Villains And Victims – Part 1

There is a huge advantage in declaring oneself victim: Everything one does happens in self-defense, is therefore morally justified, and accordingly relieves one from any responsibility concerning one’s own actions and aggression. 

This attitude combines easily with another one: Declare a victim to be the villain, and the culprit the “real” victim. [1] This move is used in every situation in which one tries to diffuse responsibility, guilt, or consequences by distributing it on as much shoulders as possible. In order to succeed the other shoulders have to be “guilty” as well. This is done by declaring the victim partially responsible for the situation at hand, or by declaring that other people, institutions, etc., behave the same way, in order that one’s action cannot have the moral weight or legal consequences one would ascribe to it when scrutinizing it in isolation.

With the first attitude we get the aggressive victim that rules, dominates, or manipulates by insisting on its own victimhood while using this state forcefully to achieve a goal. (It involves the second attitude when one party accuses the other: “You made me do so.”)

With the second we get the trivialisation of responsibility. This is more a strategy of justification or re-interpretation, somewhat post factum, whereas the first attitude is a legitimisation of a conduct in advance or ante factum. It is used not only to evade consequences but to effectively dispute that one’s action has the consequences at all or that one’s action is of the sort that usually carries such consequences. We use this attitude to avoid guilt or responsibility and to re-interprete a situatuation to our advantage (mostly to relieve our conscience). 

Both attitudes are tailored for each other; with both we distort reality.

Aggression and dominance is what this is about. The self-declared victim ignores its own share in the aggression, ennobles it by declaring it self-defense. Not only does the other party become the “real” offender; by forcing the victim to act aggressively in self-defense the other party adds to the wrongdoing. The victim would have liked to evade to act that way but was forced to by the stubbornness and the resistance of the other party. The other party makes the victim act the way it does. It’s the other party that brutalises both. Would the other party simply concede there would be no need for the victim’s self-defense. Both could meet on equal footing. Of course, the other side will reason the same way.

Such cycles cannot be broken. Because the to and fro of blame lives from the refusal to accept ones own share of responsibilty, aggression, and culpability. The moral cleanness of being a victim stems primarily from the inability or unwillingness to accept that one is an active part, an aggressive fuck who ruthlessly uses games and tactics to reach one’s goals. Conversely, accepting one’s share in culpability provides an opportunity to let go of the moral cleanness of victimhood. It helps regain reality.

In the competition to be the first to win the status of victim, we accuse the other of projection, counter-projection, of manipulation, deception, being childish, irresponisible. Using these attitudes resolves a common reality by declaring the other party’s agenda a dream-like fantasy, a distortion of facts. But doing so makes an agreement shared by both in good faith impossible. You cannot first resolve a reality and then try to materialise it back. Or rather: This is possible only in that the one party is forced to accept the dominance of the other.

We can turn this upside down. To end the to and fro of blame, the mutual accusations of projection, fantasy, and distorted facts, we can try to avoid the trap of victimhood. To accept being a villain makes the action of the other more human, as he is simply, or more or less, acting like us. Accepting to be the villain means taking responsibility for one’s share of and contribution to the situation. And it makes the folly of a reality “construed” out of subjective perspectives redundant. The belief that reality is a multitude of perspectives somehow construed from the idiosyncracies of all participants is just a justification for the belief that we are helpless bystanders in this tremdendous endeavour named world. An endeavour that leaves us helpless, clueless, and passive. Like victims in pursuit of self-defense, without responsibility.

But reality is much too complex to permit such cushy perspectives.


[1] An example for this switch in roles may be found in the way we treat the homeless and the poor. You may look here for further reading.


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