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regina zhou

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How bad are we supposed to feel for the mistake that we are at least partly responsible for?

The awareness of mistakes is crucial to the improvement of self and social development, with the guilt being natural emotional activity. Being able to recognize the problems serves as a significant step of introspectiveness. However, it is not easy to measure how much are we responsible for? And how much guilt should we take for the mistake?

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    Jul 8 2012: Bad enough to do everything within our power to make right what we made wrong.
    • Jul 8 2012: why is it bad enough to fix a problem?
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        Jul 8 2012: I am suggesting the extent to which a healthy conscience will prompt a compassionate person to make reparation for a wrongdoing.
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    Jul 13 2012: I agree with Edward. Bad enough to change. If we felt good after doing something wrong... We'd keep doing it.

    I'd only add, bad enough to change our behavior, and inspire us to encourage the collective to change as well.
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    Jul 13 2012: Well we could feel bad, and I USUALLY do, but we could also see it as an opportunity to make right what we made wrong, to learn, to grow and to know ourselves more fully. That sounds like a pretty good opportunity to me.
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    Jul 20 2012: "Let your conscience be your guide" Jimmy Cricket

    We are responsible to live up to our current state of enlightenment/knowledge/consciousness, this is productive.

    Shame, on the other hand is what needs a remedy because shame is destructive.
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    Jul 8 2012: It is good to feel bad when we observe any wrongdoing. It is also good to have a similar feeling when one is part of a collective that has made minor or fatal mistakes.
    However, it is not just about our feelings. Like a team that shares glory in victory and sorrows in defeat, we should forge ahead and try to avoid the pitfalls of the past.
    As part of a collective, mistakes that can be corrected should be corrected; and if such mistakes are only known to us we should make it known to others.
    It is good for one to know one's contribution(s) to certain rot or failure. But for what purpose? To make ammends or to be self-righteous, feel good and blame others?

    Sometimes correcting a mistake or turning to do the right thing, takes courage.
    But it depends on what one hopes to achieve. Either to be driven like the waves by feelings or to do the right thing.
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    Jul 8 2012: The word mistake is broad. If you were part of a group that hurt someone, rather than focusing on how much of the fault is yours, why not make amends with the victim as much as you can? Face the victim, own up to being part of the problem, and see what you can do. Others should do the same, but don't wait for them.

    If you did something by mistake, repairing the mistake is the most positive strategy for everyone. If you hurt someone intentionally, you are still best off to do what you can to make up for the harm you caused. And then face yourself and try to figure out why you did what you did. Reflection is an important part of personal growth and learning to become more the sort of person you want to be.

    Measuring what proportion of fault is yours is typical impossible anyway.
    • Jul 8 2012: Thank you for the explanation.
      Yes, focusing on fixing the problem is important. From my point of view, the introspectiveness for our mistake, rather than being impossible, should be strongly advocated for we get to go through the whole process by asking questions to ourselves again. This time, we get to spot the weak lines. The measure of proportion of our mistakes helps us to be clearer about the places we are occupying, the importance of adjusting operation we are performing, as well as redefine the way we view ourselves. If everyone is able to bring more critic, scientific prospective into work, this will definitely contribute to a leap of social efficiency.
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        Jul 8 2012: Not only did I not claim that reflection , or as you called it introspection, was impossible, but I called it necessary for "personal growth and learning to become the sort of person you want to be."

        It is the quantitative measurement of proportions of fault that is impossible to do.
        • Jul 9 2012: I guess I might have misunderstood some of the content. My apologies.
          I agree that being abusolute quatitative seems to be an impossibe way out. but it might be better if we are able to quantify some of the things, so we get to simply some of managerial issues we encounter which is beneficial to the work of system.
  • Jul 7 2012: How good do you feel when you say or do something positive that has positive impacts on others and your self? CHOOSE POSITIVE! At every moment you have freedom of choice about what to focus on. May as well choose positive anything. Re-program yourself. Let us not repeat the mistakes of our ancestors. Let's break free of our ancestral brainwashing and co-create a positive world for all. We can do that.
    • Jul 7 2012: Positive attitude is a healthy emotional state for new ventures. My question here might have more to do with the insight of mistake: how can we analyze our weaknesses accurately; how much of that problem is caused by ourselves. The sense of guilt, accompanied by the mistake, is crucial to the establish of morality in our society, driving everyone feel obligated to deconstruct and reprogram themselves and come up with a better solution.
      • Jul 7 2012: I do not believe guilt is useful to productive growth and change. I think that investing all of your energy into anything positive is most likely to yield the result you desire. You can analyze the positive as well as the negative. Again, YOU have the choice. If you focus on anything negative, that is probably how you will feel and think. If you focus on anything positive, that is how you will think and feel. May your choices yield the results you desire.
        • Jul 7 2012: Thank you for your reply.
          I don’t think feeling guilt is being negative. I think the production of this feeling may have more to do with our uncertainty when we are questioned or challenged, like losing faith in our capabilities. The sense of guilt, rooted in our morality, can be naturally yielded when we discover our weaknesses and mistakes. A certain degree of guilt helps us to recalibrate our spirituality and build our characteristics with a fresh pair of eyes. However, a lot of guilt can be detrimental to our self growth bringing us to dark sides, which, from my personal perspective, might be lined with your opinion.
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    Jul 7 2012: Hello Regina,

    thank you for this interesting question.

