Arguing with myself
I have started this ‘essay’ at least five times by now. Every time I get a little into it I get somebody disagreeing. “Well, walking the dog is not really a responsibility,” said my buddy as he walked out of my room. “You’re not the only one that walks your dog . . . and you don’t have to do it.” And that’s true. I used to have to do things. I remember as a kid I had tons of responsibilities. I even had to pray at night before going to bed.
Yet, here I am about twenty years later from the time I had to pray before bedtime and I realize that responsibilities are in the eye of the beholder. They are as divers as the species of fish in our oceans (with some of which we have not even discovered yet). We all have responsibilities of some sort but I am thinking that we all must have some common responsibilities as a species and as inhabitants of this planet, (I am perhaps thinking of Kant and his categorical imperative). I feel that there must be or should be some universal responsibilities, which all people could follow. Thus, I shall explore the world of ‘responsibilities’ to see if I can find ‘something for everyone’.
Responsibilities are to begin with of two kinds: practical and moral. I will not focus on the practical responsibilities because not only are they too divers amongst people but they come secondary to the moral responsibilities. It is out of the moral responsibilities that the practical ones arise. The action (practical responsibility) only follows after the questions: “What should I do,” and "Why should I do'it'?" are answered.
Muie! So here I am after the deadline or maybe not yet but very near. I thought about this essay many times and I started it even more times than thinking about it. It’s tough. There aren’t any moral responsibilities or even any practical ones which are universal. As specie, we are too different between each other. Reproduction is not even a responsibility for all of us (I will not have children – there are too many who need help in this world, adoption is a possibility). I was thinking for a second that to live is a responsibility but then, I remembered that my brother-in-law hung himself. For him although he had three little kids, living was not a responsibility. To be fair, truthful or honest . . . again is not something that all people do. We are extremely fucked-up as a specie! And I am done with this topic! I think I have a split personality. My third self will maybe ‘shoot some lines’ later on this topic but I do not see much to be changed.
The third self has been here, edited a few things but that is it! This topic is still buried. Done with! There is no one responsibility of any kind which every single person on this planet has!
Well, the ‘fourth self’ is here now (years later), edited only a few words from before and there are ‘things’ needed to be said. I can not imagine how I wrote the last two paragraphs … how I did not see any flaw in my argument and that I was ‘finished’ with the subject.
I was talking at one point about ‘practical’ and ‘moral’ responsibilities. I already established that ‘moral’ responsibilities are of greater importance than the ‘practical’ responsibilities because the latter category results out of the first. Thus, I shall not talk about the ‘practical’ responsibilities such as: walking the dog, doing laundry, etc.
The ‘moral’ responsibilities are the ones I would like to focus on. It is this type of responsibility which ‘creates’ an individual, the ‘character’ of a person. Indeed, I have not yet found (or even given it much thought) a ‘moral’ responsibility which everyone in this world already has. In the above two paragraphs I seem to have thought that just because I cannot see any ‘moral’ responsibility common to all people, all is "in vain". “Done with!” as I wrote 'earlier'.
That is not a valid argument though. It negates our identity as humans. Humans are innovative, creative … we like to think and invent things we dream about thus, imagining and striving for a ‘better world’. In that spirit should we not also strive for some ‘moral’ responsibilities that would fit everyone in this world?
The Bible (as much as I dislike Christianity and all other monotheistic religions) gives us a list of ‘moral’ responsibilities such as “Do not kill” and so on. Putting aside all the nasty stories about priests or all the garbage about Muslim fanaticism when it comes to Christianity and Islam as well, both the Bible and the Qu’ran give for the most part an insight into a ‘morally’ responsible life. I recommend both books to be read but read as philosophy books and not as some message given by some omnipotent god who is watching us while 'sitting on a cloud'.
One can look at Buddhists or the Native Indians as well and how they do not like to kill any living creature just for the sake of killing. I believe that to be also a ‘moral’ responsibility for us all: “To respect all forms of life.” It is the Spirit of Life which exists in all of us. So that ‘spirit’ which makes my kitten run around the house is the same ‘spirit’ that allows my fingers to run across the keyboard right now: it is as I like to call it ‘the Spirit of Life’. We should all respect It.
I am sure more 'moral' responsibilities can be found which everyone should follow. I wonder if I let this ... I was going to say essay but it is not an essay, whatever this is, sit like this for a few more years if there would be a ‘fifth’ self that would come and argue some more. One thing is for sure though: this never turned out to be an essay of any sort.
(I posted this 'thing' that has been "sitting" around for years because I am interested in what other people have to say on this topic thus, I am awaiting comments please.)