- Published on Thursday, 14 July 2016 10:37
The following article, on how self-delusion is our means to avoid taking responsibility, makes sense but fails to explore the root causes of those problems or situations that we shy away from and only refers to psychology at the individual level.
Human Psychology: The Delusion ‘I Am Not Responsible’ by Robert J. Burrowes
One of the many interesting details to be learned by understanding human psychology is how a person’s unconscious fear works in a myriad of ways to make them believe that they bear no responsibility for a particular problem.
What we have here is a systemic issue. The article goes partway to suggesting that problems of violence, poverty and environmental destruction have structural causes but like most current analysis, fails to get to the root. Critical Thinking has identified the primary flaws in the political economy which drive these problems: institutional hierarchy, denial of access to the commons and usury. Human behaviour and denial also have their roots in the political economy.
We are deterred from taking responsibility from childhood. We are taught to abdicate thinking and act against our nature and instincts; our participation in society is reduced to being "consumers" and, for a reducing number, "workers" - ie. economic units. If we can't fulfil either of these roles and we're not in the Structural Elite, we are disposable: hence, the homeless, hungry and diseased around the globe.
We are conditioned, from an early age, to trust "authority" and not challenge it.
John Taylor Gatto explains that our system of education is not to teach children to think but to comply with authority. Ken Robinson explains children aren't taught to think for themselves but to "give the answers at the back of the book" - seldom is more than one answer permitted. No room for subtlety or ambiguity - just absolutes, right or wrong. By the time we get to adulthood, we have been conditioned to trust authority and leave everything to "experts", who know better. That's why the world is in such a mess; because we've abdicated responsibility to others.
From the Robert Burrowes article above: Despite everything presented above, it should not be interpreted to mean that we should all take responsibility for everything that is wrong with the world. There is, obviously, a great deal wrong and the most committed person cannot do something about all of it. However, we can make powerful choices, based on an assessment of the range of problems that interest us, to intervene in ways large or small to make a difference. This is vastly better than fearfully deluding ourselves and/or making token gestures. (The article goes on to invite readers to sign a charter which is another gesture)
Wrong! We should take responsibility for everything that is wrong with the world but at the structural level. It's the political economy which creates the symptoms of the disease (wars, poverty, environmental destruction etc.); it is our compliance with, and support for, the abusive and destructive political economy that perpetuates these symptoms; it is our responsibility to educate ourselves and withdraw consent.