Notes Toward An Essay on Responsibility: Part Four, Take Responsibility
I suggested three phases of taking responsibility.
2- Ritual dramatisation
Here are my notes on how I experience these stages.
1- When I am confused, things are fuzzy and call for clarification. It's not just attention or the interior life, but the outside world also demands attentive care and tending. A recognition of this need for care is the start of taking responsibility.
2- Ritual dramatisation.
Imagine sitting on the couch with Oprah, dark confusion all around, luminous silence in the little bubble between she and you: you talk, cry, rage, and listen with Oprah about your Issues. This is a dramatisation ritual.
Or imagine you are sitting watching an opera unfold. Murder, treachery, death, chaos, madness, and the final orgasmic release of the action: this is also a dramatisation ritual.
Or... imagine you are browsing the web (using Opera web browser perhaps!), hopping from favorite site to favorite site, then stumbling upon unfamiliar territory, or finding new friends and allies. Imagine your ideal web surfing experience. This is a dramatisation ritual as well.
Another way to put this phase of responsibility is that it is all about Getting It All Out In The Open. The Getting Things Done or GTD cult calls it a collection box. The Twelve Step movement calls it an inventory. Spiritual groups call it self-examination. Whatever.
3- The final stage of Taking Responsibility is the grading stage. The rule of responsibility is define or be define: I would add grade yourself. But here is my grading process anyway.
Here is how I either pass or fail. If I PASS, I advance to greater clarity on life's more magnificent forms of confusion. If I FAIL, I advance to greater clarity on life's more magnificent forms of delusion.
The only way I can fail is to think that I are done. I have taken all the responsibility I need. I am the man, the boss, the cool dude, the top guy. They whom the gods would strike down they first lift up to greatness. Disillusionment is therefore a sign of having been deluded about how valuable I am.
The way to pass is to be humble and genuine, to work hard and long and be cheerful and easy going, to realize I don't have all the answers, and to roll with the punches. Taking responsibility is about doing my reasonable best without getting suckered into emotionality about it. "Oh poor me, I have to do my best now" or "I am entitled to have earnt success after all the dramas I've been through" won't cut it. Work, however, will.
These stages are sequential. If I get to work and feel inner conflict then I haven't fully and ritually dramatised myself. If I start dramatising myself without any confusion to work with there is no fuel in my tank and it becomes an almost religious waste of time.
Many key social rituals need to be mastered to be seen to haven taken responsibility. I find it helpful to get really good at the basics. If I how the rules of how to skilfilly make small talk, then I can break the rules graciously when needed.
I find it is perfectly OK to be fucked up and live a happy, healthy, productive life. I suspect that's the only way it is ever done.