In my experience, reason neither enables nor supports empathy or social justice.
The subject is obligation. I will start with a bit about one of my own obligations. I was sought to do meetings here in Second Life, because they felt I had something to contribute, and I accepted their invitation.
This did create an obligation for me. One I respect and honour as the founders of this center show me the same in kind. It isn’t always easy to honour this obligation, but if I do not, the feeling is worse even if remaining to do a talk becomes unpleasant for me. Because my obligation to the founders here is a personal obligation, not an imposed one. How many of your obligations in your life are personal versus imposed friends? Care to share?
What is an imposed obligation? An obligation someone has to remind you you have. One maintained by their attitudes toward you rather than your own sharing in life. We have a lot of imposed obligations, don’t we?
Work obligations are a big one people grow to resent. Yes, and is it because they don’t want to work?
Aren’t all obligations self imposed in away? We accept them consciously or unconsciously? Yes and no. The unconscious obligations, or imposed obligations as I called them earlier, often create an internal conflict. They are left unaddressed because we are told we need to feel guilty if we don’t honour these ideas even if they aren’t factual. If we stop to consider, or even more directly negotiate the terms of an obligation (or even “attachment” for another word), we are told we are being cold or hard hearted. We have to hurt to care supposedly, is this not so?
People want to work and contribute, but not by another’s standards. Managers are always being trained on getting worker ownership, but they’re not so good at it yet. People don’t want to just sit and eat, take shelter and have no part in life. This is a horrible existence even for those who firmly believe it’s their only possible existence. But our system of obligations/expectations taints any other form of relating, does it not? And if we seek to have a say is our individual initiative and desire for genuine sharing praised?
Being disabled obliges us to stay hidden and just sit and eat and not bother anyone. Regrettably yes, and to take the criticism for being second class citizens and having nothing to offer but quiet acceptance of our dependency. I am classified as disabled. So, what if someone advocates for our interests when we do try to negotiate a change in our obligations to our communities? Especially if we don’t have that dirty little label?
Fur can fly for them, too. Indeed, guilt by association because they recognize your reason.
For some, it is just easier to be bitter. It’s made much easier, but what in our values as spiritual seekers makes this acceptable?
Therefore, irrelevant. No need to pay attention now is in line with “them.” Are we irrelevant to ourselves? If you are, do you want to be? Where is the morality in saying “I shouldn’t be egotistical and want my presence to be felt in the world”?
I vote for my ego. I vote for mine also, because my ego is the least of my worries. If it’s accepted and seen, that context of “self” tends to vanish on us. Does it vanish with rejection?
I think worse is trying to fulfill so may obligations just so you can hear thank you, and then you burn out. Oh indeed, that is a very poor path to take and by no means responsible.
Society has been designed for a standard ‘x’ type person, and then says we’re obligated to fit into it. No wonder so many are on drugs for anxiety, etc. This society creates its own marginalized class of citizens, and then keeps them doped so they won’t reveal the system of lies to the “good consumer/producer.”
Any of us can find marginalization in our lives. Any of us. I actually fit the little societal model and still grew to resent the praise for fitting into it. True. You found it in doing what you were supposed to and then your actual personal concerns no longer mattered.
If we don’t carefully consider our obligations, and make our obligation to ourselves matter, when will it ever matter? Is it really that noble to suffer in the name of duty, dharma, service, God? If this was meant to be our spiritual path then why isn’t this clearly the best most gratifying personal choice?
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.