The Joy of Responsibility
The people’s representatives will reach their destination, invested with the highest confidence and unlimited power. They will show great character. They must consider that great responsibility follows inseparably from great power. To their energy, to their courage, and above all to their prudence, they shall owe their success and their glory.
May 8, 1793 in a collection of the decrees made by the French National Convention.
There is quite a variety of sources for that particular quote, but I am rolling with this one because it makes me sound suitably artsy.
The Fool’s Mandala is going very nicely indeed, and Lucifer Ogilvie, the hero of the Boris Experience, was born today.
Responsibility is the reason that your seemingly mediocre manager gets more money than you do. Responsibility is often weighty, but the fun thing about responsibility is that you get a lot of power as a sort of side order. Sometimes it takes people a day or two to catch up with all these new toys.
Your perceived ability to handle responsibility is as much about your ability to handle stress as your ability to apply pressure when needed to hit whatever deadline you are set. It is yet another feature of your life that depends upon your level of confidence.
Confidence in yourself, confidence in your ability to prioritise, confidence in your ability to lead. I previously went into confidence and class in a previous post or two Confrontation, Confidence and Class and The British Class system is unemployed.
I have wondered of late, whether the Great British machine will ever work properly again. I am hoping to be able to shed some light on this in the course of the Boris experience. I appreciate that many of my more serious readers will wonder why I am blessing Boris with all this attention, but I suspect that the answer will become clearer in the course of the adventures of Lucifer Ogilvie.
It is an interesting paradox, that someone who makes life look so easy that he appears to be playing at it, also attracts other people’s confidence to the extent that we do not doubt our belief that he will ultimately be the individual that finally does the right thing, and understands his capabilities to the point that he can ‘play’ with them.
Having skipped through many different lives, I can verify that it is only those at the very bottom and the very top that are capable of truly understanding how society works. Everyone else is lost in the race to ‘get theirs.’ One of the most knowledgeable interviewees I encountered was a hopeless junkie who had to be tucked into bed by his mother every night. Confused by this, I asked my comparatively easy-life brother (he poses no challenge to anyone, whereas I appear to challenge everyone without doing anything at all) why this would be so? Similarly, the beggars that lined the streets in Bath advised me not to give them any more money as they had far more than I did when I lived there. ‘We can tell because you give us so much.’
My brother’s response, fascinating from someone who has had every advantage from his mediocre existence, was that better paid people were not ‘stupid, but thoughtless.’ Millions of people, then, reject information that they do not want to hear in favour of an extra half percent on their savings rates. Lalala I can’t hear you, in case it costs me any money.
As someone who has seen times of horrific poverty and times of relative plenty, there does not seem to me to be an excuse for feigned ignorance of the facts when it comes to whether your nation actually works or not. Can you really enjoy a fifty pound bottle of wine as you read about people starving to death? Does it make the wine taste any better? Apparently, to some people, including some within my own family who should know better, it does. My father would spin in his grave, if only he were surprised.
What implications does this culture of selfishness have, apart from for the broken base of the pyramid?
It affects voting habits, it affects the response to the hate campaigns we have seen over the last decade or two – hate the smoker, hate the fat, hate the immigrants, hate the disabled etc etc, it affects policing, it certainly destroyed Cameron’s plans for ‘Big Society.’ Ultimately, it affects the way we are seen by the rest of the world. Just as we express dismay at the events in Kabul and the USA, we should express dismay that we allowed things to get so bad that we stocked food banks and advised people to buy cup a soup to save people the electricity money.
I put it to you that patriotism, cooperation and national pride begins with the premise that you are going to make things better, not worse. Empires do not emerge from slums, they emerge from a sense of being able to do things better than anyone else. It is not all that difficult to come up with ways of mending the foundations on the British pyramid, that will not significantly erode the savings of the wine drinkers. It is imperative, however, that you reseed the garden whilst you trim the trees, or there will be no harvest to look forward to.
(I could have made a list and saved myself all that prose, but that is no fun at all.)