The Three Responsibilities

However many holy words you read, However many you speak,

What good will they do you

If you do not act upon them?


–The Dhammapada



There are three sets of responsibility that every Visionmaker observes: self, others and world. It is not enough to simply watch others act during difficult or troubling times. A Visionmaker chooses the way of engagement over passivity to alter the status quo.


The status quo, a state of stasis where there is neither motion or development and where there is little hope of change, seeks to freeze us in its numbing cold. The proof of its conquest is when we give up taking action out of a belief that we can no longer make a difference. Passivity is not Visionmaking, nor is falling for the lie that we are impotent in effecting change.  The truth of the matter is anything can be changed, ourselves included.


A Visionmaker takes his or her responsibilities seriously. 


Responsibility to the self requires that our choices and actions be in alignment with the heart's vision and our greater purpose, whether it is to take care of our families, make a contribution through our work or leave a legacy through charitable acts, to name a few.


Are our actions in alignment with the full, strong, open and clear heart, the guide to a singular journey of meaning that we were born to make?  Are these actions woven together by a moral and ethical framework that ensure we uphold character and do no harm? Do our words and actions unite to form a powerful force for positive change?


These are the responsibilities to self that a Visionmaker seeks to uphold on a daily basis.


Responsibility to others requires that we seek to serve a greater good other than just our own personal ambition or profit. We examine our choices from the perspective of how our actions may impact other people or the collective good.


The Visionmaker accepts mutual gain as one measure of a good choice and strives to generate creative solutions to difficult circumstances where there may be conflicting agendas, needs and courses of action.


"Ethics is reverence for all life," wrote the Nobel Prize winning medical missionary, Dr. Albert Schweitzer. His is a name you don't hear much anymore. His sentiments as well seem to have been lost in today's world, where self-interest has become religion. Had this dictum been ascribed to on Wall Street, the world economy might be less precarious.


Responsibility to the world we live in demands that we recognize the interconnectedness of all the paths–human, animal and ecological–and that we tread as lightly as possible upon the earth to ensure sustainability for ourselves, our children, and those generations to follow.


Change is required in how we share and use the planet's resources so that the economic crisis is not followed closely by an ecological catastrophe.  Of course, we are currently pursuing this outcome as we drive hard to exhaust the environment with conspicuous consumption and unconscious waste.


A Visionmaker holds the firm belief that one person's positive vision, executed faithfully through consistent and purposeful action, can change the world. Waiting, watching and commenting on what others are doing or not doing, is not action. "Turn to you work," advised Miguel de Unamuno, the Basque philosopher, in an earlier post. Yes, and let that work reflect that we have taken the Visionmaker's three responsibilities to heart.


© Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved.

Posted on February 9, 2009 and filed under Uncategorized.