Tag Archives: human

Connecticut massacres and reflections on responsibility

Newtown shootings

Newtown shootings (Photo credit: rich_bruchal)

These where just some reflections I had from a few things that I’d read over the past couple of days, like the recent shootings in the States of primary school aged kids at school. It seems like others, similar to this event have a lot of lose ends that the official stories won’t often tie up. We might be unlikely to want to question the reports we hear about such things, and not wonder whether there’s a lot more to this than the lone gunman story we’re all fed, and that’s understandable, because it’s really shocking enough, it’s unimaginable. How could we believe that such things can be done by people and organisations we hand our lives essentially over to, so they can take care of us and provide a society for us to live in? Mostly that’s not a reality we’d like to see, whether or not its true. But if you are inclined to question if the story we are told, is the real one, you might find it revealing to ponder on some of these questions on this article about this event: http://www.sott.net/article/254835-Dr-Kevin-Barrett-Questions-about-the-Connecticut-school-shooting

But this post is not about this. It’s about something more general and perhaps something more personal. For me, all these things require myself to change, but to do that I need to remind myself about my involvement in the world, my own contribution to all these things happening, and then begin to address my personal responsibility in the world that I live in.

The thing with our modern technology and the distance that it places between myself and an event, whether its distance in time or distance in space, it attempts to separate me from my personal involvement. For example when I consume gossip magazines because I want to peer into the lives of other people, I want to do this with or without the celebrities’ permission and so by my own purchase (which is something I don’t do), or even my curiosity (reading a free paper on the train), I am in part culpable for the hiring the 3rd party that intrudes on another person‘s life. This is the same for pornography, I want to be a part of other people’s sexual interactions, irrespective of what effect this has on the lives and the soul condition of those involved but only from a digital distance, so I tell myself, and so by my viewing or consumption I become involved. I become part of the creation and maintenance of that that system, that culture. From a soul perspective, I’m not any different to a person who watches this for his or her pleasure right when it takes place, but the perceived physical distance makes me feel otherwise.

When a soldier presses a button on a computer that kills another human being from a remote location, he or she has become a murderer, although the distance might make this person feel less responsible, it is constructed feeling, a self deceptive feeling. If that person was able to be in touch with his or her true feelings about the matter, I believe there would be no doubt in that person’s mind about being directly responsible for the murders he or she commit. In fact being in touch with our true feelings would, in the majority of cases I’d say, not allow a person to press the button that results in taking a life, no matter the distance. Believing that distance reduces our responsibility is like saying that killing someone with a longer sword makes us less culpable than killing a person with a shorter sword. This of course is fictitious.

What I need to examine if I am to get to the root of the suffering that exists in the world is my personal responsibility in all matters that come to my attention, or things I myself seek. Whether through a news report, the Internet, what I buy pre-packaged on a supermarket shelf, all these things I have a responsibility in whatever event happens around it. I’m not somehow alleviated responsibility because of distance or even time. There is always a belief and an denied emotion in me that is a part of these events.

It is a mistake to believe I’m not responsible, we all do this in different ways the same way Ponticus Pilot washed his hands in the Bible, as if he could remove his involvement in the death of Jesus, by a physical act of washing his hands. But he told himself it would.

We do this as a society with all sorts of things we create like the drone aircraft that executes people remotely, it is a way we try to distance ourselves from responsibility. Not only am I avoiding reality by denying it, I too become by my own denial a part of its creation, all those things I deny responsibility for, I help bring these things into existence and continue them. But not just me, all of us. When we hold on to deep emotional denials of any form we become and remain in some measure directly responsible for what happens around us and because of that, we are directly culpable too.

However, there is a very big difference in taking responsibility and blaming myself or others. To be sure I’m not saying I blame myself, or I blame others. Blame is another construction, another fiction we make, because it pretends that responsibility is isolated to one group or one individual, and that is not the truth of any situation. So what blame attempts to do, as does much of our devices to distance ourselves, is that it seeks to redirect responsibility. When I take real responsibility I have to change at the heart level, and that change automatically frees me because I’m now helping to remove the suffering directly, not helping it to continue. So I’m then free from perpetuating  suffering and the suffering of others on that particular issue, not only that but I then become an agent of the removal of that suffering. So at that point where we take personal responsibility, we become an avtive agent of change. This is what taking personal responsibility does, it transforms us and the environment around us, so if these things are not changing, we have a clear sign we are not taking personal responsibility.

So for example, there is something in us that allows an environment where others control our lives, where others manipulate events that lead to war, that lead to the direct murder of our children whether abroad, in our schools, in our hospitals, in our cinemas. When we seek to wash our hands of all these things. what we are really doing is firstly denying what we hold within us and then we are actually helping to create and maintain more suffering.

We say we are horrified by events like the recent shooting and murder of school children at Connecticut, but are we really that horrified? How can we be horrified by something and not be affected by it to the extent that something in us changes? If nothing changes in us and around us as a result, if we do just what we have done before we became “horrified”, then it is a sure sign we have yet to understand and take personal responsibility. It’s a sure sign also that we are not really that horrified and we have not heeded the call to take personal responsibility and to transform ourselves and the world around us.