Blame Game : Don’t blame us, blame our genes !!

Excerpts from a Blog in the Editorial Times of India newspaper


Don’t blame us, blame our genes

Blame is an excellent defense mechanism. Whether you call it projection, denial, or displacement, blame helps you preserve your sense of self-esteem by avoiding awareness of your own flaws or failings.  Another reason for blame is that we feel bad about something and want to get rid of the bad feeling, so we project that feeling at othersBlaming others sets them up as bad so we can then project our bad feelings into them.

BLAME GAME : A situation in which people attempt to blame others rather than trying to resolve a problem.

No one wins at the blame game

A fisherman is heading home at dusk. The river is narrow. Suddenly another boat is headed straight for him, coming faster and faster. He gets upset and starts to yell: “Watch out! Turn!.”   But the other boat crashes into him anyway. The fisherman is furious and starts yelling louder and louder. Until he realizes no one is piloting the other vessel. He was bumped by an empty boat. He now feels even more upset: he has nobody to blame.

Your life is full of boats adriftAnd most of them are empty. But your mind clouds your perception. It urges you to find the pilot. When things don’t go well, you want to find who’s guilty. When unfortunate events happen to you, how do you react? Do you find someone to blame? Or do you take responsibility for what is under your control?

Stop reacting and urging others to pay for what they (allegedly) did to you. That’s what blame is all about. Taming your mind will free you from pointing fingers.

‘Emptying’ the boats in your life will stop you from blaming others.

If something goes wrong, then someone other than myself must be blamed for causing the situation. That’s the rule of the blame game. We have a hard time accepting what we cannot command. Many events are beyond our control. Accidents are incidents that happen unexpectedly and unintentionally. However, when we are bumped by an empty boat, our immediate reaction is to find who caused the crash.

Someone else must always be to blame. The blame game is irrational; it stigmatizes the other person. That’s why people overreact when things go wrong. It’s better to be a blamer, than to be blamed. Whoever gets the blame is less than he/ she was before the fault. Speed is crucial to winning this game. Blame is one-sided. It’s not about understanding what happened, but about making the other part responsible.


Why are many middle-class Indians so ‘healthee’ (north Indian euphemism for fat)? Is it because of our fondness for fried foods, our sedentary lifestyles, our aversion to physical exercise? Perhaps. But according to a team of British scientists the real villain of the piece is a ‘fatness’ gene. Researchers at a London college, have identified a gene, MC4R, which is associated with appetite regulation and energy expenditure. Indians tend to have variants which affect the activity of this gene, resulting in obesity, and its associated health problems like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. So the fault lies not in us but in our genes that we are fatties.

Obesity is only one of the conditions that humankind at large can avoid responsibility for and lay the blame on genes. For example, heroin addiction is caused by a particular gene, AGS3. A cocaine addict, however, has developed the habit thanks to a different gene, DAT1.


According to genetic science, there is a gene for everything, from baldness to criminality, homosexuality to Hitlerism. A criminal could argue that he had been driven to commit his misdeed because of a gene, D4DR, which geneticists claim leads to high-risk, dangerous behaviour. Me? Rob a bank? Certainly not. It was my D4DR which did it. Put it into jail, not me.

Or take a dictator, he doesn’t behave the way he does because he wants to. No, it’s because of his genes. Or at least a particular gene isolated in a sci-fi scenario by French biologists who have named it the ‘master’ gene. Linked to “social dominance” and “strong control over other people”, the ‘master’ gene is to be found in “sports leaders, CEOs, heads of state… and all dictators throughout history”.

While the strong variant of the ‘master’ gene could produce a Hitler or a Mao, the weaker heterozygous form gives rise to a “moderate, quasi-totalitarian urge”, making for a local leader, say. Found in “politicians, policy advocates, religious fundamentalists, and celebrities”, the mild manifestation of the ‘master’ gene creates the conviction in the carrier of the gene that “other people … are unable to manage their own lives without … guidance”. This belief is “coupled with a powerful sense of entitlement and a carefully nurtured sense of resentment towards those who don’t listen to them”.

Paradoxically enough, the mild version of the ‘master’ gene is also to be found in those who are “most tolerant of authoritarian environments with strict and invasive social rules”.

Such behaviour associated with the mild ‘master’ gene is not restricted to the political sphere. It also manifests itself in the world of fads and fashions. In fact it’s the inverse working of the mild ‘master’ gene – which makes one compliant to externally imposed norms – that is responsible for the success of big brands, from Gucci to Shah Rukh Khan, Reebok to The Times of India.

The gene genie is well and truly out of the bottle, and nothing is going to get it back in. As more and more of our actions and behavioural traits are ascribed not to our volition but to our genes, we increasingly resemble programmed robots. So what happens to old-fashioned ideas like free will and individual responsibility? Well, neuroscience discredited those fuddy-duddy concepts when it proved in laboratory tests that a subconscious part of the brain initiates an action (such as picking up this newspaper) several seconds before we consciously decide to do something (pick up this newspaper).

In other words, ‘we’ (whatever that means) are not the authors of our actions, not responsible for what we do (read this article, commit a murder); it is a chemical reaction in our brains which compels us to do what we do. However, you can still feel free to believe in free will. So long as you realise that you’re being made to do so by your ‘free will’ gene. Don’t blame us, blame our genes !!

In the end, no one wins the blame game. By blaming others, you excuse yourself for that same negative behavior.It’s easier to blame someone else than to accept responsibility. That’s why our society defaults to pointing fingers. We love the easy way out. It takes less energy to blame others than to improve our own behaviors.



Published by Shobha Iyer

Always be Happy; always wear a Smile, Not because Life is full of reasons to Smile, but because your Smile itself maybe a reason for many others to Smile ;The Greatest Thing In Life Is Love And The Second Is Laughter..

6 thoughts on “Blame-Game

  1. “.. it’s in the genes”, such a convenient way to pass the blame to someone in that family tree. can’t help it, we can try to change it, but then again – change isn’t quite as easy as we think, especially if it isn’t external.
    Lovely post! Deserves a re-blog

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well explained…
    Yes we all indulge in blame game ….playing the victim card….in all our stories there is an oppressor ..a victim and an observer ( maybe friend of victim) …in this triangle no storyteller ever portrays himself as an oppressor…he is always the victim or at the most an observer…the day we understand that we are oppressors too at times will change…

    Liked by 1 person

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