The meaning of Self-Responsibility is difficult to generalize…mainly because the idea is shaped more by one’s culture (including individual religious beliefs) than it is by one’s self. It is also difficult to disassociate its meaning from a specific time-frame. For example, what might appear to be very self-responsible behavior in the short term can turn out to be just the opposite in the long term (i.e., being “a penny wise, and pound foolish”). And it is that aspect of self-responsible behavior that is writ large in the presentation above. Despite the growing urgency regarding contemporary life-style choices, sustainable food and energy production, etc., it is as nothing when compared to the enormity of the genetic ‘evolution vs. devolution’ decisions that are very rapidly heading our way…
I’m 63. And except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce, and a six-month period when I was between jobs (but job-hunting every day), I’ve worked hard since I was 18. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and haven’t called in sick in seven or eight years. I make a good salary, but I didn’t inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, there’s no retirement in sight, and I’m tired. Very tired.
I’m tired of being told that I have to “spread the wealth” to people who don’t have my work ethic. I’m tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.
I’m tired of being told that Islam is a “Religion of Peace,” when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family “honor”; of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren’t “believers”; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for “adultery”; of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur’an and Shari’a law tells them to.
I’m tired of being told that out of “tolerance for other cultures” we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and mandrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America and Canada, while no American nor Canadian group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach love and tolerance.
I’m tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate.
I’m tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses while they tried to fight it off?
I’m tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of both parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught. I’m tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.
I’m really tired of people who don’t take responsibility for their lives and actions. I’m tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination or big-whatever for their problems.
Yes, I’m damn tired. But I’m also glad to be 63. Because, mostly, I’m not going to have to see the world these people are making. I’m just sorry for my granddaughter.
The concept of change effectively defines what is meant by identity. More specifically, for something to have a distinct identity it must exhibit resistance to change.
For example, pick up and try biting a rock. What you immediately discover is that it likes being what it is, and isn’t terribly interested in changing either its position or size. Yet, over time, it will inevitably do both…when it comes into direct contact with another, equally resistant identity. Of course if it is floating in space, unless it strikes another rock it will likely retain its unique ‘state of being’ for a very long time. But if it resides at the bottom of a stream, or the edge of a river, it will inevitably be reduced over time to bits of sand, and then be further reduced to smaller particles (e.g., molecules) which will eventually dissolve and become part of the surrounding water. So…first rock, then water.*
And thus it is ‘change’ (in terms of ‘identity’) that defines time. So…slow change, slow time. Fast change, fast time. No change, no time. (If you wonder about the difference between fast and slow time, in terms of change…imagine being an electron in the middle of a nuclear explosion. Then imagine that same electron residing deep in an iceberg. ;-)
*Which then eventually evaporates and separates into air and sand…and may again become a rock, given enough time. (But that’s another story.)
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Quiz: If you take a picture of a rock, develop and frame it, then hang it on your wall…will the photo of that rock never change? Or is it now an ‘identity’ (independent of the rock it depicts) who’s time has just begun…changing, as it slowly fades away in the light of day?
Variation of “What He Didn’t See” originally posted at ergo:Village
Imagine a small group of Greeks gathered under a grape arbor for a leisurely afternoon discourse some 2,500 years ago. During their conversation they touch upon a subject that begs input from a missing comrade, who that day is regrettably some ten miles away. While bemoaning his absence–and the impossibility of easily fetching him–a stranger from the future suddenly beams down and proceeds to enlighten them on how easy it would be to bring their friend to the gathering…if only they would be willing to undertake the following…
He then described how they could drill oil wells, build pipelines and refineries and factories and roads and vehicles, etc., etc., and then, in a trice, they could easily drive over and pick their friend up! Or better, give him a call, and invite him to drive over himself. He then concluded with a brief slide show giving them a glimpse of the many additional wonders they would discover as a result of their effort.
When finished, he asked if they might like him to stick around for a bit to help get the process started. They talked among themselves briefly, and then politely declined. He asked them why. They explained that while the end result might be appealing, the cost of achieving it was far beyond their means…as well as their needs.
“Yes, but think about your children,” he said. “Think what you’ll be doing for them!”
They studied him carefully for a moment, and then replied: “That’s precisely why we must decline. Because it is not so much what we would be doing ‘for’ them, but ‘to’ them.
The Greeks then invited him to have a seat, relax for a bit, and take a look at something they thought he should see before he returned back to his future.
He thanked them for the offer, but instead beamed himself quickly away. Which is too bad, because this is what he would have seen had he stayed:
. A bee is defined by the overall dynamic of the hive. It does not see the hive from the perspective of the world beyond…it defines the world from the perspective of the hive.
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The analogy of the Greeks reminds me that a simple, sustainable lifestyle was still very much the rule for many in this country as little as 100 years ago. They, too, would probably have declined an offer to trade the simplicity of their everyday life for the nightmare of waste, complexity and conflict offered by the fellow from the future…especially just to have ‘wheels’ and/or the ability to make a phone call.
My mother, for example (the eldest in the photo below), born in 1905, grew up in ‘the middle of nowhere’ Nebraska. It was, to say the least, an austere beginning. There was virtually no dependence on the ‘outside world’ for anything essential. Life was lived almost exclusively from what could be planted, cultivated, and harvested from the surrounding soil. Water was collected in hand-dug cisterns during the rainy season, and hand-pumped or carried by hand to the kitchen in wooden buckets to use for cooking, washing and drinking. There was no toilet. (And if there were, who would carry and waste all that water to flush it?) There was no refrigerator (or freezer). Food was preserved by drying or canning, or stored ‘live’ in a hand dug root cellar. The idea of wasting anything–much less food–was unimaginable.
As an example, until the day she died (at age 84), she would use a tea bag until it no longer colored the water. Only then would she put it in the compost bucket for later use on the garden. She wasn’t that frugal only because she didn’t ‘believe’ in being wasteful. She was that way because she had so little to waste.
I assumed it must have been a miserable life, but whenever she was asked about it she would instantly glow with a rush of fond memories. “Oh, no!” She would say. “We had a grand time. And I can’t ever remember it being work. Probably because we had so much fun doing it.”
If she were alive today, and I had a magic wand, she’d be our next president. And her first task? To take everyone out behind the barn and give them a good spanking. Then she’d pat them on the head, smile, and tell them it was time for them to grow up.
His father said one day he’d drown, whether he lived his life as warrior or clown.
Sometimes he felt as both. And wondered if, when going down, he’d know which he’d been…or had become. “Am I pretending to be who I am, or not,” he thought. “Are they just games we play…or truly worthy battles fought?”