What Does It Mean To Be Responsible In The World?
By Arlan Ebel
Sunday, May 7, 2017
|Meditation on a Mop
The meaning of being responsible can be accurately broken down into one comprehensive nutshell phrase: To clean up after yourself.
There are many kinds of dirt. There is the kind that adheres to the bottoms of your shoes and gets tracked across the floor and there is the kind that adheres to motives and large actions and gets tracked across other people's lives. There is the pollution that comes out of exhaust pipes and there is the pollution comes out of people's mouths and there is the pollution that comes out of all capitalist ventures that create huge costs and problems that are simply passed onto someone else to deal with. Dirt and pollution range in size from household to planetary. Dirt and pollution range in nature from thoughtless to downright psychopathically evil. But all dirt and pollution needs to be cleaned up and responsibility lies precisely in its being cleaned up by the people who put it there.
Rich and wealthy people tend to be not so inclined to clean up after themselves. They prefer having someone else clean up after them. It's what makes being rich or wealthy worthwhile (dirt is so ... you know). Sometimes they are willing to pay someone else to do the cleaning up of their dirt, but usually they try to arrange it so that the other people who get the rich or wealthy person's dirt dumped on them also have to cover the cost of the removal of that dirt. Rich and wealthy people tend to be not so inclined to clean up after themselves: It's called being successful in the capitalist society.
It is a knee-jerk behavior in this society to tell children that they need to clean up after themselves in order to be grown-up and 'good' (and it is a societal truism that poor people are such disgustingly irresponsible slobs), but adult capitalists can get rich or wealthy precisely off not cleaning up after themselves and they are considered the pinnacle of the 'good life.' And if their achievement of the 'good life' happens to create untold misery because of the dirt and pollution of every size and nature dumped on other people, well, that's just the way the Lord's good earth turns.
Clean up after yourself. Such a simply pure and perfectly doable rule. And yet it is the most wantonly violated of all good rules. Why is that? Why do humans find it so very disagreeable to abide by this essential diamond rule? Because to truly accept this rule is to accept that you yourself are responsible for some of the dirt in the world; not that you simply generously choose to take on the task of cleaning up some of the dirt, but that you are actually responsible for some of the dirt. This makes the real meaning and challenge of life something much deeper than simply gaining some sort of power and privilege in the world. This is intolerable to people with self-importance issues, that is, people who think that their little personality is somehow special and privileged. This is all to say that people who refuse to abide by this rule are people who are fundamentally cowards and afraid of the challenge and meaning that reality puts before all humans. They want to go through life in a thin, horrid, pompous paste-board mask that is spotless clean and free of any responsibility for any dirt even though they are in fact buried in dirt. It is all the dirt that they refused to ever take any responsibility for. And underneath it they are hysterical and terrified and ultimately nihilistic and just so dirty. A pretty picture, eh?
The USA has dumped more dirt on more places and more people than any nation currently in existence. This is not to say that other nations don't dump their dirt on other nations. But the USA has become the Undisputed Emperor of Dump. It is unrivaled in forcing other people to absterge its podex [wipe one's bum - prh, ed,] after a dump and leaving those people to cover the cost of removal or just perish in the toxic waste fouling all aspects of its life.
Clean up after yourself. Simple human decency. And yet humanity finds it so difficult to master. Cleaning up after your self is so simple and so profound. It is the immeasurable gulf between wisdom and foolishness; between sanity and madness; between salvation and damnation.
Anonymous cleaning people in rich people's houses have a slant on the world that is uniquely revealing if they would really open their eyes. But how much time do they have to learn this?
World War III. The ultimate dump. A lost world of mad children having a fecal fight to the death.
Be responsible: Clean up the dirt you left on the floor. Clean up the dirt you left on someone else's life. Clean up the dirt that is turning your neighborhood, your city, your state, your country, your civilization into an inescapable nightmare.
Don't you feel it, smell it, taste it, breathe it, dream it, scream it: DIRT! EVERYWHERE! DIRT!
It seems hopelessly overwhelming, so start simple: Just make it your diamond rule to be responsible and clean up after yourself in every way. No one should ever have to carry the burden of someone else's dirt.
I am sure that there is a circle in hell that we can call the dirt circle. And we know who is going there.
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