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Too much responsibility?

Talking about life and how we’re living it, the concept of responsibility comes up fairly often (Notes One), alongside that of freedom. What are we to make of all the freedom, all the choices, modern life’s laying at our feet? How much do we understand the meaning of each decision we’re faced with – where they may lead; all the social or environmental ramifications we’re setting in motion; the bigger picture everyone’s part of?

But then, is life now too overwhelming to be thinking that way? Between the relentless, often quite meaningless, demands for attention that form this constant tide of all that’s seeking to undermine our worth, agency or focus while locking us into predictable patterns of consumption, where are we to start exercising the responsibility of freedom? Maybe this much freedom’s simply too much to manage, in a way (Notes Two).

Much as we might care about all our disparate, important concerns, it also seems the paths for dealing with them aren’t quite there – that there’s simply not space, agreement or certainty over how best to address what we’re facing (Notes Three). Without tried and trusted courses of action, we presumably also carry the daunting burden of needing to “create” solutions.

How can we handle that level of freedom or responsibility? Who are we to turn to for wisdom, insight or guidance in charting a path through this modern landscape? So many of the voices speaking into our uncertainty seem to have other agendas nestled somewhere between the front and back of their minds about where things are headed or how they might benefit (Notes Four). Behind it all, where is reliable support to be found?

And, even if we were to become convinced of another way, can we just “drop” all this and do differently? Maybe we can. There’s certainly power to collective action; to ideas whose time has come and the people prepared to act in bringing them to life. Being sure of those ideas and the paths to their realisation seems so important, however. Choosing the right battles, the right stances to achieve our ends, doesn’t seem easy.

Sometimes it really just seems the responsibility of a modern life is potentially “too much” – that there’s too much wrong, too much that matters, too much well-meant advice for us to gain the focus needed to resolve it all. Simultaneously, that there’s too little time, space or clarity to pull all our many, valid concerns into any concerted form of response. Perhaps also, that we risk doing much harm while trying to do the right thing.

Is the challenge here to understand what it is to be human? The worth of all our lives, the value of our cooperation, and how that’s working itself out globally (Notes Five). Rising above ourselves to make good choices across the board, how much might the world change? In which case, once we’re convinced what we’re doing matters – holds value – maybe we’re simply right to persist until others can appreciate it too.

Notes and References:

Note 1: Responsibility in shaping this reality
Note 1: Passivity, or responsibility
Note 1: Questions around choice
Note 2: Life’s never been simpler…
Note 2: Making ends meet
Note 2: Is this the ultimate test?
Note 2: Things with life have to be maintained
Note 3: The value of a questioning attitude?
Note 3: Problems & the thought that created them
Note 3: What if solutions aren’t solutions?
Note 3: And, how much can we care?
Note 4: Trust within modern society
Note 4: Freedom, what to lean on & who to believe
Note 4: Which voice can we trust?
Note 4: Knowing who to trust
Note 5: Losing the sense of meaning
Note 5: Whether we make a difference
Note 5: Living as a form of art

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