Monday Aphorism: On Being Caught

Having to be part of a situation, unpleasant with little hope for improvement, I feel caught. Caught, partly because it is of my own making; caught, partly because I think of my self as more powerful than I am in this situation; caught, partly because the situation takes energy from my attempts to extricate my self from it; caught, partly because I cannot decide what I contribute to a bad situation and I have no place to take my guilt.

When I was away from here a few years ago, I found my self in a similar situation: it was hateful, spiteful, tense, with little sense of direction but spinning its wheels continuously. But it wasn’t my fault, and I could look at it with no sense of culpability.

I asked myself why it was that way: hateful, spiteful – so familiar to me, but not my doing? How did its participants feel? Poor management had for years driven each person into one’s own little wedge of work, pulling in the boundaries behind to cover and to protect. By now it was difficult to say what there was since everyone dealt with and through the protective devices.

What I think I learned: that each person, seeking a personal measure of fame and importance had created a shell around themselves which was at once transparent and impenetrable. Not her fault, not his fault, not my fault, I was caught.

Now I know more: its causes, its impossibilities; and feel less guilty. What to do, how to get out, how to protect my self without becoming totally like them? Caught!