It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Personal Responsibility

page: 1

log in


posted on Jun, 10 2011 @ 02:07 AM
i think everyone likely has their own personal connotations for what the topic title might mean, as it is with all things. i present this, as i see the victim mentality spreading even further than it has in recent times. In everything from threads about how people should be punished for how others act in presented “dooms day” scenarios to atheists (and theists) blaming organized religion for all of the worlds woes (instead of the individuals involved, and their choices) to some sort of mass ascendence which will fix all problems without anyone having to do anything. i will go into how it applies to each of these and a couple of others, simply from my own perspective. i will try to keep the length down, as anything over four paragraphs simply does not get read by 99% of the people that come across it. It will be longer than that, but who knows, maybe “reading” wont be a four letter word…
This will be a long post, but i will separate out the examples from the rest. i am using so many to hopefully better communicate whats going on in my head, as well as disperse focus from any one specific context in hopes of bringing it to the concept (personal responsibility).

This is an underlying problem to our social structure, but changing it involves actively taking personal responsibility, and projecting that perception to others actions as well. We like to use generalizations to further our already present bias, and this practice can be seen throughout the world, including the majority of ATS. Many will speak in judgment of others for using generalizations by using the exact same system themselves. None of this would be an issue if one recognized it was all happening though. So, i will be using some examples to clarify what i am trying to communicate. Please, please note that it is not the specific contexts i am looking to discuss, it is the underlying concept of personal responsibility. There are plenty of other great places to discuss the contexts specifically, they are only being used as illustrations here. i just cant think of a more efficient way of communicating the concept than to present how it manifests in different contexts, so i used examples of what i have seen on this specific board.


Lets first use this recent “rapture” for an example. It has been used to further perpetuate some bias that many have towards religion. Even in the most mainstream and hypocritical of sects, camping was considered a false prophet, but the entire premise is somehow used to discredit all religion and all concepts of God. i also saw many statements about “well, good! then we can fix the world once all those people are gone!” If such a thing like a rapture were to occur, then it is very likely that those disliked religious people would not be raptured, as they are not “true” believers, even by their own definition and teachings. It would have proven the whole basis behind the belief, not some generalization that someone is using to fortify their current bias. Beyond that, there are even interviewed people that work within campings organization that planned to be there on Monday. However, by doing what people do best, we have given the idea more publicity than it would have ever achieved on its own merits (billboards and all). In this specific context (ATS), those that speak of it, in a negative light, have spread the idea around moreso than those who believe it (who are few in number, i suspect). So, anyone who is continuing to bring up its existence are themselves at fault for continuing the “madness.” Any actions that one takes based on it, including “spreading the message” (yea or nay) and up to suicide, is the personal responsibility of each individual that is involved.

When we look at organized religion, many tend to do the exact same thing. Once again, both in the yea and nay perspectives. Many christians seem to think that one can do anything they want in life and then just ask for forgiveness, and be on their merry way. This allows them to get all the “feel-good” stuff, without any of the actual effort involved in changing ourselves. This allows them to shrug off their own responsibility for their actions, and places it on someone else (in this case, usually jesus, god, or the church itself). Then, in using their own generalizations, atheists will use this to do the exact same thing. It is all using the same “source material,” it is just a yea/nay response to that source. Rarely do i see a call for individuals to claim their own responsibility, it is usually something along the lines of religion being used as a scapegoat for all of the worlds woes (from both theists/atheists).

