Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Nature Of Apologies

NP - Cult Of Luna - Echoes

While in one of my more cynically philosophical moods, many months back, I pondered the nature of apologies. Why do people apologise when they fudge up? As I said, I was in a cynical mood, so excuse the negativity you're gonna read. But to me, even though I dont accept the following explanation, I still think it makes sense.

Apologies are purely selfish actions, that have little to do with 'making it up' to the person on the receiving end. We apologise, not because we genuinely wish what happened did not happen, but because we want the other party to forgive us. See, its all about us. Many of us can't stand to have others mad at us, or people to think bad about us (even if we deny it). It ruins our image, both of ourselves and the image we project to the world. So if I do something stupid, like cheat on a girl for example (something pretty inexcusable), and she finds out, I apologise to her not because I'm really sorry for what I did, but because I want her to redeem me. Me. So that I can go on living and not think twice about what I did.

If I use my housemate's milk, and finish it the day before he needs it, I apologise, but I'd still do it again if I was in that situation again maybe! So whats the point of an apology, I'm clearly not really sorry. Only rarely do apologies actually come from the heart. So why bother with them?

I've been in so many situations where people do something pretty bad, and then apologise when confronted. Had they not been confronted, they wouldnt have apologised. Had they not been confronted, they probably wouldnt have felt the need to apologise either. So when someone wrongs me and comes to apologise, why should I accept it? Why should I not, instead, be even angrier, because they're trying to get forgiveness out of me for purely selfish reasons?

Probably because I cant think of an alternative to an apology. I mean, apart from actual deeds done voluntarily to make up for it, what replaces an apology? If someone has an answer for that I'd love to know, so that I can stop accepting apologies, but rather favours (or money!) :D

Seriously though, it IS cynical thinking, and I choose to accept apologies, mainly because, while selfish, they do show a bit of, whats the word, humility? Humility on their part. That they're willing to admit they were wrong, sacrifice a bit of pride and apologise, well, sometimes its enough to make things right.

Posted by illogicist at 11:37 AM


  1. Blogger Nameless posted at 1/15/2006 10:09:00 AM  
    In my opinion, there are two types of apologetic people. Apologetic 1 apologises all the time with the same recurring wrong-doings/mistakes/lies/hurts and they apologise for the heck of it, for a little bit of forgiveness and you could see right through them that they're not sorry, they're just apologising.

    Apologetic 2 is the type who actually shows humility and only says it when they're actually repenting - they usually say it at the right time for the right reason without meaning to cause the hurt/wrong doing to the other party.

    In a nutshell, Apologetic 2 is the genuine type who means it when they say sorry and I totally respect this kind. I'm one of them too :-)

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