Saturday, May 11, 2013

Wait, I had to do that?!

In one of my previous posts I talked about how life is the gift that keeps on giving. Giving responsibilities, that is. So after consulting the all-knowing internet, I thought I'd elaborate more on the topic at hand.

Google and its new card interface when writing "<word I'm searching for> definition" define it as "The state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something."

Apart from the legal aspect of this, there many forms of being responsible. There is moral responsibility, social responsibility and duty. 

Let's start off, shall we? Moral responsibility is the state of knowing when something is worth praise or punishment. It's what I called "moral compass", but ethics is more accurate here. Because of free will, we can decide whether or not to act on something that's unfair, but then there are hindering factors such as emotional vulnerability or financial/social gain. As children we aren't expected to be responsible, but we are taught to. That's why we are to be when we are adults.

Social responsibility is probably an endangered species. It's about knowing to act for the benefit of society at large. That happens thanks to charitable organizations, although people who don't have some kind of surplus can't really contribute any money, still there is volunteering. There should be noted that the rise of individualism is what has cause this fading. It's closely bound to the first form of responsibility, but with no ulterior motive. That's when it starts to go downhill. If there is nothing to gain, then why do it, right? Well, I see it like this, you gain the feeling that you have helped somebody in need. That's a real self-image booster. Though, few seem to care about that.

Lastly, duty. Let me have a sidebar right here. This word meant responsibility to me when I learned it the first time, now knowing the other meaning it's hard to take it seriously. OK, just think of it as responsibility.

Duty conveys a sense of moral commitment or obligation to someone or something. In that sense, it's not about the society or yourself, but rather about keeping a promise. When you are a lawyer, you give a general promise to the public to defend and prosecute. Many of intellectuals have rejected this term, with Nietzsche being the leading example. For this reason I'm not going to give much ground to this form, because it varies based on beliefs, political/social or even religious ones.