We also see a lot of talk about “it.” A strange feeling in the air.. There are many perspectives on this, as with all things, but most can be categorized as yea/nay responses based on already present biases. Most commonly sourced in the thought processes. So, we see many that are grasping on to the “feel-good” part of whatever it is that is perceived to be “changing.” We see the same thing though; that all of the iniquities of the world will be absolved, not by individuals actually taking personal responsibility and changing, but through an unknown, nebulous feeling. It is a trap of the mind. i never saw it presented that this feeling could have been a result of others actually starting to take personal responsibility on more significant scales than before. When this happens, truly happens (not just in our head and words, but in our actions) we start making true movement. Though, frequently anyone who asks any questions, is seen as an attacker and as someone who “just doesn’t feel it.” That also is relevant when one is attacking another, but will feign that they are just "discussing it." There are no attempts to live that change now, no attempts to explore. It is using the same source of division as that which is expected to be left here after an ascendance. The thing is, like the rapture, if it is real, then the same idea would apply. That is, it likely would work “as written,” and proponents of division from both the “yea, feel good” side and the “nay” side would inevitably be left to their free will chosen division, as they are coming from the same thought based process, just in different directions. In this specific instance, the “nay” side is more likely to actually continue growing as the “yea” side is waiting for all those things to go away. Eternal beings waiting (sic)… for anything, is almost a humorous notion
It blames the woes on the inability to attain what is wanted due to physical limitations (everything from technology to the human body itself). The cup is already seen to be full, at what point does one stop pouring?

When dealing with the "cultural story," (as coined by Daniel Quinn in Ishmael) we see this present. i think everyone has spoken to another about something and their response was “well, that’s just the way it is.” In some cases, like natural laws, it is applicable. But that is not really when the statement is usually used. The first specific example of that is the idea of “living to work.” We act as though our society and culture is something that is an inevitability, however it is the cumulative product of many individual choices. We choose how to live each day, and how to approach what happens to us. We create the world and society that exist, literally. Not necessarily in that we physical materialize the universe, but how we all interact with each other and base our society. Many will say that there is just too much “bad,” or “sheeple,” or “people asleep” as an excuse to stay that way themselves, reasoning that “at least i think about it, i must be awake.” So, here, we see that many feel that our chosen cultural story (mindfully or not) is something that contains us instead of it being a creation of humans. When viewed in this respect, the blame can be placed on it, instead of our own choices. The "sheeple" are used as a pre-emptive excuse to not do anything ourselves. We place the blame of the consequences of our own decisions on a generalization.

The last example ill give is the ubiquitous “the powers that be.” This is a bit of a mixture between religion and the cultural story. We have many that blame this generalization for all of the worlds problems. In doing so, we allow the idea of individual and personal responsibility of those involved to fall by the wayside. It also is rarely taken into consideration that the issues are not “TPTB,” but the people that make up that group. What can also happen is that some will then start to think that the “people” would never perpetrate the things “TPTB” do, but the reality is that “TPTB” is part of the “people.” So, again, we see that something that is a result of humans actions seen as something that contains and controls us.


What do all of these have in common? Evading personal responsibility in favor of blaming it on “X.” Under these generalized contexts, who is actually responsible? Even when blaming others, we do not bring personal responsibility into it. There are no individuals responsible, so who is it that will actually take responsibility? We create constructs and systems in our own perspective to give away our “power” in favor of sloughing it off on a nebulous and vague construct of our own mind. When those consequences bite, it is frequently viewed as the "fault" of some external force. Decisions made mindlessly and unconsciously will tend to lead one to think that they did not make them, and play the victim. However, the result is the world around us. The world is a result of our decisions as a collective, and the movement we make as a whole. There is simply no one to blame but ourselves. Even if we wish to blame everything on some scapegoat, it is up to us to change it from here on out.

All of these also have strong portions of division at their base as well. Most frequently, the yea/nay sides will be so busy proving themselves as “right,” that it can be used as quite the distraction. However, if both sides were to approach it from an exploratory perspective, such methods of disruption and division would be rendered powerless. This is the type of movement i feel we need to start making as first steps towards growth. No more blame, no more excuses, no more tearing others views down without offering our own, no more allowing individuals to skirt personal responsibility due to a generalization. It is realizing the true extent of "the power of the people," but as they say, great power comes with great (personal) responsibility.

There is only one place this can start, and that is within ourselves. We dont need to see the world through the same eyes, or even agree, to start consciously cooperating on our shared goals (quality of life, science, space exploration, and so many others). It is through that very diversity that we can start breaking up the growing strength of the dualistic whirlpool.

i will stand and claim myself as responsible for the way the world is today, but how many will actually join instead of playing the victim? Many will claim to do so, but talk is cheap. Indeed, that is essentially all we have here on internet forums, but i think some are already feeling the ripples of those who are taking steps and walking.

new topics

log in