politics, in our most basic interactions, in infrastructure development and engineering etc…
Why generalize? Why not make constructive statements that can be answered by tools made even more accessible by the internet, cooperation, and advanced inventory management in our book stores?
Why result to (hastily generalized) blaming and blanket statements of accusation, when the tools for making a reasonable and constructive claim are available?