In January 2015, while on military assignment to Okinawa, Japan, I read the book Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. I had read it once before, but this time when I read in the book Frankl’s suggestion of a Statue of Responsibility on the west coast to compliment the Statue of Liberty on the east coast, it really struck a chord with me. I believe it is a great idea, I believe in the concept, and most of all, I believe in the movement behind it. I have since become involved with the movement. Click here for more information. The following is what it means to me:
As a service member and now as a veteran, when people thank me for my service, I appreciate it, but I want to tell them that while our freedom was won in the past by fighting wars, it is secured now by acting responsibly. If we want to thank our veterans, we can do so by doing our part to keep our country great. Let’s show our ancestors, who fought much more difficult wars than we do, that their sacrifice was for long-term good. I’m not talking about what we say, or who we support, or how we vote. I’m talking about what we do, and about how we live our life, because individuals’ actions affect our country as a whole. What we do as individuals affects who we are as a country and whether we will continue to be great.
In the United States, we have great freedom, wealth, and opportunities. With all this, we are presented with many options. Options are good, but they are simultaneously our downfall. We as individuals have to say “no” to many of the spoils of wealth and freedom that are available to us. We have to say “no” to credit cards and loans that overextend us financially, whether the lender is willing or not. We have to turn off our TVs and allow the resulting uncomfortable silence to motivate us to do something greater with our spare time. We have to say “no” to all the cheap, fatty foods that permeate our restaurants and stores. We have to say “no” to drugs, whether we are allowed to use them legally or not. We have to say “no” to all those things that squander our opportunities.
What can we accomplish as a country right now if we really try? I don’t know. If I ventured to guess, I would probably fall short of what is actually possible. We will only find out if we stop doing all the wasteful things that are holding us back. Free up our time, energy, and resources and fill it in with something productive. Volunteer. Become active in our neighborhoods and churches. Research charity organizations and make a contribution. Take a small leadership position in the community and make decisions for the greater good. I believe we can transform our culture. Let’s find out what is possible!
One thought on “Statue of Responsibility”
Responsibility is derived from necessity. People are naturally driven to be responsible when irresponsible actions have consequences. Sadly when a population has too many resources and not enough hardship it naturally loses the characteristics that put it in that position. This is true from nations down to individuals. Individuals can be outliers and perhaps small populations but large populations follow trends and positive outliers are offset by their negative counterparts. We are trending toward irresponsibility and history suggests we have further to go before our irresponsibility causes enough hardship to trend us back toward responsibility. I say build the statue. If we don’t scrap it for parts in the dark ages we can reminisce in the Renaissance.
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