DSM: Personal responsibility

Marko Koskinen (marko@vapaus.net)
Wed, 28 Mar 2001 12:09:26 -0500

I've been thinking the difference between social and personal
responsibility and I had an interesting idea that I want to "throw" into
this forum... =)

I'm suggesting that rules and regulations are a way for people to escape
the inevident personal responsibility. If there are rules, people don't
have to think. They can just rely on the rules and if the rules really
seem irrational, then they might do something about them. It is much
more convenient to rely on a rule than to think for yourself about the
whole issue and to come up with a solution that is good for everyone.

The problem with personal responsibility is that it really is inevident
and escaping it behind rules, really doesn't make it go away, it just
gives a temporary feeling of relief.

I also suggest that people who grow up in freedom, understand this
personal responsibility more easily and don't really need the rules to
guide their lives. I also think that why we are afraid of facing the
personal responsibility is because as children most of us were forced to
follow some rules and didn't have the freedom to figure out what
responsibility really means. Thus every time when we're faced with the
issue of personal responsibility, we feel the outside pressure that we
felt so many times when we were young.

I think a Sudbury Model is quite ideal in this way because it really
makes possible the youth empowerment and diminishes the effects of
cultural oppression of young people.

The problem of being a staff memeber in a Sudbury Model school is that
we adults haven't usually had much freedom in our childhood and even
less empowerment. Thus we feel constantly that we cannot influence our
environment and we have to fight the feelings every time we want to do
something. The fact that we're truely responsible of everything
frightens us, because it states that we're partly responsible of all the
deaths of hungry people and the wars that are fought all over the world.
And in every second, we have a choice of doing something about it, but
because we're paralyzed by the oppressive society, that task seems
sometimes overwhelming and impossible. That's why we want to make rules
and structures to help cope with the everyday problems, so that we could
free our mind at least for a while from the pressure of personal

What do you think?


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