Are we responsible? I mean, is anything truly our responsibility? Are we making this existence happen, now or ever? Are we responsible for the creation of this universe, are we responsible for human life? Did I create myself? The air that I breathe is not my creation. The lungs that take the air in, I haven't made them. Or the instinct to breathe, it's there, but not my responsibility. My heartbeat is not my doing, was it ever? Or my intelligence, my brains, I cannot say that I am responsible. We are, as I'd like to coin it, 'inresponsible'. We cannot credit ourselves for the process of life. In the most basic sense, absolutely nothing is to your or my credit.
The fact that life is actually happening is really quite something. And our understanding of natural laws and our scientific discoveries do not diminish this mystery of life actually happening. No scientist has explained how it is that life actually happens. We know about processes and conditions that make it likely that life happens, or even happens in a particular way. But that it happens is unsolved, it cannot be comprehended.
When a woman is pregnant, is she making the baby grow? No, the baby grows by itself. And does the baby make itself grow? No, it grows spontaneously. Life happens, and we cannot take the credit for it. To water a plant and exposing it to sunlight, are true principles: we've observed that it grows and flowers in this way. Yet we are not doing the growing or the flowering, that would be taking the credit, claiming responsibility for the process of life which is not our doing at all. We are not making these flowers grow, not even if we are growing them! Life is not my responsibility. I cannot take the credit for being here, nor can I take the credit for my intelligence or my consciousness. Can anyone?
If I am existentially inresponsible, I am not truly responsible. It is difficult to accept this, to acknowledge that we are not truly responsible, that we are fundamentally free from all responsibility. This is not how we have been thinking. You are not even responsible for yourself, not even for your children. You are not responsible at all, you are inresponsible.
Am I saying that there is no responsibility? No, responsibility exists, but only if it is of a voluntary nature. What happens if we open our eyes to fundamental, existential inresponsibility? Responsibility becomes voluntary. To be aware of your inresponsibility is the freedom from where you can take responsibility. And you will not take it out of psychological pressure, but out of freedom. The new paradigm is inresponsibility first, and voluntary, natural responsibility second.
The idea of being responsible is a strain on the heart. Buy into the paradigm that you actually are responsible and now you have to be responsible! And responsibility becomes a very strange thing, like a tennis player afraid to take his shots because he has to win. No longer playing naturally, freely. Responsibility is not free flowing intelligence anymore. Accepting the idea of responsibility as if it is true, creates a psychological prison around your heart. And deep down the human spirit doesn't accept it, and you may revolt. You may throw all responsibility out the window because the pressure becomes too much, and you want to be free of it.
You can feel responsible, but you don't need to believe that you actually are. Believing that you actually are responsible, feeling responsible becomes feeling guilty, and if something goes wrong, you are to blame. Become aware of your existential inresponsibility, and responsibility becomes qualitatively different.
We need to take responsibility out of freedom, not out of guilt or fear. How else are we to have a healthy society? A society built on psychologically coerced responsibility can never be truly human. This is subhuman as it makes us slaves. Responsibility taken on out of freedom has a beauty about it, and in a way, it is the flowering of the human being. Or, less poetically, this is the maturity that we should be looking for. This is the maturity that we hope a child will learn: that one day he will take responsibility, not because he's told to, but because it comes naturally.
Inresponsibility is not an argument for irresponsibility, but a wakeup call to the true situation. Irresponsibility is an anti-responsibility, a rebellion against responsibility. It means that at some level you have bought into the idea of actually being responsible, but you don't like it, don't want it.
Forced responsibility brings havoc; it destroys more than it creates. People will rebel against forced responsibility because we intuit that freedom is our very foundation. Let us face up to the obvious truth of inresponsibility and give the individual his choice to be responsible or not. How can you rebel against this? Inresponsibility is not a license for irresponsible behavior, it is laying the groundwork for authentic responsibility.
How can you feel guilty once you've opened your eyes to your existential inresponsibility, your fundamental innocence? It is not possible. Does that mean that you can't take the initiative, that now you can't take responsibility? No, being aware of your fundamental innocence means that you can take responsibility, because the pressure is off. You can take responsibility more effectively once you realize that you are existentially inresponsible. It takes away a pressure that is not natural. That pressure is a consequence of a paradigm that is not in harmony, not in sync with reality.
From inresponsibility responsibility is no big deal, it comes naturally. In accepting individual responsibility for my life I claim my freedom as an individual. I will not hold anybody else responsible for the life that I lead. I live my own life. Responsibility is not a strictly individual thing though, we are part and parcel of humanity and of a living planet. True responsibility takes the unicity of life into consideration. Though there may be good money in publishing newspapers and this is a way for you to support yourself and your family, will you do it at the expense of the rainforest? Responsibility is the pivotal point, without responsible people we will blow up the planet. Voluntary responsibility has a grandeur about it. It's the foundation of human dignity and of a totally appropriate sense of pride. Responsibility as a choice made in freedom, that way it is beautiful!
About the author
About the book
Principles and Paradigms
» 3. Innocence
What is Forced Responsibility?
- Inresponsibility, not Irresponsibility
Ego and Psychological Liberation
5. Alive Silence