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Peace From Within

The price of greatness is responsibility.

To pretend, I actually do the thing, I have therefore only pretended to pretend. We seldom realize, for example that our most private thoughts and emotions are not actually our own. For we think in terms of languages and images which we did not invent, but which were given to us by our society. People have forgotten this truth,” DL the fox said. “But you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose. Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility. If you hang out with chickens, you’re going to cluck and if you hang out with eagles, you’re going to fly. The thing the 80’s did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility. It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts.

To say you have no choice is to relieve yourself of responsibility. Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so Character the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs. Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work. The right thing to do and the hard thing to do are usually the same. Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work. If you build the guts to do something, anything, then you better save enough to face the consequences. Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.

What we call our destiny is truly our character and that character can be altered. The knowledge that we are responsible for our actions and attitudes does not need to be discouraging, because it also means that we are free to change this destiny. One is not in bondage to the past, which has shaped our feelings, to race, inheritance, background. All this can be altered if we have the courage to examine how it formed us. We can alter the chemistry provided we have the courage to dissect the elements. This I choose to do. If there is a price, this I choose to pay. If it is my death, then I choose to die. Where this takes me, there I choose to go. I choose. This I choose to do. You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think.

Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it. Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury. Like crying wolf, if you keep looking for sympathy as a justification for your actions, you will someday be left standing alone when you really need help. The function of freedom is to free someone else. Choices may be unbelievably hard but they’re never impossible. To say you have no choice is to release yourself from responsibility and that’s not how a person with integrity acts.

There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own. Nobody. You built a factory out there – good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory… Now look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea – God bless! Keep a hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along. Victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is a lonely orphan.

If you believe that your thoughts originate inside your brain, do you also believe that television shows are made inside your television set? Responsibility I believe accrues through privilege. People like you and me have an unbelievable amount of privilege and therefore we have a huge amount of responsibility. We live in free societies where we are not afraid of the police; we have extraordinary wealth available to us by global standards. If you have those things, then you have the kind of responsibility that a person does not have if he or she is slaving seventy hours a week to put food on the table; a responsibility at the very least to inform yourself about power. Beyond that, it is a question of whether you believe in moral certainties or not. Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump; you may be freeing him from being a camel.

In dreams begin responsibilities.


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