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Scapegoats - Looking to blame others for our problems

Updated: May 29



A scapegoat is some individual or group that bears the blame for our troubles and setbacks.


Finding a scapegoat is a common tendency in humans. To find fault with others and blame them for all misfortune. We never blame ourselves or our actions, it is always someone else's fault. If we can punish the individual, group, religion, community or state we can be relieved and our anger and hurt assuaged.


First, we decide who has to be punished, and then we find the justification.

Not only is it done habitually but also with great moral superiority and a perverse sense of glee and celebration.


The world's greatest democratic exercise is about to conclude, with 970 million eligible voters having cast their ballots for choosing India's Lok Sabha (the lower house). All this without intimidation, violence or law and order disturbances of any significant kind.


The results of this election are due on 4th June 2024.

Losers are going to start blaming others or something. Scapegoats are going to be found and figuratively speaking heads will roll. People will lose their authority, and leadership and there will be a lot of screaming and protesting before quieting down.


Election season is always silly and entertaining, and post-election season promises to be earth-shaking.





 

I was fascinated by the term Scapegoat. It has an interesting history.

It has its origins in the bible.


It seems God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Issac as a token of his obedience and loyalty to God. Just as Abraham was about to strike his son dead, God intervened and told him that it was only a test and to offer a goat instead.


A scapegoat must be punished and the punishment is death.

It has long been a Jewish tradition based on Leviticus 16:1-34 of the Bible, that once a year on Yom Kippur the people gather and perform 'the scapegoat ritual'.


The ritual involves bringing two goats before a Rabbi ( Jewish priest). One goat would be sacrificed to God as per ritual and the second would be offered to Azrael (the angel of death) with a prayer. That prayer would extract all the sins of the entire community and transfer them to the goat.


Traditionally this was performed at Mount Azazel in the Judean Desert. The goat would be driven out of the community to wander the desert and carry all the sins of the community with it. The innocent goat would die, and the now 'cleansed' community could go back home to start another year of healthy and robust sinning.

 

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