Welcome to the Willing Misfit Blog!

This blog consists of a series of articles about what it is to think for yourself, and to live a life based on your own conscious choices. While some of the articles are newly generated material, others are included in the ebook 'The Willing Misfit', which is available here for free download:

Monday, 21 May 2012

Responsibility Versus Obligation

When we use our minds to rationalize, our default logic is that of our society. The problem here is that social logic is a construct, and is based on the values of the society in question. If the needs of the individual are deemed less important than the needs of the social group, the logic that the group uses in their daily life will reflect this.

The concept of 'responsibility' when considered using social logic, is confusing, because responsibility to the group, and responsibility to the self are often conflicting issues. In social terms, 'responsibility' reflects obligation; a duty to act in a way that satisfies social expectations. For example, society expects a 'responsible' citizen to earn their keep.

In individual terms, 'responsibility' reflects an awareness and a recognition that the choices an individual makes shape their everyday life. For example, a 'responsible' individual makes choices that promote their own health.

The confusion really starts to kick in when we speak of concepts such as 'freedom'.

Using social logic, the saying 'with freedom comes responsibility' easily becomes a concept that denies an individual their freedom, because social logic seeks to tie the individual to an idea of 'responsibility' that reflects social obligation. 'You're only behaving responsibly when you do what society expects you to do' is how social logic defines the saying, and so apparently, your freedom can only be granted to you by your social group. This is freedom with strings attached: not actually freedom in its true sense.

A responsible individual, however, will grant THEMSELVES their freedom by taking complete ownership of the choices they make. Here, the saying 'with freedom comes responsibility' is defined differently. It's a case of true, individual responsibility being the KEY to freedom. You are truly free when you recognize and own the choices you make.

Most people hand over a large part of their choices to someone else. Often by pure dereliction of action, choices are made for them; they hand over control of their lives because they can't be bothered to take the responsibility. Others make quite rational choices when they delegate the responsibility elsewhere; they've known nothing else, and so perpetuate a social system that encourages the individual to entrust others with the choices that shape their life. And yet, whether the decision to relegate their choices elsewhere is a conscious one or not, it is ultimately their own.

To truly be free, we must find our own sense of logic. It's a good start to consider the choices we make every moment of the day, and to take responsibility for them.

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