Responsibility

Theologians have always recognized that passions may overwhelm the person suddenly and completely to the pint where freedom of choice does not exist and responsibility is not present.

In your daily life, you can treat people you meet in a way that strengthens them in spirit through genuine interest or respect… not a patronizing or false sense of sincerity… but rather a genuine curiosity and respect for each individual you meet… Your actions do make a lasting impact on each person you encounter. It’s an enormous responsibility to take seriously how you treat the people in your life, and a great joy to know you have acted with caring, warmth, and love.

I believe that our choice between two models of psychiatry is really a choice between two competing sets of moral values that will ultimately determine the kind of society we live in. One is the Psychotherapeutic Model’s ideal of healing the soul with its values of self-awareness, autonomy, personal growth, an I-Thou spirit of love, respect, and compassion for others, and an acceptance of moral responsibility for our own egoistic impulses and emotions. The other is the Medical Model’s ideal of quick fix, with its swimming-pool values of stability and conformity, and an I-It orientation toward material success and other superficial addictive pleasures

If, as Heraclitus said, “A man’s character is his fate” – that is, if our fate is largely determined by the habitual tendencies of our repetition compulsion-personality – then the power of consciousness is that it allows us to change impulses, we have what Kierkegaard called “the possibility of possibility”: the possibility of having a free choice and the moral responsibility that comes with it. In that sense, the fear of consciousness is ultimately the fear of moral responsibility, because if we own our anxiety, shame, and guilt, and allow ourselves to have full consciousness of emotions that motivate our behavior, then we will inevitably recognize the full weight of our responsibility for that behavior.

Responsibility could easily deteriorate into domination and possessiveness were it not for respect… respect means the concern that the other person should grow and unfold as he is.

Whatever complaints the neurotic patient may have, whatever symptoms he may present are rooted in his inability to love, if we mean by love a capacity for the experience of concern, responsibility, respect, and understanding of another person and the intense desire for that other person’s growth.

Naturalistic determinism has not yet found a place for the concept of individual responsibility.

Responsibility . . . requires that a person think, speak and act as if personally accountable to all who may be affected by his or her thoughts, words and deeds… Awareness is important… Am I moving in the right direction? Is my sense of responsibility growing, deepening, becoming sharper and more insistent?.. A sense of responsibility is an attitude, a feeling.

There’s a moment when the choice to act moves beyond a discussion of motives, for even an awareness of our own motives can become a form of necessity that lets our responsibility off the hook. And the moment of faith is a moment when no part of us is excused. With no ifs, no buts, no conditions, no escape clauses, all we are is challenged to rise to the choice and shoulder the responsibility for our answer.

Universal responsibility is the real key to human survival. It is the best foundation for world peace, the equitable use of natural resources, and through concern for future generations, the proper care of the environment.

The possibility of morality thus depends on the possibility of liberty; for if man be not a free agent, he is not the author of his actions, and has, therefore, no responsibility - no moral personality at all.

Business has become, in this last half century, the most powerful institution on the planet. The dominant institution in any society needs to take responsibility for the whole.

The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect in human weakness and in human responsibility. Without a global resolution in human consciousness nothing will change for the better and catastrophe will be unavoidable.

The secret of man is the secret of his responsibility.

We are living at a time when humankind can face whatever threatens it only if we, by which I mean each of us, manage to revive, with new energy and new ethos, a sense of responsibility for the rest of the world.

Responsibility, not to a superior, but to one’s conscience, the awareness of a duty not exacted by compulsion, the necessity to decide which of the things one values are to be sacrificed to others, and to beat the consequences of one’s own decision, are the very essence of any morals which deserve the name.

Outside the sphere of individual responsibility there is neither goodness or badness… Only where we ourselves are responsible for our own interests and are free to sacrifice them has our decision moral value.

Liberty and responsibility are inseparable.

Man’s responsibility to God is the scaffold on which he stands as daily he goes on building life. His every deed, every incident of mind, takes place on this scaffold, so that unremittingly man is at work either building up or tearing down his life, his home, his hope of God.

Responsibility implies freedom, and man, who is in bondage to environment, to social ties, to inner disposition, may yet enjoy freedom before God.