Accidentally on Purpose

“he simply passes over mistakes, the unintentional transgressions, just as thunder dies away. He forgives misdeeds, the intentional transgressions, just as water washes everything clean.”


noun: transgression; plural noun: transgressions

an act that goes against a law, rule, or code of conduct; an offence.

That I Ching has gotten me thinking about the grey areas, where someone claims they have made an error, a mistake, when in fact they have done it “accidentally on purpose”. For example, an aspiring model might manufacture a nip-slip to get some headlines. In other spheres, when the “mistakes” start to mount, one could imagine distraction, incompetence or deliberate intention. We may all have engineered bumping into someone “accidentally on purpose”, we may have over-egged something “accidentally” and with some measure of plausible deniability. Nobody can prove for sure what our motives are and there can at best only ever be circumstantial “evidence”.

From time to time, people do intend harm and then pretend that they did not. We are a funny bunch. People do lie and do so intentionally, they may lie because they have gotten the facts wrong themselves, there is less intention then. They may simply be deluded. Or it is possible that the truth they are sharing is of doubtful provenance, a Chinese whisper.

These grey areas are strange. If we do something accidentally on purpose there is usually some ambition associated, an outcome desired. It may be subconscious or fully deliberate. Always there is some kind of motive. Genuine “accidents” are probably rarer than those done “accidentally on purpose”.

The trouble is that when we have transgressed, we can’t undo that transgression, whether it was intentional or otherwise.

Having cued this up:

Have I ever transgressed accidentally on purpose?

Did I subsequently claim a purity of accident which wasn’t there?

Was I believed?