RESPONSIBILITY and RAILROADING

© 2019  Bill Murphy

I’ve written before on the heavy topic of responsibility.  It’s a subject that often pops up in my extended family.  As for myself, I’ve been officially retired for six years, and yet I’m still faced with responsibilities on a daily basis.  Obviously, they never end.

Responsibilities are much like anchovies and black olives: you have the option to choose or reject them.  (I love anchovies, but detest black olives.)  

Yes, one can reject a responsibility.  Folks do it all the time.  That’s not saying that’s a healthy thing to do, but it is an option.  The truth of this is in the expression ‘accepting one’s responsibilities.’  To accept involves a conscious, voluntary action The opposite of acceptance is rejection.  Both of these require a value judgement on our part… we weigh the options, and make our choice. 

I didn’t say that we study the options.  Decisions are often made with little or no thought as to the outcome of those decisions.  We speak, act, or shoot — and then think.  Oops!

Responsibilities are very personal and unique to the individual.  I may or may not have a similar responsibility confronting me that is confronting you.  But, by the same token, we share many responsibilities.   Yet even within a shared responsibility, the portion of that responsibility which affects us directly is ours alone to accept or reject.  We’re responsible for our personal portion.  

What we often fail to consider is the simple fact that the decisions we make concerning our personal responsibilities usually always affect others around us… those close to us, like family, as well as those not as close to us, as in those friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens of the world in which we live.  It is true: no man is an island.

So what’s the answer to this dilemma?  How do we, the accepters of responsibility, convince the rejectors of responsibility to get with the program?

Simple education is a good place to start.  Learn from the railroad.  All railroad wheels have flanges, extensions to the inside of the wheels.  These flanges extend downward to fit in-between the rails, thus keeping the train on the track.  Without these flanges, no train could ever make a turn, or even stay on the track going in a straight line.  Wheel flanges are a necessity.  The railroad has no choice in the matter.

When I was a child, it was said that schools taught the three R’s:  reading, riting and ‘rithmatic.  I suggest adding a fouth: RESPONSIBILITY.  

I also suggest teaching that responsibilities are linked to CONSEQUENCES.  Perhaps the word ‘link’ is incorrect.  Perhaps ‘chained’ would be better.  

Just as railroads would fail without the use of wheel flanges, students fail in school when they choose not to pay attention in class, not to do their homework, and not to study for tests.  

Employees: only do what is absolutely necessary on the job, then never expect a promotion.  Fail to pay your rent or house note and you’ll receive a boot out the door.  Spend all your money only on what you want, and you’ll not have money for what you need.  If you don’t eat, then expect to starve.  It’s all simple 1 + 1 = 2 math.   

As for responsibilities, they’re necessary for all of us.  They are the light which illuminate our paths in life.  And sometimes they are the barriers which protect us from danger.  Responsibilities allow us to navigate through a successful, fruitful, and meaningful life-experience.  Accepting those responsibilities are vital.  They keep us on track.  They keep us safe.  They keep us happy. Own them, your they are yours!

We may not always see them as friends, but they are.   

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PERCEPTION and OPINION

machine-1776925_1280© 2018 Bill Murphy

Newton’s third law of physics states that: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

The output reaction force can be readily calculated by knowing the force of the input action as stated in the measurements of mass (weight), speed, and the direction of the force.

It would appear that Newton’s law can also apply to HUMAN interaction. Some call this karma. However, the input and output forces in human interaction are not as easily calculated, owing to the vast amount of variables which always occur with human interaction. Perhaps the greatest of these variables is PERCEPTION.

The word ‘perception’ has its root in the word ‘perceive’ which usually refers to perceptions in vision. However, one can also experience perception in all of the human senses: taste, touch, smell, hearing as well as sight. Perception is basically defined as : a mental image of something, or your personal concept of something.

The origins of opinions lie in perception.

Perceptions are not necessarily true and factual. Perceptions are based upon past experience and or beliefs and personal observations. One’s concept of what is true reality, by nature of its origin, is susceptible to change and modification.

