?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

responsibility....

What does it mean to "be grown up"? Adult? Mature?

The word "responsibility" comes to mind – but what does that mean? Keeping your obligations – especially the implicit ones (more than just returning someone's book when you said you would). But there are so many implicit obligations. To your friends and family: stay in touch, keep the lines of communication open. To your creditors: pay your bills, be polite to people just doing their jobs. To your neighbors: keep the noise down at night, don't throw trash in their yard. To society: produce something in the general good, be a good example to others.

The typical responsible adult paradigm: works hard, supports their family, keeps their house clean, gives to charity, pays taxes without complaint, is polite and friendly to everyone, keeps enough time to themselves to stay healthy (but that shouldn't have to be too much).

Let's see, what "virtues" does this avatar personify? Repress yourself rather than potentially infringing on anyone else's space. Selfishness is bad. Rewards always come later. Enjoying life is a luxury.

If that's "adult", I want no part of it.

Comments

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
meerkat299
Apr. 24th, 2003 11:21 pm (UTC)
i fail to see how any of the "virtues" you mention can be derived from the prior ideal behaviors.
jnanacandra
Apr. 25th, 2003 12:23 am (UTC)
To me, those behaviors necessitate those beliefs; as in if I were to act that way, it would have to be because I believed that way. In much the same way as my believing in Christianity would necessitate my disbelief in free will (though many Christians would not agree).
flasher
Apr. 25th, 2003 05:42 am (UTC)
confusalled
I'm at a loss to see how working hard, supporting your family, ect == repressing yourself. In fact, the whole "keeps enough time to themselves to stay healthy" could be considered selfish, depending on what you need to stay healthy. I also have to ask why anyone should have the right to infringe on another's space SUCH THAT the other is unhappy or uncomfortable?

I take this rather personally. See, I work hard. I support my half of the family, the public areas of my house stay clean, I am polite and friendly to anyone who is polite and friendly to me, basically I pretty much match your "responsible adult" list. Know what? I'm not repressing myself to be this way and I enjoy life. Sure, its not for everyone but saying that these virtues personify a repressed and unhappy person is absurb. I'm walking, talking, typing proof to the contrary.
bzarcher
Apr. 25th, 2003 06:14 am (UTC)
There is a difference between making sure that your family is okay and repressing the self for them.

Everyone can enjoy life if they try. It's just the people who are too scared to that set the rules, and so we suffer for it.
surrealestate
Apr. 25th, 2003 06:36 am (UTC)
I think something that typifies adulthood (in a positive sense) is living up to one's commitments. What those commitments are can vary in the extreme, and just because one person makes a promise to do something doesn't mean another person has to. It's also okay to not commit to anything or anyone, and that is certainly a preferable path for those who wouldn't stand by their promises to making them anyway and then breaking them. It's okay to not want to support kids, for example, but in that case, don't have any. I think people get into trouble when they enter into commitments that they don't really want.

IMHO, anyway, but something I've thought about.
wandelrust
Apr. 25th, 2003 08:01 am (UTC)
Much like everyone else, I'm curious as to how you draw the connection between the behavior you describe and the "virtues" they represent.

To take the opposite of your virtues, your ideal lifestyle would be one where you express yourself, and spending all your time trying to enjoy yourself. I don't think that sounds too bad. But if you take the opposite of the "adult paradigm" you have, presumably this means not working, igoring any financial responsibilities (taxes, bills, and apparently making sure your children are fed), being an asshole, doing whatever you want, even if someone else has to pay the cost for it, and pretty much expecting things to be given to you instead of having to work for them.

Oddly, I'm not surprised most adults don't work that way.
flasher
Apr. 25th, 2003 10:30 am (UTC)
Some do,though. I have just such nutwicks in my family who continue to think that life owes them something. Okay, not something, everything and they shouldn't have to lift a finger to get it.

One of my uncles is going on 50 now and STILL bums money from his parents whenever he gets fired from his latest job for skipping too many days of work. He sees no problem with this. The rest of the family sees him as a mooch and dreads having him come around since the only time he comes near his family is when he needs money or a place to stay. And no, he doesn't worry about whether or not his kids have been fed either. I don't know if I'd call him happy or free, though, just pathetic.

To me, Adult implies >= 18. Can be a nutwick (Grandma's term for said uncle), can be responsible, either way, they aren't legally required to obey anyone except the law itself.

