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Proportion and Responsibility
polydad
If I bash in your head with a club, the fact that somebody else has an atom bomb does not make me any less a murderer.

Even if the sin being threatened or even committed by someone else is vastly greater than my own shortcoming, I cannot use the excuse of prioritization to ignore it.

This does not mean prioritization either doesn’t exist or is not often vital. It *does* mean we need me to acknowledge my error and my responsibility for correcting it or making it good as soon as the immediate crisis has been reduced. And since I am the part of “we” closest to and in the best position to address this problem, that means it’s my job.

If I have to leave my child hungry and alone because I’m going out to earn the money to feed her, I need her to know that *I* know I am not giving her what she needs and deserves. If she is mature enough to inquire, I can then tell her why I think this is still the best choice for us. For me to answer that question before it is asked is for me to give an excuse, and to undermine both my acknowledgement of her discomfort and her agency in being allowed to ask her own question.

That’s not *always* true. If she is too simple yet to understand (that is, *not* yet mature enough to inquire), my explanation can be a source of comfort. But we very often radically underestimate the maturity of the very young.

I am just beginning to understand the working of militant nonviolence. I find it misleading because the principle is simple and direct, and the application is also often simple and direct, and at the same time the underlying logic is often complex and convolute. To me this means I have the idea upside-down: It’s supposed to be the simple principle that leads to complex results, so the convolute logic I’m examining must be the result, not the principle.

*shrug* OK, I can still stand on my head. But the emotional charge of this subject is too much for me to tackle all at once. I regret I must leave you with yet another “gonna get back to this.”