A personal example: The commonly accepted opinion is that paper mills stink. I, on the other hand, based upon pleasant and happy memories from my childhood, of visits with my favorite aunt who lived in a paper mill town – love the ‘pleasant’ aroma of a paper mill. My perception has become my opinion.

Perceptions vary widely from person to person and from item to item. It’s much like attempting to define what is ‘up’ and what is ‘down’ or what is ‘hot’ and what is ‘cold.’ Because these are relational items, they are perceived differently from one person to the next. It is therefore impossible to judge which perception (which opinion) is more or less ‘correct’ than the next. We tend to accept the ‘average’ or ‘norm” of an opinion as being as being ‘correct.’

But truthfully, in the arena of perception and opinion, few things are absolutely ‘correct.’ What is too loud for me can easily not be loud enough for others. What may be too salty for you, may not be salty enough for me. And abandoned soft drink soon becomes ‘hot‘ whereas the forgotten cup of coffee beside it has become ‘cold.’ Perception is important!

This does not mean that I am wrong (in my perception/concept/opinion) and you are right. No! Neither does it mean that I am right (in my perception/concept/opinion) and you are wrong. It does mean, that these divergent perceptions are just that – opinions.

It has been said that we all have a right to our opinions, and that may be true. But rights, MUST have certain restrictive limits, otherwise, my ‘right’ could trample over yours, and yours could trample mine. A degree of give and take is required to maintain peace, harmony, and goodwill.

Yes, we all have rights. But all rights come with responsible. And here lies the roots of discord, resentment, and misunderstanding. Many find it difficult to recognize the fact that others, with perceptions other than their own, have a right to those personal perceptions. And some, who believe their own perceptions to be superior to those of others, discount the perceptions and concepts of others – based purely upon their personal opinions.

This is the result of personal opinions crossing the line from observations, concepts and opinions – and becoming judgements. And we know what God says about judgement.

 

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WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW

Tab Bottle© 2018 Bill Murphy 

What the world needs now is a healthy dose of individual responsible. Hey, a RESPONSIBILITY PILL would be great!

The truth is, each of us already have that responsibility! If you’re breathing, you HAVE responsibilities. The problem is that far too many folks either shirk their responsibilities through selfish denial, or are completely blind to the fact that their responsibilities are ever present, following them like a shadow which they choose to ignore.

We all have responsibilities, and we’re responsible for what we do about them. That’s life. In 1624 English poet John Donne wrote: No man is an island. That’s the honest truth in a nutshell! It was as true then, as it is today.

I suppose that what we need is a required responsibility wake-up pill.

Newton’s third law of physics states that: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. It would appear that Newton’s law also applies to HUMAN interaction, more specifically, cause and effect interactions. Some call this karma. People who fail to recognize and accept their responsibilities are seemingly blind to the basic life principle of cause and effect.

CAUSE results in EFFECT.

EFFECT results in…

AFFECTS – Things which AFFECT our lives. These effect induced affects in turn often result in a whole new set of CAUSES. It can become an endless cycle, but the reasoning is not complicated. Let me explain from a life experience of my own.

I was around 20 at the time, living paycheck to paycheck, and it was less than 2 weeks before Christmas. Driving at night, on a 2 lane country road, I took a foolish chance and passed a slow vehicle on a hill. On the downhill side, sat a county trooper, who promptly pulled me over and issued a ticket. This ticket cost me money I didn’t have to spare.

The CAUSE: I Foolishly and irresponsibly, passed on a hill. (Against the law).

The EFFECT: Receiving a traffic citation, which I was responsible for paying.

The AFFECT on my life: I now had far LESS money to fund my Christmas plans and responsibilities. Oh how I wish I had taken a responsibility wake-up pill earlier that day!

I look around me, at my own life, and the painful memories of unrecognized or un-acted upon responsibilities. Oh how I’d like a do-over of those lost opportunities. And I see my own children, grand children, and great-grand kids, making similar mistakes. I want to scream out, STOP, LOOK… and RECOGNIZE what lies ahead. NOW is the time to do something responsible about it!

Yes, what the world needs now is a responsibility wake-up pill! That reminds me: I think its time to get my prescription refilled.

 

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