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Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Case For Responsibility

I personally feel that the most important and practical debate of the Twenty-First(21st) Century is that of Responsibility.

What is there to discuss about Responsibility?

Responsibility, as an ideology or idea, is horribly misrepresented in modern culture, all over the world. I suspect that the number one cause for all harm and discontent to people, today, is the misunderstanding of Responsibility.

Responsibility is the amount of interest a person has towards anything that can be defined, including objects, people, events or ideas. The content of such responsibility is subjective and ever changing.


Responsibility is only relevant when there is conflict.

Conflict can be inside of the person or between people. In any case, when there is conflict, then it is immensely valuable to figure out who is responsible for what, exactly.

The process of thinking that follows, is such that asks the following questions:

Why is this important to me?

How important is this to me?

What can I lose if I do not take care of this?

What can I lose if I do take responsibility for this?

Who else is responsible for this?

What am I willing to do to take responsibility for this?

What can I gain if I take responsibility for this?

And more.

The results of not taking care of our Responsibilities is horrendous.

Either, by letting the wrong people take over our own responsibilities, or by neglecting to take care of them ourselves, or by not realizing our responsibilities, or by wrongly evaluating the importance of our responsibilities, we bring about results that are bad for both ourselves and others.

An example from one end of the scale is that of the government. Having a governing body take care of responsibilities that are our own, leads to dissatisfaction and conflict. Eventually, it leads to having those governors force us into compliance, simply because we were not willing to take responsibility for our own. Giving a stranger power over us and then arguing that they are abusing that power is illogical. It is simply our fault.

From the other end of the scale, there is the example of personal neglect. Instead of taking care of ourselves, mentally, physically and socially, we blame conditions and others for our problems. It is evident that self-care, such as exercise and education, is a personal responsibility. Nobody wants to be liable for the personal development of another person, who is not their child, except when they accept payment for it.


Responsibility is a subjective, personal, private experience, which is reliant on personal characteristics that change all the time.

Just as it is impossible to directly force an emotion on another person, so it is impossible to directly force responsibility on another person. While it is possible to manipulate another person into feeling an emotion or accepting a responsibility, it is not a direct action, but rather a costly and risky manipulation.

However, responsibility is very flexible. We can share responsibility and enjoy cooperation. Or, we can have negating responsibilities and endure competition.

To clarify the practical uses of responsibility in our daily lives, let us take two situations. Each, with its' own degree of responsibility.

If I were to have a child of my own, then both me and the mother would be responsible for the well-being of that child. Normally, parents feel very strongly towards their children. This means that we will both feel great responsibility towards that child. Also, this will mean that any inability we show in taking care of that child will reflect very badly on us in society.

On the other hand, responsibility can be a very minor and personal issue. If I were to plant an apple tree and let it be, and another person would have an apple fall and hit their head, then I could be considered liable for that incident. Obviously, such a minor incident would not bring public attention to me, nor would that person have a strong case against me, for having that apple fall there and then.

To conclude, our priorities reflect our responsibilities. Whenever it seems that our situation is lacking or wrong, then it is evident that our priorities are somehow not correct, and so we are simply not taking responsibility where and when we should.

This is the first of many notes I have begun working on in private. For my next post on this, I will discuss Responsibility versus Ownership, as ideologies and as practical thinking strategies. It will be very relevant to all freedom lovers! Beware, Libertarians and Anarchists!

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Constructive, thought-out, and finely argued comments are encouraged.

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