The Responsible Society

March 24, 2012 at 6:11 am 6 comments

While I work on a new post, I thought I’d recycle one that hasn’t been viewed in a while. One of my other writing themes has been to find the magic argument that will convince the rest of the world that we need to become sustainable now. I’ve tried many different angles including religion (see Manifesting the Golden Rule). This post was an attempt to wake people up to being truly responsible for their actions. Hopefully someday someone will find that magic words…

The Sustainability Puzzle

We teach the subject of social responsibility in our universities, we lecture the topic to our children and I think many assume that society is generally responsible. But, are we? It seems to me that just as a person is responsible for their choices, society is likewise responsible for its collective actions. What does this imply? It implies that society is responsible for the failure of the systems it implements and that poverty, homelessness, hunger and inadequate healthcare are the manifestations of our system’s failures.

Throughout this blog, I’ve tried to capture the implications of responsibility by describing the essence of what distinguishes children from adults – taking responsibility for their actions. It does not magically happen at the age of 18, 21 or even 74. It is a state of mind that we accept when we are mature enough to comprehend it. And, like a teenager modern society wants…

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Entry filed under: Consumerism, Environment, Government, Leadership, People, Philosophy, Population, Sustainability, Thoughts. Tags: , , .

Transitioning to “Cantilevered Sustainability” The Butterfly Effect

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. narf77  |  March 24, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    We have gotten so used to the premise that we are the centre of the universe and that it revolves around humanity that society has started to reject it’s values and responsibilities. You only have to look at television advertisments to see how removed we have become from responsible communities caring for the community as a whole and “Me…I…and Mine” have become the buzz words for today. Responsibility has been laid aside in the quest to gratify ‘self’. I just discovered Phi and The Golden Rule last week. I was looking at it in relation to horticulture and leaf arrangement on stems but was totally blown away by it. Sustainable = responsible in my book. Cheers for the excellent post and for highlighting The Golden Rule which is the most mind blowing revelation that I have had in quite some time.

    • 2. Jesse Parent  |  March 29, 2012 at 7:45 am

      I agree. I think the core element of sustainability is awareness of the consequences of our actions, and not being ignorant of them – being responsible for the results and ripples, start to finish.

      It’s definitely not how our current society has been built, but progress can come with perseverance and courage.

  • 3. rossmountney  |  March 25, 2012 at 12:29 am

    After reading your full post, I’m afraid I disagree with you on one point; that is, sadly, most people are not responsible, they do not want to examine the broader picture (the implications of their lifestyles) if it means they are going to have to change indulgent habits! I also think that maybe society, in order to make life ‘convenient’ has become too far removed from contact with the earth – don’t even have to wash soil off vegetables any more and it’s a long time since people have had to think about what they put down their toilets – and being removed from it they can conveniently remove it from their sense of duty to it too! We can only press on with educating people and raising awareness – particularly through parents – in the hope that new generations pay better attention.

    • 4. rghusted  |  March 25, 2012 at 4:04 am

      No, I do agree that we are not being responsible — I wish people would wake up to our responsibility. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  • 5. Heather  |  March 25, 2012 at 6:09 am

    Funny thing about magic: it doesn’t exist. What does exist is an infinitely complex universe that we will never have the capacity to fully understand. What we might perceive as magic is actually gaps in our understanding (who knew those mirrors were there?). This applies broadly, and also at the individual level – the chain of reactions related to any of our actions is so complex there us no way for us to know all the impacts we should be responsible for.
    I think we know this intuitively, so we don’t set ourselves crazy trying to know it all – instead, we react to the immediate, present and visible impacts because that is descrete and feasible.
    That said, films like make us aware of tangible impacts that are not present, enabling us to extend our sense of responsibility to impacts we might not otherwise perceive as relevant.

    I think there is way more to creating a responsible society, but this is just one thought that struck me as I read your post.

    • 6. rghusted  |  March 25, 2012 at 6:36 am

      I agree! Another way to put it is that the words that will motivate people to action already exist — it’s just that someone has yet to discover them. Thanks for your insightful thoughts.


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