Tuesday, June 8, 2010

We are Responsible

My Tickling the Tongue of a Dragon post from a few days ago elicited a number of responses, one that came today. Kate was very adamant that she was not "we" as the cause of the oil spill. In response, I quoted a man (like myself, in current disfavor (with Kate, at least)), Werner Erhard (founder of EST), who wrote this about responsibility:
Responsibility begins with the willingness to be cause in the matter of one's life. Ultimately, it is a context from which one chooses to live. Responsibility is not burden, fault, praise, blame, credit, shame or guilt. In responsibility, there is no evaluation of good or bad, right or wrong. There is simply what's so, and your stand. Being responsible starts with the willingness to deal with a situation from the view of life that you are the generator of what you do, what you have and what you are. That is not the truth. It is a place to stand. No one can make you responsible, nor can you impose responsibility on another. It is a grace you give yourself - an empowering context that leaves you with a say in the matter of life.
I first heard it 30 years ago. Actually when I went through EST it was handed to me on a little slip of paper. My interpretation is that it is a similar statement to what is called the butterfly effect, that we have an endless effect on things that happen. And yet Erhard tells us that doesn't mean we should feel like sinners. The butterfly causes a tornado in Texas, yet it is not a bad butterfly. It is one (minuscule) part of the "scheme of things" gracefully flapping its wings as if there is no tomorrow.

Kate maintained that she is not part of "we." I think she is, but not out of any fault of her own. We are one interdependent system. All our actions and interactions extend throughout the universe. This realization gives us power. It is empowering.

P.S. So I actually felt more like I was living today (than dying), and then found out that I have walking pneumonia. But the fact that I'm not coughing so much makes me think I'm on the mend.

I knew my wife was going to be late for dinner, so I told her that I was going to eat without her. "That will be fine," she said. I could hear in her voice, though, that she wanted me to wait, so I did. Finally we sat down to dinner. Then her friend called from St. Louis (as my son did the night before). Maybe tomorrow we'll both turn off our phones. Or maybe not.


Kate Freeman said...

We are one interdependent system. --- Mr. Kim

I think this idea of ‘connectedness’ is being distorted in this context. It is one thing to feel connected to your community, to your home, to humanity, or to a greater cosmic order. It’s a whole other thing when one says ‘we’ are just as responsible as BP, or ‘we’ took a risk and it lead to the industrial disaster, or better still ‘our’ greed cause this.

Would you say that butterflies in Africa are just as responsible for the Deep Horizon Oil Disaster as BP decision makers? Are those birds and fish covered in oil just as responsible as the people who ignored safety regulations? After all, those fish are part of that interconnected system too.

Kate maintained that she is not part of "we." I think she is, but not out of any fault of her own. --- Mr. Kim

What are you doing? So basically you are including me in part of an interconnect system and pointing out that my actions reverberate across the universe and . . . This is why ‘we’ are just as responsible for the BP disaster? Really? It comes across as a distortion of spiritual belief.

I am not part of that ‘we’. . . Stop putting me in that ‘we'. Get yourself out of that ‘we’. You don’t belong there.

And I think I am being responsible. I think that trying to get people to realize that they don’t have to blame themselves for this mess simply because they are ‘part of an interconnected whole’ is an important responsibility. I want people to realize they have every right to judge the people and the system that allowed this to happen. I want people to stop defending BP and demonizing themselves because it is irresponsible to do so.

Kim Mosley said...

Kate, I agree with you... and wrote earlier this am (to be posted later today) about intention... which I had left out. I also pointed out that much of the suffering of the world comes from unintentional acts (acts of nature, acts of ignorance)... that makes this a very complex subject. Thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

I haven't heard Werner Erhard's name mentioned for years. It still raises hackles on the back of my neck! H.

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