Choices and Responsibilities

Choices and Responsibilities

Today’s Daily Paradox is kindly written for us by Douglas Bullock

With increasing freedom from poverty, predation and a vastly increasing affluence, today’s Paradox examines the boundary between individual privileges, rights and responsibilities, our duties to the Environment and Societies people live in, and the imperative for us to evolve.  To keep moving forward, integrated as we are into a world of constant change, how should we adapt?  What to keep?  What to throw away?

After several hundreds of thousands of years of a human existence, for the first time and in large number, we have relative freedom from hunger, the elements, wars and disease. The endeavor of our species has brought us undreamt of security and wealth. Today, we have financial abundance and choices over careers, life-partners, where to live, what to eat, what entertains us.  We no longer have to dig in field today to eat tomorrow, nor live under constant threat, on anything like the level we did.  Thus, we live a life which by previous standards, is utopian.  It is on balance, a privileged condition. In any case, it is probably irreversible.

As a consequence of how well we live now, authoritarianism, absolute obedience and compliance, effective as it was in its day, is waning.  We less and less tolerate being threatened into submission and conformity, whether by governments, by faiths, by patriarchs, by bosses or even by public opinion.  Instead, we are moving towards being motivated by what benefits society and the environment.  We are becoming increasingly “conscience motivated” as it is called.  In the process, people are gaining greater autonomy, choice and responsibility, and most like it.  We should celebrate this development, unique in human history.  It is also a duty that we respect our emerged privileges and act accordingly.

Yet issues continue to evolve, too.  Should we continue to create increasing abundance by defaulting to retained behaviours, some supportive and enabling, some increasingly demeaning and outmoded? (See Daily Paradox 11/5/21). How do we differentiate between the two types?  Who decides?  Is it us?  Should change be top-down, or bottom-up?

What new options are there for enabling us to find out who we are and to get the life to go with, while retaining an overarching sensibility towards, and responsibility for, the People and the Universe around us? Might an option be to go forward in some form of managed, yet bold, experiment based oddly enough, upon pleasures? Eudemonic pleasures, the Classical Greek philosopher Aristotle postulated, are pleasures derived from, (to put it simply), doing good.

These bring benefit to all parties and the happiness persists. 

I leave it to you.