I wrote last week that I would like a few new celebratory days to encourage more humanistic attitudes in the world. I would like to propose something else today. I think in order to really see a lasting change we must start promoting the idea of “responsibility”.
We are not familiar with this idea. Our leaders tell us these days how we must be responsible, how we must stay together through these harsh economic times, how the people behind all of our woes must be held liable for their actions. Yet these same leaders are the masters at avoiding responsibility. They don’t give us straight answers. They duck questions. They pass the buck. Fingers are pointed, microphones are deflected, and safeties are made.
Take last night’s presidential debate in the US. Both Romney and Obama several times listened intently to questions, offered gratitude for the question, proceeded to say what they’d like to talk about. This is obviously old hat, an old trick to avoid discussing an issue. It is denial. It is unfair. It is like being asked by the police “Where were you last night?” and answering “Thanks for the question, and it’s a good one, but what I’d really like to talk about is my DVD collection”.
We all absorb this. If the leaders of our world can lie and get away with it, why can’t we? We get so frustrated and angry when we are cheated on, robbed, contradicted or lied to. We look around us at a ruined world, governed by big fat monsters chomping on money, and wonder where it all went wrong. We wonder how to change it all, where do we start, where will we go?
We follow the hordes to the queue for a new I phone, we clamber over each other to the shops to prove we’re not poor, we ring radio stations to complain. We write, we moan, we complain, we groan. We go in circles and wonder why. We repeat mistakes; we get lost in the maze, and try to find our way out by following the carrot on the end of the stick. We keep touching the booby-trapped cheese.
Denial is a comforting duvet for all of us on dark days. We ignore how much shit we put in our body and pop Alka-Seltzer to calm our stomach acid. We lap up new fitness crazes and diets. We race around creating an ever increasing whirlwind of work and no rest and stress and wonder why our relationships, families and mental health collapse. We experience depression and don’t admit our underlying madness that makes us human. Our duvet suffocates as it offers us protection.
There are plenty of sources of information available to all of us, yet we ignore a majority and worry enough until our fears come true. We imbibe buzz words and their government led connotations to the extent that socialism, egotism, selfishness and liberal mean very different things to many people. I am social, driven by ego, concerned with my self and freedom seeking. I should expect them to arrive at the door any minute to take me away.
The last time I checked it is okay to make mistakes. I write and contradict at a ferocious pace. There’s nothing wrong with it. We grow and learn from mistakes, so as to improve ourselves, don’t we? No parent is perfect, so why do politicians pretend to be? In this ever increasing politically correct world we are more and more pointing the finger, and refusing the offer of the mirror to know ourselves. How else can you explain the apathy and distrust? If we can’t even accept ourselves, how can we accept and believe others?
I recently returned from Mexico to Ireland, and the difference is obviously enormous. In Ireland people complain each day about the rain, and don’t seem to see the beautiful green the water creates. In Mexico the “gringos” are regularly targeted for criticism, and rightly so, considering their record in the country. I see the people though, abandoning their roots, abandoning the culture, eradicating however slowly their beautiful language with more and more Americanisms.
I suppose it is easier to go with this flow of effluent into the river. The problem is that it is lamentably destructive. On wanders around the world I see rubbish piled up, environmental waste, and toxic fumes. We breathe less and less pure air. We cut our trees down. We muddy the water. We ignore the signs. If whole countries won’t reduce the damage, why should we? It’s not our fault the world is like this.
There are a lot of questions in this article. One follows right after another. I notice that when you accept responsibility there are fewer questions and more time. Have I messed up in life? Yes. Have I repeated mistakes? Yes. Will I continue to do so? I hope not. Is life a long process of stumbles and falls and fights and lessons? I think so. Will this idea get through to the billions of disenchanted and starving and downtrodden and lost? One day.
I’m tired of being part of a majority ruined and ruled by a minority. I’m tired of hypocrisy and injustice, of war being used to drive economy that divides and conquers, of identikit culture, of religion, of politics and greed. I’m energised by nature, by the simple things, by human contact, by fresh air, by fresh food, by argument and debate; art, rhyme and reason. And the point is? We are responsible for all of these things. We created all of this. We can change it all if we want to.
We are capable. We are many. We are human. Accept it.