The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, October 06, 2006


My recent post about the Amish killings painted a connection between a sick society and the sick actions of the people within it—that I felt it was a symptom of a general social dysfunction.  Something wrong is happening.

Now, to “blame” society for the actions of individuals within it is supposed to be a position on the Left.  So be it.  I’m not exactly “blaming” society, because society is created by the individuals within it, as well as acting upon them. But there is a very real and valid question lurking in there: how much responsibility does society have for the lives of the citizens, and how much individual responsibility must the citizens take upon themselves?

Anyone who knows me knows that I take, and advocate, full individual responsibility for our lives.  On the other hands, there are specific traumatic events (abuse, neglect, violence) that, statistically, seem to lead to sexual and emotional  dysfunction.  There are family dynamics that increase the likelihood of children born out of wedlock, illiteracy, drug addiction, and obesity.  And there are social factors that increase the chances of depression and disrespect for the law.

None of these factors absolve the individual of their responsibility, but I think that all of us understand that there is a point beyond which we need help.  This is one of the ongoing arguments between Left and Right…and there are moral and immoral people on both sides of this divide.

But watch how often those on the Left will take personal credit when they succeed, and how often those on the Right blame childhood experiences, alcoholism, or whatever when they have problems.

Hypocrisy knows know political affiliation.
So, the Path workshop went very, very well.  The next step is to prepare to create a multi-media product based on the same ideas.  It isn’t possible to precisely recreate the experience of the workshop, so we have to find ways to take advantage of a “distance learning” approach.  We figure that some combination of DVD, CD, and workbook will fill the need.  I’m thinking a 30 day program, with distinct day-by-day instructions, asking for a commitment of 1 hour a week minimum.  That sounds about right, even if I’m not sure how to break it up.
The last few days, Jason has been calmer and more cooperative.  The biggest behavioral shifts we’ve made involve turning off the television during meal time.  Hmmm.
“Concerning all acts of initiative, there is one elemental truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plan; that the moment one definitely commits oneself, Providence moves too.”—W.H. Murray

Closing out this week, I wanted to think a bit about this quote, which in one way or another has defined so much of my life.  God knows I’ve failed in many—if not most things.  But I was committed, and kept getting up over and over again.  Endurance and flexibility have kept me going.  And also commitment, defining my most important goals as essential aspects of my being. 

The risk of doing this is that if you don’t live your life according to your ideals, you begin to die a little.  The advantage is that concepts like “discipline” and “focus” become laughable.  You don’t think about it any more.  You just do it, day after day.  And if you live every day as if it matters, at the end of a year you look back and realize that you aren’t the same person you were at the beginning, and that you are that much further along the road you committed to .  And that is a terrific feeling.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I some how found you and you are sending me emails, reading your emails have lifted my spirit in moments of separation of self and have assisted me on reuniting with my spirit.
Thank you!