The psychiatrist and existentialist philosopher Viktor Frankl suggested that The United States should have a Statue of Responsibility on the west coast as a complement to the Statue of Liberty on the east coast. Liberty is a noble aspiration that, without the corrective of responsibility, runs the risk of degenerating into mere license to do whatever one wants, arbitrariness, and, ultimately, anarchy.
One of my father’s fond sayings (do all fathers have sayings?) was “your right to swing your arm ends where my nose begins.” I’m quite certain dad never read Frankl, but he would have liked his idea.
As we exercise whatever individual and collective liberty we possess, living a life of meaning and purpose requires us also to exercise our responsibility: to the planet, to future generations, to those whose liberty has been constrained or stolen along the way to our own comfort. How we exercise that responsibility is up to us.
Please consider sharing this post with someone if you found it helpful.
You can sign up to receive these posts here.