Personal responsibility


The time has come to rethink the principle of leaders and followers, including the distribution of responsibilities. We must stop always looking for leaders, prophets or white knights to lead the way – but not necessarily come to the rescue – once things become a bit complicated.

Hiding behind institutional bureaucracies is lazy, gutless, ineffective and usually very expensive.

As a matter of fact, if we were to accept more personal responsibility, were trustworthy and would adhere to the subsidiarity principle, bloated bureaucracies would disappear.

“Tis the time’s plague when madmen lead the blind.”
(William Shakespeare, poet and playwright)

“If the creator had a purpose in equipping us with
a neck, he surely meant us to stick it out.”
(Arthur Koestler, author and journalist)

But it is not just about the neck

We have eyes to see, but do we observe?

We have ears to hear, but do we listen?

We have a mouth to talk, but do we speak up?

We have a brain to think, but do we use it?

We have muscles to move, but do we stand up?

“To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”
(Aristotle, philosopher)

“Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act.”
(Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist)

Delegation all too often means giving up responsibility and then becoming reliant on those exploiting our weakness and cowardice. We lose our freedom and become prisoners. Prisoners of our habits and those shaping and controlling them. Once many disengage and others quickly exploit, our societal model breaks down. We know that silent majorities are no majorities, as silence gives consent.

“Qui tacit consentire videtus.”

But once majorities engage and stay engaged, minorities will find it difficult to exploit, regardless of the available technology.

“We are responsible for what we do, but also for what we don’t do.”
(Voltaire, philosopher)

We must learn to help ourselves and when – for practical purposes – some sort of representation is unavoidable, we must make sure to choose our representatives wisely and hold them accountable at all times. The revolutionary and politician Lenin believed that “trust is good, but control is better”. Unfortunately he is right. Transparency is control and therefore key in this context.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, it almost seems like the only good voter-consumer is the transparent voter- consumer. In reality, representatives and companies are the ones that have to become more transparent, a lot more transparent.

“We are moving from the central to the decentralized, from vertical to horizontal,
from top-down to bottom-up. It has taken society more than a hundred years
to build up this centralized, top-down, vertical society. So we are going to have
to learn and unlearn a great deal. The biggest obstacle is between our ears.”
(Jan Rotmans, professor)

On our planet, gravity, i.e. top-down, is a physical law, not necessarily an organizational one.

Haven’t you ever wondered, how many CEO’s would insist on a top-floor office in a high-rise without elevators?

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