Responsible adult means that you cover your commitments and keep your family (however you define it) healthy, housed and fed. The stuff about taxes or even being all that nice of a person, well, that's negotiable.
ezzie00
Apr. 25th, 2003 08:01 am (UTC)
I'm with flasher here. I work (working hard hasn't come up yet), I'm typically a nice guy, I keep my house insanely clean (most of the time), I dedicate much of my time to my dog and wife, and I'm looking forward to dedicating my time to my children. Sure it's nice to own things for myself, but I feel that improving the lives of those around me has much greater rewards.
weetanya
Apr. 25th, 2003 08:07 am (UTC)
Chuckle. This was on my mind too last night.

But part of Responsibility is being responsible for your own happiness.
wanderingpixie
Apr. 25th, 2003 08:41 am (UTC)
I think I'm going to have to go with surrealestate here. Being adult / being responsible is about your commitments. Which commitments you chose are not pre-determined. (Okay, there are some societal norms, but they don't usually seem to get in your way.)

For example, if you don't want to be quiet at night, then you can either (1) piss off your neighbors, (2) move somewhere that the neighbors don't care about the noise, or (3) move somewhere that the neighbors are far enough away that they can't hear it. Options 2 and 3 are both responsible (IMHO) while still allowing you to do what you want.

I think you've taken a fairly narrow view of the "responsible adult" paradigm, that you are particularly dis-interested in becoming, to compare things to.
tygeressdenacht
Apr. 25th, 2003 08:48 am (UTC)
There are...
many times that I just want to say "fuck it all" and go back to being a kid. There are times that I realize that in many ways I'm still so young and so much of a kid. There are other times that I look at my life and realize that I've had to be an adult for the last 5 years. I shouldn't have had to be.

I understand about the whole don't be selfish and don't do this and don't do that. There are many times that I want to go out and do things with friends, or hang out, or watch a movie that a kid shouldn't watch. There are so many things. *sighs* In another lifetime.

So I'm an adult, mostly by circumstance... and alot by choice. I could have made my life different.. but I'm trying to make sure that I incorporate into my life the things that I want to have to keep myself at least somewhat "young."
alegria_a
Apr. 25th, 2003 09:03 am (UTC)
You know, LJ could really use a "quotes" function.

The word "responsibility" comes to mind – but what does that mean? Keeping your obligations – especially the implicit ones (more than just returning someone's book when you said you would). But there are so many implicit obligations. To your friends and family: stay in touch, keep the lines of communication open. To your creditors: pay your bills, be polite to people just doing their jobs. To your neighbors: keep the noise down at night, don't throw trash in their yard. To society: produce something in the general good, be a good example to others.

Stay in touch with friends and family - if you don't stay in touch with friends, are they really your friends? Your family may be more of an obligation since you don't pick them, but assuming no major problems with them, it's not that hard. Paying your bills - that's a requirement, unless you want to camp in a forest somewhere with no water, no electricity, no art supplies, and no food. Being polite to others is part of the "do unto others," which is one rule of Christianity that I agree with, and it usually isn't too hard to do. Being polite to neighbors - again, not too hard to do, and if you really want to play Metallica at 3am, move out to the middle of nowhere and knock yourself out. Producing something good for society - well, that's a nice thing to strive for, but there are hordes of people who never do such, and unfortunately most of them are considered adult.

The typical responsible adult paradigm: works hard, supports their family, keeps their house clean, gives to charity, pays taxes without complaint, is polite and friendly to everyone, keeps enough time to themselves to stay healthy (but that shouldn't have to be too much).

I complain about taxes, and I'm polite and friendly to other people only as they deserve it or I am required to do so, but everything else I follow. I take a lot of time for myself, which is at once not enough and too much, probably similar to other people. Sounds like a healthy life to me.

Let's see, what "virtues" does this avatar personify? Repress yourself rather than potentially infringing on anyone else's space. Selfishness is bad. Rewards always come later. Enjoying life is a luxury.

