Home • Manifesto • WMail ezine • Essays • Solutions • Free eBooks • Quotations

Working Minds Philosophy of Empowerment homepage

The WMail Newsletter Essays
Volume IV - Issue #37: November 2003

"The Distinction RESPONSIBILITY"

        I am Responsible for the entire planet. This is 'my planet' in the same way that the United States is 'my country': I don't own either, but I hold them to be mine, both are part of who I am. So anything that crosses my path – environmental, political, or economic problems and issues – there is nothing (over here) preventing me from participating in locating and enacting a solution.
        I am Responsible, but not accountable – Responsible, because I say so. I say 'not accountable' in that I am not, nor do I ever expect to be Emperor or any such thing, but taking Responsibility for making things work on this planet and locally while I am here is a gift that I have given myself, and encourage others to take on as well.

        Contrast this stance with the benumbed sheep of the Collective, who are not Responsible for anything whatsoever, not even their own lives. Your average human is not responsible for his/her own integrity, for their word, for their health and well-being, for their environment (social or ecological), nor for their past or their future.
        Janis Joplin said it so well in her song "Lord, Won't You Buy Me A Mercedes Benz": the average human wants Someone to bring them happiness on a silver platter, to give them a job at the top of the pyramid (with unconscionable perks and pay for no work, of course), to tell them what to do and when, and to fix their petty and major problems without effort. And all the while, these sheep complain because Someone, whoever they believe promised such largesse, still hasn't delivered the proferred goodies to them.
        The sheep have sold out to the Culture-Structure, accepting the offer of unimaginable unearned abundance, and all the sheep have to do is obey the Oligarchy's dictates, just shut up and wait, it will all show up, just as soon as the Oligarchy and the Culture-Structure has all the Power, don't mind the interim condition where the sheep must be sheep, mindless indentured servants with neither Freedom nor self-worth, cuz they sold them to the Culture-Structure for a 'mess of pottage'.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        Responsibility is when an Individual takes on being a stakeholder in any given enterprise. This is MY planet, I have a stake in the events that go on here, based purely on my having said so. I create my at-stake-ness, on-goingly and existentially, by returning myself to the context of Being Responsible.
        I could ignore the economic mess, or I can realize my Responsibility and my at-stake-ness by participating where I can shift a thing or two, by making responsible choices in the marketplace, by action or speaking or simply by not surrendering to the demands of the Culture-Structure.
        Responsibility does not require anyone else's agreement; in fact, if agreement comes first, then there may be no Responsibility. (If you take Responsibility first, and then get agreement from another, then you have generated a sharing of Responsibility.)

        Be Responsible for your Self.
        If there is some action that you did in the dark past, then own up to it and leave it behind you.
        Keep your Word. Live your life so that others honor you AS your Word. Give your Word only when you absolutely intend to keep it, and resolve any problems in not keeping the Word that you gave. Keeping your Word to others will support keeping your Word to yourself – which is the more difficult arena.
        Keeping your Word to others will clear away the mass of 'old business' that holds you back. You will be freed up to the extent that you keep your Word. Hard work, this, in the face of pressure to conform to the non-Responsibility within the Culture-Structure, but the end result of keeping your Word is Freedom, the price of which will be very much worth it. You earn your Freedom, no one can hand it to you.

        Once your skills in Responsibility for Self become operative, you can begin to expand to being Responsible for Another. Any life partner – spouse, parent, child, lover – should already be that, but if not wholly so right now, then take Responsibility (as Self) for corrective action.
        First, communicate your intention – to clean up the relationship – to the other person, and ask permission to do so; also request their reciprocal intention for success in making the relationship work for all parties.
        You have each then agreed to be Responsible for the Other.
        If you do this immediately – if your circumstances are just now 'on the brink' – then congratulate yourselves and expand the nexus of Responsibility.
        But for most, this process will not click in immediately, it will take time and effort and commitment. But the usual existential rule applies: You are on the path to Responsibility at the exact moment that you say that you are. And if you are thwarted or distracted, it takes only the bootstrap willingness to restate the intention to get you back onto the path.
        And in the one-to-one or multiple-person nexus of Responsibility, one of the elements of Responsibility is keeping the other party/parties engaged in the intention to be Responsible as both Self and as Responsible for Others. It is a two-way street.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        Now here's the joke, the punchline: You already ARE Responsible. The existential Universe requires it. The Universe is not responsible for you or for your Life or for the people around you. The Universe is like being turned loose inside a gigantic pinball (or pachinko) machine – objects and events come at you, noise distracts you, flashing lights may blind you. But the only way to reach any goal in your Life is to choose to accept your pre-existing Responsibility and to generate Responsibility as your Self, and to take Responsibility for the surrounding environment – cultural (good or bad), commercial, ecological, all of it!
        If you do not, if you wail for some Other – fate or destiny, the gods, the guvvermint – to take action to solve problems that arise, then such action will not occur. 'They' are never Responsible.
        'They' – the sheep of the Collective – are all waiting for a magical Someone Else to be Responsible for them: they all sold out for truly empty promises. But you need not get caught in the trap of altruism, of conformity at the cost of Self-hood, of waiting for what is never going to be delivered.
        Be Responsible for your Self, be Responsible for your agreements and your Word, including being Responsible for a select (ever-expanding) few, and progress will take place, within you and outside you.

* *          * *          * *          * *

        Power arises from generating Empowerment in your environment. Empowerment is produced only by those who are Responsible. The Collective cannot do this; the ovine citizenry have not and will not; the Oligarchy fears Responsibility, for then you are free, and not in their thrall.

        Want existential Power? The only way is to Be Responsible. Taking Responsibility itself generates Empowerment. Generating Love and-or Empowerment displaces Evil, and when you empower another, then you both receive Power. (When you generate Love for another, then you both receive Love.)
        While the sheep of the Collective wait around for lightning to strike, to tell them what they need to do – which direction to flee – taking Responsibility will provide your own guidance in all matters.

        Your active commitment to Responsibility will empower others to follow your lead, and to the extent that Empowerment is generated within your nexus of Responsibility, Evil loses another source of False Power – that Power which is taken by force and deceit and coersion and hoarded by the Culture-Structure slash Collective.
        For without your natural and inherent Power as an Individual, surrendered by the masses of sheep within the Collective, the Culture-Structure has none.
        If you are Responsible, then the Collective and the Oligarchy lose the game.

[copyright 2003 by Gary Edward Nordell, all rights reserved]

        For the full contents of this issue of the free 'WMail' exine, click here.

jump to Essay #38
back to WMail Essays Page

Index of All Issues of the 'WMail' philosophy ezine

back to 'WMail' Newsletter main page
back to Working Minds Philosophy homepage