Monday, April 30, 2012

Is responsibility-taking freeing or not?

In Greek philosophy, there is the notion of taking the responsibility for shaping and defining yourself as an individual. This concerned all aspects of life, both external (e.g.; social, political, economic), and internal, (e.g.; personal life, health). One philosophical view bemoans that this notion disappeared after the Greeks, with external forces shaping nearly every detail of the individual, first in the classical era by the church, and now in the modern era, by science and other experts, and culture.

Responsibility abdication is paradoxically freeing
However, cultural hypnosis is not sufficient to explain why people are not taking more responsibility now in an era where the information and tools afforded by technology are allowing greater responsibility-taking. The opposite occurs, instead of taking new responsibility, it is just better outsourced. Part of the reason is laziness, or more respectably and thermodynamically, entropy the tendency towards low-energy states.

Trusting outsourced solutions to care for responsibilities might seem to increase dependency, but it paradoxically leads to more freedom. It is actually freeing not to take responsibility. Abdicating responsibility has the higher benefits and lower costs of controlling rather than owning assets. However, one danger is that the outsourcing becomes too derivative, and through lack of oversight, later enslaves the originator, morally or otherwise.

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