    In my view, the intensity of personal 'responsibility' should be related to the consequences this 'mistake' had.

    To give you a personal example, even though I was born in 1969 I take on my own responsibility out of the 'mistakes' my ancestors did in world war I & II and tried to learn and understand the principles which made this happen.

    One mechanism in group behaviour is called 'responsibility diffusion', which allow individuals to 'hide' their own misbehaviour towards their own conscience behind the concept, that other people were acting the same. This will cause an individual not to act on their own decisions and moral values which accumulate in NO action at all.

    We can see this behaviour in kindergarten quite often. And if you would ask Peter why he was spitting at Bob, he may justify his action by naming Jim, Rob and Tommy who did the same... Well, some people never leave kindergarten in some respects.

    Take 'global warming' for instance. Most people know that we should reduce the consumption of energy, yet because the majority is not doing it, it becomes easy for an individual to 'diffuse' its own responsibility towards the crowd and does not feel to act irresponsible at all.

    This is part of our 'human nature' to rather 'comfort' our minds than to 'confront' them, yet this 'nature' is no excuse to act happily upon it.

    So as 'badly', as more we take on our part, our 'guilt' of responsibility out of 'common mistakes' as better we will be able to correct our behaviour. And as more people are acting this way, as more this effect will be able to flip around.

    This takes effort and is not going to become easy.
    • Jul 7 2012: Thank you very much for your reply.
      In what you have written so far, I see you explicitly explain a certain paradigm of people following others’ behaviors even knowing these are not supposed to. In my country, china, people are impatient to wait for green light and choose to come across the street when there are not many cars. This scene can be more frequently witnessed when developing into a crowd. Sometimes people feel awkward standing alone therefore choose to follow the crowd crossing the street anyway.
      My concern is about the general mistake under the situation that we have no idea whether is going to work or no at the beginning but end up as a failure. Like if a party was going to be thrown at school, and peter was responsible for getting people to come (assume people were all available that night). While in fact, only a few showed up. And later everyone left early thinking that was a lame party cuz not many people came. So should peter blame himself for just not getting people show up, or making this party a disaster because of his lousy job.
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        Jul 9 2012: Hello Regina,

        your 'red light' example is beautiful! It can also work both ways, that if you were in a hurry and would like to cross on 'red', you would have to overcome hesitation to do so, if there was a whole crowd of people patiently waiting on the other side.

        On this I decided to act on my individual, initial thought and on the situation. Sometimes it happens, that I am the only one waiting for 'green' while a group of people crossing on 'red'. This feels a bit 'stupid' to be left behind, yet if I initially decided to do so, no group is able to 'drag' me with it. Also the opposite. If I am in a hurry and all people are waiting, I go. This also feels kind of 'stupid', yet I have my reason to do so, and this reason was 'initially'. But there is one exception to my initiative - children! As it is important to children to know the rules when and when not to cross the street, my behaviour then becomes exemplary, which in any case is more important than beeing 3 minutes late for a meeting.

        Regarding Peter and the flopped party, to me there is no reason why Peter should blame himself if just a few of the invited people show up. If he spread the invitation to all which were 'targeted' for this event early enough, that's all he could have done and can not be hold responsible if the majority of people did not show up. Why should he, as this is beyond his control.

        Only if he was spreading this information to late, let's say the very day before this party was scheduled, yet he could have done this two weeks in advance, the 'party disaster' would count to his responsibility only, as there is a big chance that most people have made different appointments
        for that day, which you have to avoid to get those people in.

        But if Peter did all he could have done rigt, he is not even partly responsible for the desaster.

        And, by the way, even a small gruop of people should be able to enjoy themselfs, as quantity is no necessity for having a good time... :o)
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      Jul 9 2012: sorry i can not quite follow you with the following sentence. pls

      So as 'badly', as more we take on our part, our 'guilt' of responsibility out of 'common mistakes' as better we will be able to correct our behaviour
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        Jul 9 2012: Hello Antonio,

        what I was trying to say here was, that if an individual manages to take on its very own part out of group-behaviour, only then this individual will be able to change its behaviour. Otherwise 'singular' responsibilities stay diffused within a group and will not initiate personal 'reflection' and 'reconsideration'. This for example is the reason why only a few people are cutting on their energy consumption, even though all of us know that it would be necessary for all of us to stop clima change.