Responsibility: That Bitter Taste In Your Mouth?
A train of thought that has already put considerable strain on my conscience, these ideas outline the implications of searching for knowledge and self-actualization. The following outlines the conundrum…
Experience = Knowledge
Often books and lectures help in theory but practice is a whole other realm. With its own variables, real life situations can quickly change and a perfect plan on paper can turn into a disaster. There is no substitution for real life experience, understanding how to cope with last second changes and human emotional variables are invaluable. Obtaining the knowledge you gain through experience is often un-teachable through text alone. This is why you often learn more by simply doing.
Knowledge = Power
Decision makers are the ones with foresight and knowledge. The ones that can make the correct choices are the ones that yield power. The more you know about a subject, the more command you have, letting you have the last and final word. Having that last word draws power. Who can challenge facts and undisputed mastery often obtained through experience?
Power = Responsibility
Spiderman may have said it best, “with great power comes great responsibility.” If we have the power for action when others don’t, who, other than us, will stand up to the world’s injustices? It is by default that those who have the capabilities to act must.
So does Experience = Responsibility?
I am no mathematician but I did pick up on the transitive proper back in high school. It is hard to dispute the notion that experience leads knowledge which then often leads to power but what if we were to take a step further and say that experience calls for responsibility. Does that mean with every growing day, we are held more accountable for our world? Ideally, with constant disorientation, we are continuously educating ourselves through experiential and textbook knowledge. The question arises, does the idea of growing responsibly leave a bitter taste in our mouths? It is often said “ignorance is bliss,” and that you “don’t know what you don’t know,” so if you don’t know what you are missing, do you even miss it? There are two scenarios that come to mind for this situation that I have outlined. Please let me know if you think of more!
1. You knowingly/unknowingly decide to take yourself out of the “burden” of responsibility. You live your life knowing what you know and you make the best of it. Unaware of the impending duty, you sidestep any sort of intellectual growth. Do you live a satisfied life? Are you even held accountable? Am I sensing an “Allegory of the Cave” predicament? I think so.
2. You understand that a fulfilling life comes with responsibility. It is part of the self-actualization process and you observe it. Like it or not, you make the best of it. Are you happier because you know more? Hopefully! Does it open up the overwhelming sense of insignificance? Does it crush your sense of importance in the world? Maybe.
All in all, you have the right to live your life the way you want to. Can you blame people for picking one option for the other? I’m sure you can find a way to but that’s not the point. The point is that with each opportunity to grow you must be courageous enough to undertake it and be ready to deal with the responsibility afterwards. You have one life so you have to make the most of it.
Thoughts? Comments? Emotions?