Well, as always, I have written about bad things that happen and that usually can be blamed on somebody else (or somebodies). Otherwise, I have written about wonderful things that have happened and that can also be attributed to somebody or somebodies else. Even though we figure in the happening(s) as active participants, seldom do we acknowledge the bottom line: we are solely responsible for what happens to us, or for the result of our actions on others. Unfortunately, today with the assistance of social media, we have become mere spectators not only of others actions but even of our own.
I am writing about this today because I have been involved directly in two different types of actions. First, I spent the month of October traveling through some parts of Europe in what ended up as a totally marvelous trip. Although I had some friends to thank for facilitating my travels, I was solely responsible for it. If something went wrong (it did not) I had only myself to blame and if a lot went right, I had only myself to congratulate. I was the engine behind my happiness and what a marvelous feeling that is!
And then … I wish I could blame somebody (or somebodies) for what happened next. I wish, as so many folks do these days, I could blame this or that or him or her, but the truth is, that I was the engine behind the misfortune that struck me. Shortly after returning from this wonderful trip, I engaged in a very stupid action in my own house, trying to help somebody do something that neither should have undertaken. The end result is a badly broken foot with all the pain and disability that accompanies it. Friends and relatives have asked me, how could you, why did you? And here is when I go back to the title of this column, we are responsible for our actions. We have only our intellect and our emotional wellbeing to answer for what we do, for how we influence others and for how what we do has a lasting influence not only on our lives but on the lives of everybody and everything that surrounds us.
Each one of us is responsible for who we elect to public office; each one of us is responsible when we close our eyes to corruption. However, somehow today, with the ease with which we throw information around, people, and particularly young people, find it very easy not to be responsible for anything. As if things happened by magic and they are dazed by the luminaries. Well my friends, I am not only responsible for what caused my horrible accident, but I am also responsible when I do not act in the best civic fashion, when I refuse to vote because I don’t like the candidates. I am also responsible when I look the other way and fail to help somebody in need. We are each responsible for each of our actions, regardless how significant or insignificant they may be. To quote a poet, “no man is an island” (what happened to women?). Although social media allow us to shield ourselves behind anonymity, responsibility will always demand personal response. No matter how hard we may try, we should always be able to answer, it was me, I am responsible.