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With the recent Kavanaugh hearings in an uproar over alleged events while he was in high school, it makes me ask – how much can we blame anybody for their past, and how much can we punish them for what they did so long ago? Can people repent and be considered rehabilitated, or “better”? For some things, there are no statute of limitations (murder), but for others, if something isn’t prosecuted in a timely fashion, whatever was done cannot be prosecuted in a court of law. Naturally, there’s always the court of public opinion, so this particular case may still have relevance, and it isn’t just a person’s criminal record that is being reviewed, especially for high office.
With regard to the Kavanaugh situation, there isn’t enough information for me to make an informed decision; this is all still ‘hot off the press’, and more data is coming down the pike.
Extending this to other realms, especially in the climate/overshoot/financial worlds, how much should we blame ourselves or others for their participation in driving, flying, having kids, investing in index funds (or in any individual company) that do questionable things, purchasing trinkets, eating fish or meat, or the myriad of things we do in our modern world? How do we measure the blame or responsibility each of us should have for the collective mess we are in?
For environmental effects, knowing the carbon footprint of certain activities is helpful, but for things in the financial world, for example, how ‘good’ is any company we work for or invest in, and how can we even measure it?
There’s an appropriate quote from the Buddhist world that comes to mind:
“No person is entirely guilty or blameless.”
It may be a bit trite to say, “Do your best,” but given the byzantine complexity of karma, in the metaphysical and physical realms, there doesn’t seem to be any other choice.