My Life, My Responsibility
We are not islands. I sit back and listen to people talk about life and happiness, and it is obvious that they rarely listen to themselves. Social media is another place that we, as humans, have a tendency to just post and repost without thinking too much about content and or the meaning or implications of that content. I am guilty of the same, and it makes me think. Why do we adopt an idea without thinking about the consequences? I guess it might sound good at the time, or maybe it just makes us feel good. Whatever the reason, I find it a little scary: no a lot scary, that we just go with the flow of things without stopping for a moment to think, “Is that true?” Does it even make sense? How does a culturally accepted idea become ingrained in a society so quickly? I have a thousand and one questions rushing around inside my brain right now, but the reality that we are all interconnected just keeps acting as a counter weight for the idiocracy of our Me, Myself, and I philosophy.
One such idea presented itself to me today, and I felt compelled to write about it: This is my life and no one can tell me how to live it. It sounds good to my independent nature and my somewhat anarchist attitude, however, does it make sense?
First, we are told what to do a million times a day. For example, we have authority figures in our lives: bosses, parents, politicians, or police officers. The very reality that we live in a society, and that it is and must be governed by rules and regulations should make us throw this ridiculous notion out with the garbage, but for some reason, it does not. Necessity tells us what to do for instance, the baby’s diaper needs changed, my car needs oil or gasoline, or I have to go to work at 7am. I am a mother, and my day consists of doing things I have no desire to do at all. I do them only because they must be done. This is far from the concept of living as I see fit – foot loose and fancy free.
Second, we are not islands; our lives touch a million other lives every day. If we all have rights and the same rights, then how can we make a decision that will affect a million other people, without them having some input. If I choose to stop being a mother for a day without providing someone else to do what I do for my children, what will happen to them and their lives? Can we really just forget the effect of our actions on the people that we love, even the people we do not know, just because we want to do something and it is our right to do it?
I guess we could, but then we have nothing but chaos and suffering. It is not fair that an aged person, without input, be forced to parent their grandchild or great grandchildren because their child or grandchild chose to have unprotected sex. A betrayed partner should not be condemned to die of AIDS or forced to pay child support because his or her unfaithful partner chose to indulge outside the relationship. We have no right to make those kinds of decisions for other people. Only if we lived utterly alone, with no connection to other people, far outside the confines of a society, would this concept be reasonable to consider.
Ironically, this thought prevails in our society. Not only do we believe that we have the right to do what we want, when we want to do it, we also believe that others cannot. That age-old double standard tends to rear its ugly head in the most inopportune times. We would never want others to demand the same rights of us. Oh, in theory it would be fine, but never in action. The cheating partner would never want to be cheated on, and the child does not want to be burdened with the care of their elder. The extreme contradiction in beliefs of what is done to and what one does is obvious. The cold, hard truth is that if you would deny that right to someone else, then it is not a right you should have either.
We are not islands; we are a community of individuals governed by rules, which are set in place to protect the group. Everyday more rules and regulations are made to limit our freedoms because we have a culturally accepted idea that continues to create more chaos and suffering. The intelligent thing to do to solve the problem is not to make more and more rigid restrictions, but to remove the emergent idea that is causing the problem in the first place: because this is my life, I can do whatever I want and no one can stop me.
Just as the seed was sown, it can be weeded out. We are individuals, but we live in a community. Instead of thinking that this is my life and I can do what I want, we have to become aware of the community without losing our individuality. Here at Earthschool, I adopted the motto, “My future, My Responsibility!” It takes the cultural ideology and mutates it to mean something more. It is my life, but I have an obligation to make it something great…something positive….something beneficial. It is not my community’s responsibility to make my life great, positive, or beneficial, it is mine, and mine alone. This changes the focus from what I want to what I need, which opens the horizon to include the community.
my life great, positive, or beneficial, it is mine, and mine alone. This changes the focus from what I want to what I need, which opens the horizon to include the community.