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07/24/2007 Archived Entry: "owning what's mine"

"With great power comes great responsibility." "To whom much is given, much is required."

It's me, PSM. Hi.

I'm in mind of these patinaed old phrases because of a good friend of mine, a little brother of sorts, whose inability or unwillingness to acknowledge this universal principle has cost him his freedom, his mental health, the respect and affection of the one he loves, the happiness of his mother, the admiration of his peers, and no small measure of his future. To say nothing of his self esteem.

But rather than simply cluck and tsk at the misdeeds and misfortunes of my friend, I feel compelled to turn the lens of examination back on myself and assess my own part in his tragic and needless downfall.

My record as a mentor is not a pretty one. For all my sermonizing about natural rights and liberty and the oppression of The Man, I don't recall one time that I ever had a face to face talk with my friend about temperance, or consequence, or self control, or responsibility to oneself and others.

And now I find myself in a very awkward and uncomfortable place. For although freedom is central and essential to a fully formed human life, it is also a very heavy burden to bear. And like a door to door vacuum cleaner salesman, I have made great efforts to trumpet every advantageous facet of my worldview and have glossed over, even outright ignored, the awesome and terrible weight of responsibility that accompanies it.

Excercising one's right to screw up one's own life in no way mitigates the consequence of screwing up. And in imparting that lesson, I have failed utterly.

Liberty and consequence are two sides of the same coin. One without the other becomes a curse.

I wish my friend nothing but the best out of all this mess he's gotten himself into. And yes, I still gladly call this young man my friend. I'm just not so sure he ought to to call me the same.

Posted by Penguinsscareme @ 08:44 AM CST

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