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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Who’s to blame?

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In one of individual psychology class, we were given following artificial story. Read it as it is, and suppress ‘what if’, ‘why didn’t she’, ‘why didn’t he’, ‘that’s so stupid’ types of thoughts that may come to your mind.

A man and woman lived unhappily married. Man remained busy in his work, didn’t spend much time with her wife, and while he materially took care of his wife, housewife felt neglected. One afternoon she goes to market, on other side of river crossing the bridge, to buy some vegetables. While returning she meets a handsome stranger and is immediately charmed. She spends time with him yielding to his passion. In evening she hurries for home before her husband comes from work. To her horror, she finds a mentally unstable maniac on the bridge wielding an axe. There is no one in sight except a lone ferry driver. Exploiting the opportunity, he demands exorbitant price to take her across the river on his boat. Not having so much money with her, she goes back to town, meets her best friend, explains her situation, and requests to borrow required money. Disapproving her infidel conduct, her friend refuses to lend to her. Woman tries to go back to stranger man, but he also refuses to have anything to do with her despite their earlier exploits. Disheartened, she begs to boat owner, but he too doesn’t budge. In desperation, she makes a run on the bridge, and is caught and killed by the maniac.

Rank all characters (husband, wife/woman, stranger man, woman’s friend, ferry driver, maniac murderer) of the story in decreasing order of degree of responsibility for woman’s death.

While this may appear simple story, and you are convinced of your rank order, you would be surprised how many different combinations people can come up with in such a simple story. I was, very much. And some of these were just too absurd for me. Of course, there is no ‘right’ answer, but it gives a lot of insight into other person's mind, plus it's fun anyway. What's your ranking?
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