I also fail to see how the actions described above lead to these virtues you list here. You can avoid infringing on other's right to space without repressing yourself, simply by making appropriate choices. And don't you follow the Rede, "an it harm none, do as ye will"? That pretty much covers "don't fuck with other people's space" pretty well, but does not say to repress yourself. Selfishness is bad? Damn, I'm going to hell. Rewards always come later? Sometimes, and sometimes they come quickly, it depends on what you consider a reward. Some require planning (a home, a trip to Australia), and some are impulsive (dinner at the Cheesecake factory, a new book). Enjoying life is a luxury? Damn, I'm luxurious. I really enjoy my life right now - maybe not 100% all of the time, and there's certainly things I want to change to improve it even further, but I do enjoy every day I spend with my husband, my pets, and usually even at work.
wandelrust
Apr. 25th, 2003 09:10 am (UTC)
And don't you follow the Rede, "an it harm none, do as ye will"?

Actually, she's OTO, so unless I'm mistaken Crowley's "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" is more her style. Which might explain a lot, actually.
alegria_a
Apr. 25th, 2003 11:28 am (UTC)
Actually, she's OTO, so unless I'm mistaken Crowley's "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" is more her style. Which might explain a lot, actually.

Yeah, I know that part, but I thought there was something similar to the Rede in there too. I know about -><- this much about the OTO, so I'm probably totally offbase here. :)
rubylou
Apr. 25th, 2003 01:10 pm (UTC)
The second part of that clause is "LOVE is the Law, Love under Will". "Doing your Will"---according to the OTO---does NOT mean "doing what you want". If anything, it calls you to greater personal responsibility within the universe. Not too many people, Thelemites or not, seem to know this.
bramblekite
Apr. 25th, 2003 10:51 am (UTC)
wow.
I just had one of those unpleasant "I guess I'm a real grownup now" things happen recently. It sucked. I liked my life better when I was taking 15 year olds to New Orleans and getting them drunk...

I like the parts of being grown up that are cool: staying up as late as I want to, eating and drinking whatever I want, whenever I want, never having to clean my room if I don't want to. ...stuff like that.

kyrene
Apr. 25th, 2003 11:31 am (UTC)
I've been saying this before in other places: there is such a thing as good versus bad selfishness. not all selfishness is bad. and there is NO such thing as a purely altruistic action. even in being altruistic, we are doing it because it makes us happy or satisfies on some level. does that make the action bad? no, it does not. this is why not all selfishness is bad.

selfish means self-ish. self-less is a hard state to reach. become enlightened... then we'll talk. *grin*
silverhawk
Apr. 25th, 2003 01:04 pm (UTC)
If that's "adult" I want no part of it either.

I'm selfish. I like time to myself. I'm lucky in that time with my husband is just as good, if not better. My house is a total mess, and we're not in a good enough financial position to give to charity. I'm relatively polite to everyone, even step-mothers, but not really friendly. Taxes haven't really come up because I'm more likely to get money back. I do work hard, but I work hard being a graduate student in something I enjoy, so it doesn't seem to be work.

Nobody has called me irresponsible. I think the image you have of a responsible adult is that of a repressed individual, and I don't think you need to be repressed to be responsible.

Don't strive for the paradigm. Strive for happiness, and responsibility will follow so that you can keep yourself happy.
w3woody
Apr. 25th, 2003 05:41 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I just don't see it.

To me, it's about making rational sacrifices. That is, if you want to put food on your table, you either need to freeload off of other people (or off the State), or you need to make the necessary sacrifices so you can earn a living. If you want to live in a clean environment, you need to put some time into picking up your own crap--or freeload off of someone else's time and cleaning efforts. If you want to live a healthy life, you need to exercise--or allow yourself to go to shit, and perhaps die a fat unhealthy slob. And so forth.

None of these things--making money, eating right, cleaning up after yourself or wiping your own ass--mean that you must repress your true nature. In fact, I would say that being a freeloader means you are not expressing yourself fully--because by freeloading off someone else's money and efforts you are expressly placing power over your life into someone else's hands.

Besides, I have zero patience for freeloaders. Try to freeload off of me, and you will find your ass out on the curb. Period. Full stop.

Now, on the other hand, I would agree that many adults repress their nature because they are too caught up in the illusion that just because they should take care of themselves they must do it through becoming a 9 to 5 drone. But that's their problem. Just because many people turn themselves into drones on the theory that this is the only way to take care of themselves doesn't mean you or I have to.
blk
Apr. 25th, 2003 07:04 pm (UTC)
I hear you.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

Profile

firesea: self-portrait
jnanacandra
Heather Keith Freeman
Fire Sea Studios

Latest Month

October 2012
S M T W T F S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031   

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Naoto Kishi