What does responsibility mean when you feel powerless?
Among the many eyewitness accounts of the London Bridge Terror Attack (which is sometimes innocuously termed an “Incident”) one man’s report stands out. Alone, defenceless, a member of the public with no known special training – this man armed with only a determined public minded spirit, ignored police tweets to “run, hide and tell” and instead ran in the opposite direction of the fleeing crowds and straight towards the 3 terrorists who were stabbing people to death in an attempt to disrupt their rampage of human destruction.
From chaos to confusion to completion
It is done!
Whilst Gerard Vowls, 47, was not able to stop the 3 terrorists who were eventually killed by 8 armed police officers firing 50 bullets he did affect their slashing and stabbing trajectory by distracting them with shouted taunts and thrown objects. He could have gone back to the pub where he was watching the Champions League final or gone home. But he could not. Instead he risked becoming a fatality at the hands of the terrorists or caught in the police gunfire as was one unfortunate person. Gerard could not turn his back as he saw women and men being coldly stabbed. He called the terrorists “cowards” and faced them.
Gerard took responsibility. He responded instead of avoiding. He faced reality. Taking responsibility means the ability to respond, it does not guarantee success.
What is your individual responsibility and can you take it? The worst, deepest existential death is to walk away from taking responsibility that you know is yours. Instead a person fills their life with pseudo-responsibilities, meaningless distractions and fake problems. If the mainstream media is able to sell fake news then it is in part possible because the human brain can be wilfully turned into a reality-avoiding fantasy factory.
The challenge to take responsibility is portrayed in a number of religious scriptures as essential to spiritual breakthrough. It is a dark night of the soul, a crunch point. Jesus Christ predicting the inevitability of his own crucifixion by the Romans, prayed in agony for God to find another way in what is known as the Bitter Cup Incident in the Garden of Gethsemane – but no other way came. Arjuna’s dilemma in the Bhagavad Gita starts with wanting to shirk his dharmic warrior duties on the eve of an epic battle, Kurukshetra.
“I wanna go home, Mum. I don’t want to be here. This is not happening”. This how daily people avoid their Life, their Self, their Enlightenment and their place within Existence.
Your life can start to be meaningful, you can exist. The question is what is the central responsibility, your core being, that you are shirking and when will you embrace it?
You do not need to know how to spell responsibility to take it. You can have your life back.
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