Just jotting down a note here about something that has been on my mind for some time already, and yet it’s also where my conviction is still rather sketchy.
Generally, the idea is that there still exists today two rather extremist points of view — both of which almost certainly miss the mark more than they get anything right. Either:
individuals are responsible for whatever happens; or
society is responsible for whatever happens.
According to viewpoint #1: if something goes wrong, then that shows individuals should be locked up, given therapy, drugs or whatever. Advocates of viewpoint #2, on the other hand, tend to say that social institutions need to be reformed.
At the moment, my gut feeling is that — after decades of neo-liberalism — the “Individualists” are in the overwhelming majority. Hence, the banking crisis is blamed on individuals, rather than on bad morals all around. After all: If you sign on the dotted line for a “free lunch”, then saying afterwards that the lunch you got was bad for your health doesn’t really make a lot of sense. If it was your own decision to eat garbage, then you need to own up to the fact that you yourself made a bad decision, too.
Nonetheless, I also feel that in the future people need to become a lot more aware of shared responsibility. Pointing fingers at the oil and coal industries for promoting global warming doesn’t even begin to address how consumers’ behavior also plays a role in creating this catastrophic mess. If you drive a car, then you are contributing to global warming. The more you drive, the more of a problem you are. And you are also contributing to the problem when you do a Google search. For example: if you simply type in cars.com instead of searching for “cars”; or if you typed in weather.com instead of searching for “weather”; or if you typed in “books.com” instead of searching for “books”; or if you did any such “Wisdom of the Language” search instead of a Google search, then you would be saving energy — and thereby reducing your carbon footprint on the environment.
We really need to stop pointing fingers at other people and think more about how people can better work together towards the collaborative effort of making life a good experience.