The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

The search for responsibility

Often, one of the first movements, when a problem occurs, is to think about responsibility.

The thinking is that if there is a problem there also is a cause. And if there is a cause then somebody must be responsible for it.

But, does it help?

It does, if the point of seeking out who’s responsibility it is, is to find someone to blame.

It does, if the idea is to divert from looking at the problem itself.

There might be situations in which these approaches find a reason to be in releasing some of the pressure the individuals might experience. But, they don’t serve us well when it comes to dealing with the issue at hand or to find ways to prepare ourselves for the future.

Responsibility is an interesting construct.

It serves us best going forward. That’s when it helps us to think about the task at hand, involve others who need to be involved, think about consequences, and lean into the task. It is there to help us think and feel about what is important in our actions. It will also create the space to avoid actions we wouldn’t be proud of.

Looking backward it only serves us when it triggers our learning. In any other case, the search for responsibility will result in creating guilt or shame. Both of which have the tendency to establish a disconnect. Whereas the forward-looking responsibility is there to create connection, is about being involved in society and with others.


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