Establishing the idea of personal responsibility

At the very foundation, the grave problems we are facing today are caused by individual consumers who have been fully conditioned to consume maximally (and unsustainably) and contribute minimally. Yes, there are many socio-political and economic factors that enhance and maintain this terribly self-destructive mindset, but the fundamental problem remains our widespread culture of consumerism and entitlement. My dream with this blog is that this mindset be replaced by a culture of contribution and personal responsibility. 

In order to achieve this dream, people need to understand three simple facts:

  1. Our current systems (which evolved with our culture of consumerism and entitlement) are fundamentally guaranteed to fail and will result in drastic reductions in our standard of living if we refuse to change. This fact is discussed in detail here.
  2. The one and only way in which we can make lasting changes is to restore our former cultural mindset of contribution and personal responsibility, getting people to live within their means and consume sustainably. More on this here.
  3. Such sustainable living is the one and only route to happy, healthy and wealthy living as discussed in the two pages on individuals in the summary starting here.

Once people understand that (1) change is not negotiable, (2) taking personal responsibility is the one and only way in which lasting positive change can be achieved and (3) such personal responsibility is the one and only route to happy, healthy and wealthy living, I believe that society will automatically start moving in the right direction. I sincerely hope that this blog can contribute to society reaching this point before it is too late.

In order for this to happen, however, these ideas will have to go mainstream. This will be challenging simply because people do not like to be told that they have to take responsibility. We would much rather defer this responsibility onto politicians or scientists and blame them for the ever increasing quantities of nothing that gets done about our plethora of impending crises.

But this can be fixed by simply following the three-step process introduced above. Firstly, people need to understand that we really have serious problems – problems that can put their lives in jeopardy and present massive threats to the lives of their children and grandchildren. This realization will finally get people asking the crucial question: “what can I do about this?” 

This question is then answered by the second point: the fact that individual lifestyle change fueled by an informed acceptance of personal responsibility is the one and only way in which we will ever effect lasting positive change. As said before, this realization will evoke negative feelings because we have been conditioned to try and defer as much responsibility as at all possible and have some real problems accepting that we are actually responsible for the plethora of crises bearing down on us.

These problems will be made more manageable by the third realization: the fact that responsible and sustainable living is the one and only route to lasting health, wealth and happiness. Once people have evolved their understanding to this point, they should be willing to at least explore the practical steps towards holistic sustainable living advocated in this blog. And yes, once people actually begin this journey, very few will ever look back. The personal benefits are massive and the journey itself quickly becomes self-sustaining. 

The process briefly described in the three preceding paragraphs needs to be repeated millions of times over if we are to successfully navigate the 21st century. Unfortunately, a simple blog with pretty green and red lettering and lots of interesting pictures will not be nearly enough to make this happen. Indeed, these facts will have to be spread in a relentless multimedia onslaught appealing to as many human senses and emotions as at all possible. But hey, the advertising industry has been doing this for decades and has managed to get virtually the entire world chasing the totally impossible pipe-dream of happiness-through-consumption, so I can see no reason why the same methods cannot be used to establish a new culture of contribution and personal responsibility.

But aside from this massive marketing campaign, this process of widespread, real and tangible lifestyle change towards sustainable happiness can be greatly accelerated by large scale practical commercialization of these ideas as discussed on the next page.

4 thoughts on “Establishing the idea of personal responsibility”

  1. As I have said elsewhere, advertisers sell only one thing – dissatisfaction. Furthermore, were it not for the fact that most products are designed to fail, they would mostly be unemployed. I think this built-in redundancy is what youmight call “systemic inefficiency”?

    1. Hehe… true that. But I can see no reason why advertisers cannot start selling dissatisfaction about the current status quo of being fat, broke, stressed, depressed and responsible for the deaths of millions/billions of poor and as-of-yet-unborn human beings. Could make a pretty powerful ad, don’t you think?

  2. The only thing that makes us happy is doing what we want. However, “what we want” is not really what our “egoic self” wants. What we want is to be in proper relationship with our environment, which has nothing to do at all with acquisitiveness, personal power, or personal “wealth”.

    “World religions” talk about “how to behave”: but there is not a “Magic Power Persona” “out there” that will save us. Now, the “appropriate behavior” must arise from an internal drive to “do what is right.”

    I wish I had known this when I was much younger.

    David

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A DIY guide to saving our world while building a happy, healthy and wealthy life

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