Thursday, May 10, 2012

Entitlement vs. Responsibility

So I've been really into TEDtalks lately.  I guess I like them because I can listen to them while I clean or cook and I know I will always get a quality talk.  With so much crap on the media today, it's nice to have a place to go to where I can get some quality talks from quality people at any time.  It is like getting free college lectures without the tuition or the stress of test taking.

So an African scholar did a speech about how to teach our leaders to lead.  He was talking about the atrocities he witnessed in his country due to unethical or cruel leaders.  He realized that there was a ruling class, an elite group of people and he went to the colleges and the universities where they studied and noticed that many are taught, "entitlement over responsibility."

Those two words really stuck with me, entitlement and responsibility.

I think about when the word entitlement is used the most.  Heck I've even used it when I say "everyone is entitled to their own opinion."  I usually say it when two people disagree and usually, we say that there is no right or wrong but everyone has their own perception.  Is this true?  I asked myself this and I had to admit that it isn't true.  It is just our way of dealing with difficult people.  Often these people have limited or prejudice opinions and I'm often hurt when others have opinions about hurting another and think it is okay.  Those with the most hurtful opinions are the most aggressive to those who oppose them.  They are usually the ones who say they are entitled to their opinions the most.

Is someone who believes that it is his right to neglect his children or pets entitled to his opinion?  Maybe.  Is someone who believes that someone of another race, creed, gender or religion is inferior or less human than him entitled to his own opinion?  Is someone who believes in hate crimes entitled?  I have heard people who believe in these things say they are entitled.  I've heard many more say that they are entitled to litter, to scour the environment and to destroy the habitat of other animals.

Yes we have rights but we don't have the right to hurt another.  But, you can't not hurt anyone. People are sensitive.  The slightest word can hurt one type of person or another.  I am guilty of this.  Everyone is but what if you replace the word ENTITLED with RESPONSIBLE.

I am responsible for my human rights.  I am responsible for my opinion.
We are responsible for our happiness.  Wow, it makes a huge difference.  A crooked law official might say that he is entitled to beat the citizens because he was given the power to do so but if he started saying he is responsible for beating the citizens, it takes on a whole new meaning.

Saying that you are responsible rather than entitled makes you ask questions.  Are my thoughts and opinions the best ones for me and for society?  Am I using my power wisely?  You know how they say, "With great power comes great responsibility."  

Thinking responsibly puts more power into your hands.  It is what separates the real leaders from the bullies and the compassionate from the selfish.  It makes us stop asking why me?  Why isn't the world working the way it should?  It makes us start asking, what can I do to fix my situation?  What can I do to help society function in a way that better suits me?
You are entitled to be responsible.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Love? What's that?

So I'm having a hard time sleeping.  I always have a hard time sleeping when I'm hungry so I am having corn nuts as I write this.  I  might just have too much on my mind.  My brain is fried.  I played some spider solitaire.  Brain still fried so I went on youtube to see if anything on there would sooth me.  I typed the word "meaning" in the search engine and a song popped up, something about love being the meaning and answer to everything.

When I was young, I didn't believe in love.  I thought that something this perfect and wonderful couldn't possibly exist.  Thing is, I didn't know what love was.  I find that most people don't.  Truth is, if you have love in your heart that really is all you need.  People will fight and fret and seek a lot of power to fill that empty hole where there is no love.  They will blame and wave their self-righteous hands at anyone who does them wrong and wonder why they don't have anyone to love or why no one loves them.  People look and search, thinking love can only be in one place forever and ever.  Love must stand still for them. They must possess it.

Truth is, love is compassion.  Love is everywhere.  It isn't just in one person.  It's in everybody.  I don't mean that we should all sleep with each other.  I'm saying, if you do sleep with someone, it is because you share affection and not possession.  If they walk away from you the next day and never come back, you wish the best for them because you love them.  You do not wish them harm or vengeance.  That is true love, down to the deepest level and anything else is superficial.  To give love is to experience peace.  To hoard love is to experience suffering.  All you see is yourself, your ego, your emptiness.  Anger takes over and we start to identify with our anger.  Our anger makes us who we are.  It makes us special.  We are against the world and those who are not like us.   To feel love is to not expect others to feel it.  We feel it and we let them be who they are.  We don't tell people how to love.  We either do or don't.  Love accepts.  It doesn't expect.  

Once we learn to love, everything falls into place. You can love anything, your parents, your friends, your dog, your kids, the sun, the moon, the trees, the ocean. You can love them, care for them, share with them and experience the bliss of living in a world of harmony. Or you can try to control them or search the world for someone to control and call that love. Worst yet, you can compete with them or compete for someone's affection and assume that love is a game or a toss of a dice; something that only lucky people can have.

That's it. Hope you don't mind my late night babbling.