Somebody else's problem

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"Somebody else's problem" (also "someone else's problem") is a phrase used to describe an issue which is dismissed by a person on the grounds that they consider somebody else to be responsible for it. The term is also used to refer to a factor that is "out of scope" in a particular context. [1] [ failed verification ]


Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams's 1982 novel Life, the Universe and Everything (in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy comedy science fiction series) introduces the idea of an "SEP field" as a kind of cloaking device. The character Ford Prefect says,

An SEP is something we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem. That’s what SEP means. Somebody Else’s Problem. The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot.

The narration then explains:

The Somebody Else's Problem field... relies on people's natural predisposition not to see anything they don't want to, weren't expecting, or can't explain. If Effrafax had painted the mountain pink and erected a cheap and simple Somebody Else’s Problem field on it, then people would have walked past the mountain, round it, even over it, and simply never have noticed that the thing was there.

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