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This-essay is a9907212.htm which is available at the web-site See more notes at the bottom. Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay By-Months By-Years By-Words Webs of Like-&-Un-Like ESSAYS <==> Like-&-UN-Like This-One ========================================================== %RESPONSIBILITY SHAME GUILT POWER RELATIONSHIP 990721 Much is said by a community about itself by how the community goes about assigning responsibility, blame, shame and guilt for improper relationships. Often assignments focus upon only one of the persons who was involved --- even though the relationship could not have existed without the willful involvement of more than one person. Usually assignments are based upon the belief that there was unbalanced power in the creation and/or continuation of the relationship(s). In such instances outsiders may fail to recognize that in relationships the participants often have many different kinds of power, as well as different amounts of power. There may be two, three, four or more different kinds of power; but observers may focus upon only one kind of power according to a simplified conception of the nature of the relationship. The nature of the outsiders' conception of the relationship is born out of their assumptions and their manners of approaching the relationship. Often outsiders think of relationships in terms of "what one person did to another person". Such terms may point to an aspect of some relationships. Yet other relationships may be violated and their real integrity destroyed -- by outsiders approaching the relationships in such terms. The people who approach integrative relationships in such terms may be guilty of a more serious "crime" --- than are any of the participants in the alleged "crime". Who should properly have the power to determine the kinds and amounts of responsibility, guilt and shame are assigned to different people? On the basis of what kinds of knowledge and of what degrees of reliability? Do outsiders have the power to acquire such knowledge? According to what conception of the nature of objectionable relationships? Who is to be empowered to be in control of such conceptions of the natures of relationships that are the focus of accusations of impropriety? These questions suggest that often communities say more about themselves by how they deal with allegations of impropriety in human relationships --- than they say about the natures of such relationships or about the many different kinds of powers wielded by the many participants who have affected the relationships. Often "outsiders" who are watching the developments of and within such relationships --- play determinative roles in the developments, while acting as if they had nothing to do with how the relationships began and developed. All human relationships develop within communal contexts --- which do much to shape the natures and courses of the developments within and around "improper" relationships. Who can be well informed and objective in determining where the responsibility, blame, guilt and shame should be placed in regards to such relationships? Those least involved in them, or those most involved in them? Ideally, in occasions of improper personal relationships it should be a person "who is without sin" who "casts the first stone". Who then should first make the allegations of impropriety? Who should structure the judicial process? Who should be the lawyer for the defense? The lawyer for the plaintiff? Who should "arrest" the person(s) who are alleged to be guilty? Who should have "standing" to be the plaintiff(s)? Who should sit in the jury? Should any one person play more than one of these roles? Should close relatives of each other play more than one of these roles? Usually none of this is as simple --- as think the people who eagerly appoint themselves to public service in one or more of these roles. Such self-appointed public servants rarely do as much good as they or others think that they do. There are many stories of relationships which have been the focus of much attention: Jesus and Mary, Anthony and Cleopatra, Cinderella and The Prince, Romeo and Juliet, Bill and Monica, etc. Who is to say --- who can properly say --- who has been guilty of what? Among the focal characters? Among those who have focused much attention upon such characters? Who is qualified to say, and for what reasons are they qualified? (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in Search for Integrity and Honesty (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================
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