Often as human beings, we’re quite willing to take responsibility for anything that’s successful, profitable, productive, right or good.
But anything that’s not, we tend to see as the responsibility of others. In the worst-case scenario, we see ourselves as victims of it, rather than cause or creators of it.
A second way that personal responsibility was viewed by the Growth Movement was to talk about what we could “own.” We were encouraged to take ownership of our world and everything that happened in it for the benefit that resulted from that attitude.
Today we’d talk about unitive consciousness and collective compassion as resulting from it.
When we “own” our world, the first thing we become aware of is that some things in it are not working.
Usually we become aware of pain before pleasure. And there’s so much pain in our world that I think we cannot remain unaware of it. It seems to me an impossibility. It’s present in the energy field and operates on us at some level, I’m almost certain.
For me at least, the single most important thing that’s out in our world is the way men treat women. Many in the western world have never heard of a bride burning, an honor killing, or an acid attack. Many may have heard of sexual slavery but have no idea what it refers to or the extent of it.
As a former human-rights decision maker, I have an idea. It sees large numbers of women snatched from their lives and condemned to live as sexual slaves in more lands than we’d care to think of.
Many don’t know that large numbers of women in the world lead a life of virtual enslavement and dehumanizing brutality. Whole nations have practices which take away rights from women. The matter is simply not talked about in western circles.
Ridding our planet of brutality towards women is part of the Divine Plan. And it will happen in this era. I’m sure of it.
And so I remind men that it’s overwhelmingly they who are brutal to women. Some women too. But it’s a male-dominated social order that perpetrates or allows brutality towards women to continue.
I invite all men to assume an attitude of personal responsibility towards this brutality. You may think that you’re not involved in it. You may not know what there is to do. You may feel you don’t have the means at your disposal.
But the very first act, and perhaps the most important step to take, is to own that brutality exists in your world and that it’s men who are visiting it on women. That all men can do.
Awareness of anything begins the corrective process. A joke is made of the centipede becoming aware of its hundred legs and no longer being able to walk. Once we’re aware of any brutal act, it becomes harder by an order of magnitude to perpetrate it.
I also invite men to take that awareness as far as they can – to the acts of the day, to the thoughts in the mind, to the causes one supports, to the jokes one tells, whenever and wherever it can be extended.
So this is my invitation to men to own our world and own all that happens in it, including our acts of brutality toward women. Feel what arises when you own it.
Truly this is our world and we are, whether we choose to see it or not, responsible for everything that happens in it. Only when all of us take responsibility for it and cleanse our thoughts and behavior of anything that supports brutality against women will it stop. If everyone did as I just suggested, perhaps it would stop tomorrow.
As it turns out, it doesn’t take the entire world stopping for the behavior to stop. It just takes a small portion of the population. And if that small portion is opinion leaders, then it probably takes even fewer.
Awareness of the problem and a change of attitude are what it will take. Becoming aware and changing our attitude are open to any man to do.
Will you do it?
(1) Werner Erhard, The Graduate Review, November 1979, 4.