Margaret Heffernan – Personal Responsibility

Margaret Heffernan's new book is, Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril. Willful blindness is our collective capacity to 'go along' with what everyone else is doing; to carry forward with the familiar, to turn a 'blind eye' to what is going on whether it is incompetence, fraud, lies or immoral behaviour.  Still there are those who refuse to go along or to be fooled.  Who recognize the Emperor has no clothes and are prepared to act on their convictions. 

The following is an excerpt from an article by Heffernan in the Globe and Mail.

Others naturally adopt the perspective of the powerless – people such as Roy Spence, one of the few people who refused to work with Enron.  His outlook was profoundly influenced by a sister born with spina bifida.

"People thought my sister was different.  Well she was: She could never walk.  But people couldn't see beyond that.  You saw how blind they were.  And it makes you think:  If they' re missing so much about me and about her, what am I missing about them?"

   – from Why We See No Evil, Margaret Heffernan, Globe and Mail, February 19, 2011

This reflection is part of the series: How People With Disabilities Will Save the World.   You can access the whole series by clicking the category: Save the World.

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One Comment

  1. Gloria Enoch

    It is wonderful to see somehting done on this . I have spend many years in the social service field as well have found this capacity to ignor the obvious wrongs always. It is a question that I and friends have contemplated and tried to understand and realize that fear is at the bottom, but I hope to find a more comprehensive treatemtn in Margaret Heffernen’s book and look forward to reading it.

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